Selecting an Agent
Select an agent you can establish a report` with and have faith in, they are the experts; otherwise, why are you dealing with them? How will you ever feel comfortable with the process, the advice and the outcome if there is no trust when the offers come in, and positive suggestions made?
No one blames people for being cynical when it comes to the biggest financial transaction of our lives; it’s easy to pre judge a situation so be patient with the agent and the buyers, if you have contact with them and be proactive.
The buyers may say “that’s my final offer”. The vendors may say “we won’t budge on the price” and between the buyers the Real Estate Agent, is there common ground to broker a sale and achieve the best mutual satisfaction outcome.
Some research shows about 40% of the population feel Real Estate Agents are unreliable? That is so unfair, unjust and unreal, agents have to complete a full detailed, comprehensive and vigorous training program before they can apply for a licence, and then be screened before acceptance – there are stringent guide lines and rules that every Real Estate Agent and sales agent must follow and abide by, so rest assured you are in good hands; and HomeQ.com.au is totally independent from any Real Estate Agencies and receives no commissions or spotters fees from any agent or agency; we do however suggest you chat to a couple of agents before you find the one you can work with and will give you a special deal on listing your home on the HomeQ.com.au website.
So, what is winning over customers and sellers making your chosen agent so successful? Listen to their story or check them out on our ‘Find an Agent’ section on the HomeQ website, what have they recently sold in your area, how long was a similar property on the market for, and what was the buyer’s reaction to the property and the marketing approach?
A good agent will listen to the buyers and sellers and satisfy their needs and their requirements. Lucile Ball once said – “The harder I worked the richer I got”, but in the real estate industry it’s not how hard one actually works, but how smart one works. So here at honeQ.com.au we make available information on successful Real Estate Agents who pay attention and act on their clients and vendors requirements and interests and heights all the great points and aspects of the home.
The selected HomeQ participating agent will communicate with the vendor reporting on the tracking of every step of the process. While the agent does all the things you’d expect, from marketing the property to hosting open houses and negotiating, offers from buyers and their feedback – it is the personal touch that may win the day.
While the seller may be seduced by a low commission factor for selling a property it’s not necessarily the agent that will produce the best results, this is up to you to judge from the discussions you have with the agent and outlining a marketing plan that will greatly enhance the sales process. Your HomeQ participating agent will outline in detail all the marketing strategies available to you, but don’t forget to include a listing on homeQ.com.au – you will be pleasantly surprised how a little bit here will produce large and fast results.
Questions for your Agent
Engaging an agent is a very important step in the process of selling your home, you don’t want an agent that lets a potential buyer/s in the front door and tells the buyer/s to look around and not pointing out the important features and showing real interest in the property and the buyers.
When the agents have done their job effectively, they would know exactly all about the dwelling and what the buyers are looking for, pointing out all the particular features during the inspection – a little different may-be with an open house as – there is a lot of traffic.
Similarly, you don’t want the agent to dog the buyers simply help them through the inspection – they may feel that it’s someone else’s house and they are guests, the agent will help them to take ownership.
Some questions you may choose to ask the agent
• Will all the agents in the office be able to sell my home?
• How often will you conduct an open house inspection?
• Can I refuse any offer made?
• What is the difference between an open listing and a sole agency?
• Why should we conduct an auction?
• Do I get an attendance report after an open house?
• How do you establish a selling price?
• Suggestions on home preparations?
• How will you market my property?
• Which websites will you advertise on?
• What are the marketing costs?
• How long will it take to sell?
• How will you up date me?
• What is the commission?
• Can I have more than one agent?
• When do I pay for the advertising?
• Do you contact me after each inspection?
• Do you conjunct with other agents?
Tips for the seller
To start with; here at HomeQ.com.au we understand that there is not one size that fits all, but the attitude of being positive does.
When seeking an agent; look for a ’Positive can-do Attitude’ in the person, it’s easy to spot, we call it enthusiasm; who will look for the positive aspects and features of your home and not focus on the perceived negatives, but honest must provable.
You must invest in an agent that realises the positives of a property, and is capable of helping you find potential buyers that are looking for those positives and features. There are buyers for every property. A great agent knows how to highlight these positives and provides the right advice on styling and presenting your property to find the right buyer.
Have a look at the section on this website containing the profiles of all the top agents in your area.
If the property is hard to sell it’s usually because of one of four reasons: it’s overpriced, you haven’t found the right buyers, the presentation of the home itself needs work or the marketing is attracting the wrong type of buyer.
Ask your agent a lot of questions. You need as much feedback from the people who have inspected the home as possible. What is turning them off, what are the things that they love about the property, and is there something you can do to make it more appealing; your HomeQ participating agent will give you this feedback; there may be some consistent themes show up that you can work on together.
Your property is overpriced in today’s competitive market.
Oh! Is it really? That may, or may not, be the case.
If you have over-priced the property; then logic tells us one should lower it. However, consider changing your advertising at the same time. A new main photo with your online listing may attract the eye of buyers who have already dismissed it because of the price. They click, thinking it’s a difference house and notice the new price.
Chat to your agent as here at homeQ.com.au these changes can be done for you easily by your appointed agent quickly and easily on your listing.
You haven’t found the right buyers
If the sales results of similar homes in the area suggest your price is right and you haven’t attracted a buyer, then there is something wrong with your marketing. Think back to when you purchased the dwelling and what attracted you. It’s possible you are not pitching the property at the right targets. Things to consider include:
• Do the photos need work or changing?
• Are the photos out of focus or too dark?
