Category Archives: Selling
It’s no secret that spring tends to be a busy time for buyers as more homes tend to be listed than during the cooler seasons of the year. If you’re looking to sell in spring here are five ways to freshen up your home and help it stand out from the crowd.
As the name suggests, spring is the perfect time to clean, tidy and generally declutter your home. Decluttering in particular is an important step to take when listing your home for sale, as clutter can detract from the potential of your home, with buyers unable to properly envisage themselves living there. If it doesn’t put them off making an offer, it can hurt the offer they put in, with some research suggesting buyers commonly under-value cluttered homes.
Spring is also a great time of year to get in there and tidy the garden. Why not take advantage of the ideal climate and plant some new ornamental, but fast-growing and hardy plants as well to add to your homes curb-appeal. It’s also important to weed the property, keep the lawn looking its best through regular mowing, and make sure that any clutter which does not belong outside is brought in, or thrown away.
If you’ve been meaning to finish painting the spare bedroom or fixing the back fence, spring is the perfect time to get it done. Not only is the weather more favourable, but buyers will certainly notice half-finished paint jobs or any repairs that are needed and they may be inclined to subtract the total amount of odd-jobs from any offer they make or turn their interest towards a home that’s ready to move in as is.
Have you been meaning to donate a few pieces of old furniture to charity or upgrade a tired looking couch. Whilst you may be holding off the purchase of new furniture until after you move home, don’t let it be at the expense of selling your current property. If furniture is only slightly dated, why not spruce it up? Add new, bright cushions to couches and chairs or throw a crisp, white table cloth over a tired dining table.
If furniture is particularly worn or dated, why not consider moving it out of the home and having your property professionally staged for sale? That way an expert can select the pieces that will best complement your home and make it as attractive as possible to buyers.
Don’t forget about the finishing touches
Once the garden is looking great, the house is clean and tidy and maintenance is sorted, don’t forget to make sure the house looks like a home. This can be as simple as placing fresh-cut flowers in a vase on the dining table, or fresh fruit in an attractive bowl on the kitchen bench. Remember to charm all of the senses when preparing your home for sale and light candles, or bake during an open home to make the house as inviting as possible.
In a competitive market one of the questions we most encounter from homeowners is should we buy or sell first?
Harcourts New Zealand CEO, Chris Kennedy shares his thoughts on the matter.
It comes up because in a tightly competitive market homeowners are often worried they’ll miss out on a rare dream home if they wait until they’ve sold their existing property.
On the other hand, some homeowners are scared to list their home for sale without having already bought a new property in case the settlement period comes and goes and they are left essentially homeless and forced to find (and pay for) temporary accommodation.
Unfortunately, there’s no perfect answer to this, but the key variable in what will work best for you is how much finance you have at your disposal.
In a market where supply and demand are reasonably balanced, selling your existing home before you buy tends to make the most sense. It means you know exactly how much you have to spend when it comes to shopping around for your new home.
If you have your home completely sale-ready when you list, you can spend the time scheduled for your open homes, visiting other properties for sale. It’s also a good idea to do some looking around before your own property is listed, so you have a clear idea of what you want – or don’t want, where you want to be, and how much you’re prepared to pay.
Have your finances in order as much as possible based on the asking price of your own property so when you’ve sold or close to selling you can move quickly on your preferred new home. Remember too that if you make an offer on a new property that is accepted while your existing home is still on the market, you can still make your purchase conditional on the sale of your other property.
It all gets a little more complicated when the market is heated, such as it currently is in several regions around New Zealand. Many homeowners feel that buying before they’ve sold is the only way they’re able to compete for hotly contested properties, and it gives them the reassurance they won’t be shut out of the market and left without a roof over their head.
The obvious trap here is the risk of over-stretching yourself financially if you are forced to accept less than you hoped for your existing property and you have no nest-egg to tide you over. It’s worth remembering too that if you’ve already bought, you may be persuaded to take a lower price just to sell quickly.
Bridging finance – a temporary mortgage to pay for the new property until the original property was sold – is available when you can confirm a settlement date for your existing property.
