Category Archives: Selling

Auction Day

Auction day stress – don’t panic

In order to have yourself prepared for auction day Harcourts New Zealand CEO, Chris Kennedy believes there are three types of figures to consider before the day:

  • Your happy price – The figure you’d be very happy to accept.
  • Your ok price – The figure you’d be ok with based on the feedback you’ve received, you don’t see a win but you don’t see a loss.
  • Your grumpy figure – This last figure is basically the one you wouldn’t be thrilled with, but given market conditions, you’re prepared to unhappily sell at that price.

Remember, at all times during an auction, you’re in control. If a bid is high enough take it. If not, don’t. But the reason for not taking the offer needs to be greater than the reason the home is on the market in the first place.

What happens when the property sells at auction?

After the sale, it’s time to focus on the buyer. Your auctioneer should take them aside to start looking at the paperwork and get the contract signed straight-away. It’s also time to look at how the deposit is going to be paid. As the current owner, you’ll then sign the paperwork, and the sale has concluded.

What if no one registers for/turns up to the auction?

Harcourts Auctioneer, Andrew North says, in reality, this isn’t something that happens very often. It varies from country to country, but in Australia and New Zealand, an auction requires a minimum of six people to attend for an auction to legally be called.

What if nobody bids at auction?

It’s understandable that buyers might be nervous during the excitement and pressure of an auction. This is why, it’s not uncommon for an auctioneer to be met with silence when asking for an opening bid. Most people are waiting to see what others at the auction might bid. So to get the auction rolling, the auctioneer will nominate a starting bid – this is called a vendor bid, it basically indicates what price a seller is not prepared to sell for.

What if the reserve price is not reached?

In this event, your auctioneer can pause the auction and come and speak to you, the seller. They will go back to the current highest bidder, and ask if they’re prepared to increase their offer to a price at which you’re prepared to sell. If the bidder is not prepared to do that, your auctioneer will then see if you’re prepared to lower your reserve price. That’s why it’s important for you to have a price in mind that whilst you wouldn’t be entirely happy with, you are prepared to sell at. If neither of these scenarios happen, then a sale cannot occur, and your home will be, what is called ‘passed in’.

If your home has been passed in at auction because the bidding hasn’t reached your reserve price, there is no need to panic – 90 percent of the time, your property will sell within hours of the auction!

It is generally fairly easy to negotiate your way to a sale either on the day of the auction or shortly afterwards, and your Harcourts agent will usually manage the negotiation process for you!

When a property fails to sell at auction, nine out of 10 times it is sold within half an hour to the buyers who have made the highest bid. Your agent should negotiate the sale with the highest bidder until a mutually agreeable price is reached. If a mutually agreeable price cannot be reached or if the bidding was low during the auction, it may be a sign that your property is priced too high.

However if the price of the property is reasonable and it still didn’t sell on auction day, your agent will generally receive a significant amount of follow-up calls and requests for inspections early in the following week. Although you didn’t receive any worthy bids at the auction, you may receive multiple offers in the days after the auction and could end up with a significantly higher sale price than you originally expected!

Of course there are times when the market is flat and buyers aren’t out in full force, but generally if your property is priced fairly and there are buyers out there, your property will sell at auction or very soon after.

Just be calm, patient and, most importantly, relax.

Sell Your Home Quickly

6 Tips To Sell Your Home Quickly

You’re desperate to sell your house. In fact, you need to sell yesterday.  Whether it’s financial stress, or your new job is in another part of the country or overseas, the most welcome sight in the world right now would be the words “SOLD” emblazed in your front yard.  Hence, you are preparing to sell your home quickly – and for the real estate equivalent of speed dating.

Just as in speed dating, you know roughly what you want, you need to meet someone who likes what you have to offer, but the last thing you want is to give any hint of desperation.

You are not desperate, but keen.

Don’t panic. Whether speed dating or preparing to sell your house quickly, the key is to remain calm by clearly understanding which factors are in your control, and which are not.

The strength of the economy, employment and income growth in the area are out of your control. Obviously if the housing market is booming, and demand is outstripping supply, your house may sell on the same day it’s listed.

Partitioning these uncontrollable factors in your mind, but being an active participant in the factors within your control, will increase your chance of selling quickly.

So, what are the factors in your control?

Price your property competitively from the start

Pricing your property correctly, right from the start, is without doubt your top priority.

Well-priced does not mean “cheap”, but a price that meets the market. Suitable pricing for selling a property quickly, is what wearing a pleasant smile is to a speed dating night – nothing gets started without one.

A new property listing will attract the most views in the first two-three weeks, and then interest levels plunge. So to sell quickly, you need to take full advantage of this window of opportunity with a price that will attract the most interest. This cannot be overstated. Smile at your market with an attractive price.

If after a few weeks your property isn’t attracting the type of enquiry needed to sell, talk to your Harcourts Sales Consultant about a price drop. If this becomes necessary, the best option is to reduce your price significantly once, rather than incrementally several times, which can quickly build cynicism in the minds of potential buyers.

More information about pricing your property is available here.

Marketing strategically

There is no doubt that the systems, expertise and connections available to you through engaging a professional real estate agent will increase your chance of a quick sale.

Don’t forget your real estate agent not only has a vested interest in selling your property, but doing so quickly. They are on your side.

Talk to your agent about using all the marketing tools available to gain maximum exposure for your property, and make sure these tactics are connecting with the type of buyer more likely to buy.

Open houses are important, but be ready at all times for a showing and second inspections. Follow up your Sales Consultant continually for feedback from potential buyers.

To avoid losing time and effort on contracts that “fall over”, be prepared to discuss the pros and cons of your home openly with potential buyers.

Prepare your house for sale

There are bare minimums that need to be done to ensure a fast sale. At the very least, you’ll have a shower before speed dating. Read more here.

Staging and professional photography

OK … here comes another speed dating analogy. Who goes to speed dating nights in their gardening clothes? Presentation is king or queen. Dress your house in fine jewellery, beautiful clothes and spray on Chanel No. 5.

Property staging or styling is the process of using a property stylist to “stage” your property with furniture when preparing for sale. Generally, items are hired for a term of approximately six weeks.

Staging is about building emotional bridges with potential buyers, and through the work of professionals, presenting your property in the best possible way.

By going the next step, and engaging a professional photographer to capture images of your house once it’s been styled, you can multiply the styling effect in the market place.

There’s an old saying about a picture painting and word numbers, and it applies here when great photos of your house are featured across multiple marketing channels. Dress for success!

Method of sale

An auction is the go-to sale method for those with a tight time frame, as it gives the vendor a potential predetermined sale date. In a seller’s market, auctioning for a quick sale is a no-brainer.

In tougher markets, there is always a risk that the house will not sell, or you may not meet your reserve, but auctions still increase the visibility of a property in the market place over a short time frame. Talk to your Harcourts Sales Consultant about whether an auction is right for your property.

In searching for solutions for a quick sale, you may come across investment companies that offer to “sell” your house quickly, by buying your house themselves. Often, however, this will be well below the true market value, so beware.

Prepare for after the sale

Do you know anyone who has gone to a speed dating event with a marriage contract prepared, ready to go?

It’s an audacious step to say the least, but if your objective is to sell your house quickly and move on, and you are committed to the sale, fast-tracking the conveyancing process makes good sense.

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of property from one person to another. So why not instruct a solicitor or conveyancing firm like Strand to start tackling the administration of the sale by drafting up a contract and applying for title deeds?

Preparing the paperwork that will be needed after the sale of your house is a great way to get you in a positive frame of mind.

Like speed dating, selling your property quickly is a daunting and potentially an emotionally draining task. Take the time to plan and prepare with the help of a real estate professional, and understand the factors you can and cannot influence, and who knows – you may quickly find your perfect match in the market.


Eight low-cost steps to preparing your house for sale

When preparing your house for sale, many of us fantasise of an unlimited renovation budget that will make our home irresistible.
Pumped from watching the latest series of Extreme Renovate Backyard Blitz Master Rules we dream of that extension, new kitchen or the backyard resplendent with a children’s water park.

It’s true, that investing in big ticket improvements will sometimes increase the sale price of a house, particularly if you’re a do-it-yourself renovator whiz who has the time and doesn’t have to pay contactors.