On the upside, you can look at other options such as putting short-term tenants into your unsold property, to help offset the costs while it’s on the market. Though you’ll need to be clear about making sure the property is always tidy for inspections and that your sales consultant has access as required.
You can also talk to the selling agent for the home you want to buy to see what time frames you can work out around settlement dates that give you the maximum reasonable amount of time to sell your existing property. Even at auctions, which typically have a 30-day settlement period, you can sometimes ask if the vendor is happy to extend.
In short, there’s no perfect answer to the question of whether you should buy or sell first. The answer depends very much on your individual circumstances.
The best answer is do as much research and preparation as possible before listing so you’re ready to move quickly if need be. And keep your sales consultant – and that of your dream home’s vendors – appraised of your time frames. That way they can help you make it all fit together.
Moving house with kids can be stressful and upsetting for everyone, but particularly young children, especially if they’ve previously only known one home. But with a little foresight, planning and some good old distraction techniques moving to a new home need not be traumatic.
- Keep the kids as involved as possible in the process of moving house. Before you start looking for a new place talk to them about what they’d like a new place to have, or even draw pictures of what they want their new bedroom to look like.
- Have them research your new neighbourhood and make a list of places they’d like to visit and explore once you’ve moved.
- Once you’ve bought a new house, either take the children for a walk-through so they can see their new bedrooms and play areas like the back garden. Or have them search for the house online and, if possible do a virtual tour.
- If possible make a few visits to the new neighbourhood before moving so the children can see where their new school is, or where the local playgrounds are and take some time to walk around so everyone can get their bearings.
- Give them printouts of the floor plan of their new bedroom so they can start to plan where they want to put their things.
- Have your kids research the new neighbourhood or town themselves and make a list of places they want to visit.
- Let each child pack a box of their favourite toys themselves, then have them write their name on it, and decorate it. And make sure they help load it into the car or moving van so they know it’s going with them to the new house.
- Give each child a special responsibility on moving day and print them out a label with a job title like “head toy packer” making sure everybody’s favourite toys are accounted for, or “chief librarian” to make sure all the favourite books are packed, or “head gardener” responsible for collecting all the pot plants.
- Keep calm! Kids will pick up on your stress and anxiety about moving, so try and focus on making it a fun adventure however and whenever you can. It may even ease your own state of mind!
- Keep a picnic basket readily available and well stocked so you have plenty of snacks and drinks to keep children occupied as well as refuelled.
- Once you arrive in your new house on moving day, unpack and set up the children’s rooms as a priority so they feel at more at home more quickly. Make sure the rooms are welcoming and recognisable as theirs with familiar duvet covers, furniture, toys and books.
- Keep a few large moving boxes for making forts.
- Plan a special celebration “first night” dinner, that easy to prepare and fun – try a pizza and ice cream picnic on the lounge floor.
- Set up a treasure hunt around your new section so the kids become familiar with it.
- After moving day try and return to a normal routine, of normal bed times and meal times, school and play as quickly as possible to help everybody settle.
When hot chocolate is disappearing off the supermarket shelves, and families are rugging up and heading off to the ski fields for holidays, what about selling your home?
Tradition tells us winter is a difficult time to sell. Buyers are huddled under blankets, watching TV or roasting chestnuts on an open fire, thinking it too cold to venture to an open home.
However, while temperatures rise and fall, the reasons for people buying and selling properties continue – job changes, transfers, promotion, pregnancy, marriage and death in the family. Rain, hail or snow, people are always buying and selling houses.
There are always people looking to buy, and some regional centres such as Adelaide Hills even report that the market during winter can be just as active as any other time of the year.
“We also find that when the weather is mild and cold we always have more people at our open inspections than when it’s lovely weather,” said Kim Shorland of Harcourts Adelaide Hills.
“This is because more people spend time out and about pottering in their own gardens during autumn spring and autumn.”
True, nationally less homes sell in the winter, but this can create several advantages for the seller.