But unless the property was originally purchased at a discounted price, big ticket renovations and their resultant high costs are unlikely to generate increased profit on sale.

So, what’s the alternative?

When preparing your property for sale there are simple, inexpensive things you can do to increase its attractiveness to potential buyers, and some don’t involve a trip to Bunnings!


Consider your house no longer a home, but a retail outlet where customers will come to browse. Everything – from kitchen countertops to bathroom vanities to the garage – should be clear of all unnecessary items. You want potential buyers to focus on the best features of your home not stuff, so pack up, give away or throw away everything that clutters or distracts.


This should go without saying, so we’ll just leave it at that.


When a buyer inspects a house, they are doing more than looking at the shower recess and the floor plan. They are visualising what it would be like to move in and live there, a task made more difficult if you leave personal items such as family photos, personal mementos like sporting trophies or religious décor. Pack these away, and give your potential buyers a free slate for their imagination.

Curb appeal

We all know about the importance of first impressions. What will set the scene for your house when potential buyers either drive past, or drive in to your driveway? Front gardens, driveways, gutters, windows, mailboxes and fences all tell a story, so make it a positive one!


The door handle comes off as you try to enter the bedroom. You turn on the light that doesn’t work and listen as the fan makes an almighty screeching sound as it rotates. Whilst small, these little things can annoy a potential buyer out of signing a contract so make sure everything is in good working order.

Clear pathways

Don’t turn your potential buyers into Jackie Chan. Buyers should not be doing their own stunts just to look through your property. Make sure there’s clear pathways both inside and outside your property to make their visit a no-fuss, pleasant experience.


Time for a light bulb moment! When potential buyers walk into your bathroom and look in the mirror, soft, warm lighting can make it a more pleasant experience than it may be otherwise. In other parts of your house such as living areas, bright, white lighting will make the rooms appear bigger and more inviting. Also, think about which rooms will be best served by leaving blinds either open or closed.


This follows hard on the heels of the “clean” point (above) – a clean house is less likely to assault the nasal passages of unsuspecting visitors. The urban myth is to full your house with odours of home cooking, but the research is in. Over-bearing smells don’t smell good, no matter how delicious. Instead, “hints” of fresh natural odours help to sell, such as orange, lemon, pine, basil, cedar, vanilla and cinnamon.


Spend your home preparation time wisely, and you could be rewarded with a quicker sale or a higher-than-expected selling price.

Six Things To Consider Before Reducing Your House Price

Hyacinth Bucket is a fictional character in an old British comedy “Keeping up Appearances”, famous for her obsession for wishing to appear more affluent and influential than reality.

Hyacinth would often hold “high teas”, going to extreme measures to hold amazingly prestigious events in her home. After inviting a cavalcade of the most important people in town, no one would turn up, except her neighbour, who only came under duress.

Hyacinth can teach us some lessons about pricing a property for sale.

If your property is in tip top condition, being presented to the market with immaculate photography, beautifully written descriptions of all the features, and great marketing and advertising, and you’re still not attracting enquiry, it may be time to consider reducing your house price.

Hyacinth’s long-suffering husband, Richard, would sometimes suggest to his wife that she should adjust her outlook on “high teas” to something a little more “accessible”. These conversations never ended well!

Conversations between a seller and a real estate agent who suggests lowering the sales price can be equally fraught with emotion.

After all, as an owner, if you have spent years paying for a house, expending blood, sweat, tears and money into renovations, the house is no longer a house but a home. Throw in all those memories of family, friends, pets and good times, suggesting to an owner that a house may be overpriced is an emotional minefield!

So to put it bluntly Hyacinth, this is what you need to consider when discussing or considering this difficult decision:


1. Attempt to understand the viewpoint of the buyer

Buyers are savvy, with unprecedented purchasing tools at their fingertips. Via the internet, buyers can quickly evaluate a market, compare properties and gather other critical information that several years ago was only available to real estate professionals.

To make the best decisions to sell a property, sellers need to overcome their emotional attachment and attempt to understand buyers – at least as well as buyers understand sellers.


2. Don’t get into the blame game

The first response of many property owners presented with the option of lowering their price to sell, is to blame the real estate agent, but remember that a real estate agent also has an interest in selling your house.