With less properties on the market, buyers who need to move quickly are more likely to compromise on certain aspects of their preferred home.
They are more likely to be genuine buyers, and with less homes available for sale, they are therefore likely to pay more.
As always, presentation and pricing are the key to a quick sale, but what are the specific keys to presenting your property in the best light during the cooler months?
- If you have a fireplace, make sure it is stoked with firewood, has a clean chimney and is crackling away at inspection time. Light it ahead of time, so the room is at a cosy temperature. If you have air-conditioning, crank up the heat so the visitors can experience your home as a warm haven. Portable heaters can pre-heat a room, but should be packed away before the visitors arrive.
- Because all windows are typically shut for extended periods, sometimes in winter a home can get musty or left with residual cooking smells. Pick a time before inspection to open the windows and maybe turn on ceiling fans, and allow some fresh air in. Leave enough time to warm things up again before the open house.
- To create a warm feel, position winter essentials such as blankets, doonas, pillows and quilts tastefully and appropriate throughout your home.
- Choose your open homes to coincide with the best light and sun, for example, east-facing windows may attract a lot of light in the morning. Ensure all your windows are as clean as possible to allow maximum light.
- Bake a cake or brew coffee just before inspection, to give your home an even warmer feel.
- Your garden may be a little duller during winter, so consider adding winter pots of colour to brighten things up. Also, take the time to strip the moss off pathways and other garden surfaces such as pots and walls.
- If you have an outside fire pit, make sure it is lit and giving off plenty of flame (if the weather allows).
With little in the way of the extreme winters experienced by some countries, when selling a home in Australia chances are, you won’t have to worry about shovelling snow and de-icing pathways in preparation.
To understand the best time to sell, look at market conditions rather than the weather report. As your Harcourts Sales Consultant will tell you, focus on the market and your ability to present your home to potential sellers, no matter where the mercury is sitting in the temperature gauge.
An open home is one of the most effective ways of marketing a property and attracting interest from a wide variety of buyers.
Some of the many advantages are:
- You have plenty of time to ensure your property is tidy and ready for inspections
- You can control the viewing times
- Open homes can create plenty of activity, even in a slow market
- Interest and activity can trigger urgency with buyers
- The sales consultant’s time is put to best and most effective use, and they will have the opportunity to talk to numerous people about your property
- Comments from open home visitors can provide feedback on price, presentation, sales appeal, etc.
How can you prepare for an open home?
Your sales consultant will do all the marketing necessary to attract the maximum number of visitors to your open home. However, it is the seller’s responsibility to present their home in the best possible light.
Here are 10 quick tips on how to make your property “open home ready”:
- Declutter – an overcrowded room looks unappealing and smaller than it actually is.
- No one likes the idea of living with other people’s dirt. If your home smells good and looks clean you are creating a great environment for viewers.
- Keep decorations simple and don’t display family photographs. You want buyers to visualise their own things and family in your home, not yours.
- Make each room count. Give each one a purpose so that your viewers can see how they could use it. Don’t leave any room as a storage place.
- First impressions count and last. Think about the first aspects that potential buyers will see – like fencing, the letterbox and the driveway.
- Remember the small things. Check light switches to make sure they work. Fix any doors or cupboards that don’t close. Fix leaky taps.
- If you can, give your walls a fresh coat of paint. Choose neutral colours to avoid individualising your property too much.
- Fresh flowers and soft music playing in the background give a good impression.
- If cold outside, have a fire going or heaters on.
- Fresh coffee on the stove, vanilla in a slightly warm oven or on a hot element, or aromatherapy oil burners give a very inviting smell and can sweeten stale and musty homes.
You can be assured your Harcourts Sales Consultant will ensure all open home visitors sign a register with their contact details. This is for security reasons as well as to follow up later for feedback on your property.
If you have chosen to market your home without disclosing a price, under no circumstances will your Sales Consultant talk to a potential buyer around your price expectations.
A sales consultant’s first duty is always to the seller and you deserve to have the best opportunity at achieving the highest amount of money that a buyer is willing to pay.