The best result will come if you determine to work with your agent, and move forward based on the best information on hand.


3. Understand the market

Understanding the market now is the key to pricing strategy, and that’s where working in with your real estate agent can enhance your chance of striking the right balance. Your agent can give you invaluable information on which to base a rational decision. This will include current information on the selling price of comparative houses in your area (as opposed to the listed price), and the average number of days houses in your area are taking to sell. Is the market sluggish or getting stronger?

If your price is above 60% of the comparative houses in the area, and/or taken longer than the average time for properties in your area to sell, then reducing your price should be seriously considered.


4. Take a look at adding value rather than reducing your house price

One more option to consider before reducing your price is to the possibility of increasing the value of the property. There may be renovations or improvements that can be done which will increase buyer interest. If these renovations can be achieved quickly, and at a price less than the proposed price reduction, then they should be considered.


5. Whatever you do, do it quickly and do it once


The statistics are compelling. Fresh listings receive high levels of attention, but after about two/three weeks, buyers start to see a property as stale and lose interest. Over-priced properties take longer to sell and do not attract optimum number of potential buyers. The longer properties sit on the market the lower price they achieve.

So to increase your chances of a quick sale, at a higher price than might otherwise be achieved, setting a price to meet the market should be done yesterday!


6. Don’t worry about setting the price too low

Think eBay. If you post a product that may be worth $1000, say a new iPad, and set the price at 10 cents, you will generate enormous interest and lots of bids. The sales price will “meet the market”. The same applies to pricing a home. A lower price will attract more buyers, and create competition which will drive up the price. It is always better to be attracting too many buyers than not enough.


So don’t be caught holding a “high tea”, sitting at an empty table eating cake!

If you are considering selling a property soon, take the time to do your own research, or talk with a trusted real estate agent, before going to market so that you start with a price that will take advantage of those first two-three weeks of intense interest.

If you have a house currently on the market, and enquiries have reduced to a trickle, determine to seek advice and make a decision quickly.

Hot Tips for Selling in Summer

It’s getting to be the hottest time of the year and as the sun comes out, so do the hats, cold drinks and backyard barbecues.

Summer is the season that most long for all year and a season where many prospective buyers are braving the heat to look for their next home. Here are a few tips to make your home more summer-friendly to prospective buyers which will enhance the chance of achieving the best result for your property.

Brighten with colour

Using the right colours can add a summery, fresh and cool look to your home and you don’t have to spend lots of money on repainting the walls. In fact, a common interior design trend these days is to keep walls fairly neutral. Instead, invest in bright, summery cushions and décor, fresh fruit and bright flowers which will give your home that fresh, and colourful edge.

Let the outside in

Open your windows and any sliding or bi-fold doors. Although air-conditioning is a quick way to cool down your home, consider using the air-conditioner only prior to a home inspection and then open windows and doors to let in fresh air and summer breezes.

Allowing natural airflow through open windows and screens, with fans turned on at a low speed, can help to show how naturally cool your property is, as well as highlighting outdoor entertainment areas and gardens.

Freshen up the garden

Make sure the grass and garden is tidy. Your garden is often the first thing to make an impression on potential buyers, and first impressions are important. In summer, our lawns and shrubbery tend to grow faster and some plants need additional watering, so ensure your lawn is mowed, hedges and unruly shrubs are trimmed, and any wilting or dead plants are revived or removed.

Make the most of outdoor spaces

Summer really is the best time of year to showcase your home’s outdoor area, so spend some time making it look as appealing as possible. Put away any pool toys or play equipment, consider replacing or buying new outdoor cushions for seating areas, place a bowl of fruit or fresh flowers on outdoor surfaces or even a jug of cold lemonade, sweep and tidy entertainment areas and even consider staging these areas to show just how inviting the space is in the warmer weather.

Overall, the best tip for selling this summer is to put on your ‘buyers shoes’ and take a look around your house as if you were inspecting it for the first time on a hot, sunny day. Think about what appeals most to you and think of what you can do to further enhance that area. Also take the time to consider what needs to be done to fix any problem areas. Happy summer selling!