• Are the photos of a professional quality?
• Is the headline attracting the right people?
• Is the verbiage doing its job?
• Is the advertisement in the right place?
• Have you highlighted the best features?
Again, your agent can edit you homeQ.com.au listing at any time.
There is something wrong with the property
Ok, if the property has issues that can’t be fixed then these need to be factored into the price or rectified, however, perhaps these issues existed when you purchased the property? Think back! Was it presented differently? Are there areas that can be addressed? Remember all the tips about styling and dressing a home, they can make such a difference. Established plants can hide eyesores and there are even companies that hire plants for properties being put on the market.
You can refer to our on-line page under the heading of ‘Market Insight’
Money in your pocket
Over decades people have made a lot of money buying and selling their homes, renovating, flipping and investing – is it your turn?
For many decades of buying and selling real estate here in Australia we have all seen plenty of ups and downs, government policy changes, banking regulations, interest rates and simple supply and demand that can make real estate a fickle business. When it’s good it’s great, and when it turns it can give a nasty bite, but in the long run it’s always a win-win for all.
Let’s look closer; not all agents are created equal, there are good and perhaps some not so good agents everywhere, but choosing to sell through a Real Estate Agent using old-fashioned methods, marketing and advertising incentives will end up costing thousands.
The old saying, 50% of my advertising works but I don’t know which half, is still true to-day, similarly don’t put all your eggs in one basket, is so true today with experienced marketing people.
Depending on where you live; and your chosen agent, a marketing campaign will be different; however, the on-line advertising costs, fees and charges should be consistent regardless of location, you should not pay more to advertise if you are in an expensive suburb as opposed to a family suburb, or in a high rise or family home. Always request your agent to list your property with homeQ.com.au and ask them why – this represents great value and by paying less for the same results will give you more money in your pocket and buyers usually visit all marketing websites.
The days of glossy brochures slipped in letter boxes, magazines and newspapers are all but gone, however, a set amount distributed around the immediate area of your home, is still prudent, so we are told.
For the buyers of today; traveling around suburb after suburb looking in Real Estate Agents’ widows has been greatly replaced by the internet
Although still a good medium.
Today there are about eight million Australians search websites like realestate.com.au, Domain and homeQ.com.au every month; that’s where the buyers come from.
Get listed and get noticed.
But don’t get taken in by premium spots on a website or larger pictures as buyers will search them all anyway, and lore importantly do all the advertises shuffle?
Check that your chosen website/s listings do actually shuffle every time a page is searched or entered by a prospective buyer, giving you a chance at the top on the selected page. But beware, some websites charge a loading fee for position, size and location.
As mentioned, don’t get miss lead about big pictures, most visitors to a website search all listings in a particular location. Talk to your agent about HomeQ.com.au
Doing it yourself
Let’s save ourselves a lot of money, let’s sell our home ourselves. There will be no commission or inflated marketing fees and we can hold open for inspection days.
Is this a really good option?
The big difference is most homeowners only sell their home once or twice in their life. Plus, everyone is busy. I do think if you have the know-how, it can be very profitable. But ask yourself some honest questions;
• What sort of negotiator are you? (Negotiating badly will cost you thousands and in some cases see you lose the sale altogether)
• How well do I know the local market and the real value of your home? If you are selling the home yourself you have to be able to justify the price to potential buyers both emotionally and rationally
• Do I know what type of person who would be most attracted to my home?
• Do I have the ability to write a compelling add to attract them?
• Can I design a great marketing, campaign, take great photos and promote it?
• Do I have the time and patience to host all the open homes, follow-up after inspections and answer questions from potential buyers?
• Can I manage to stay emotionally detached?
• How will I feel and respond if/when people are critical of my home and tell me it’s worth much less than what I’m asking?
• Can I take the risk of accepting a lower market price?
• Do I already have a list of potential buyers for my area?
• Can I list and administer on-line marketing [Not every Real Estate website accept listings from non-licenced Agents]?
• Can I complete a contract effectively?
• Do I totally understand the buyers’ motives?
If so, good luck, if not, get a HomeQ professional on your side.
There are two main differences between buying a property to quickly flip, and selling the home you have lived in for years.
Obviously when flipping a property, it’s vital you acquired the property for the right price. As a rule of thumb, a theory is not to spend any more than 10% of the purchase price on non-structural renovations.
Give it a coat of paint, open it up, make it as appealing as possible and present it for sale in its best light.
If you are selling your home try to avoid over spending on the overall concept of the home, however, don’t be mean [Market Insight] perhaps spend as little as possible initially and leave something up your sleeve that may be required or suggested by your agent.
This is about clearing and styling. Your family and lifestyle have no doubt changed over the years and you have probably made some changes to the home as well.
These are just a couple of ideas:
Patch any cracks or gaps in the walls, sand and fill with a flexible sealant. Be sure to choose a sealant that can be painted over.
So much can be done with paint, but don’t go crazy with colour. Buyers don’t care if you love Purple or British Racing Green and if you paint your bedroom wall red.
Choose neutral shades. Allow potential buyers to visualise their own colour themes, paintings and furnishings in the space. Paving paint can transform concrete pathways, pool surrounds, even garage floors, and it’s a lot cheaper than tiles.
In the bathroom it’s a pretty simple job with the products available these days to replace the silicone around the bath and refresh the tile grout. Get a new toilet seat and make sure the bathroom is spotless and fresh.
Cupboards and bench tops can be painted and splash backs can be replaced by a DIYer with minimal skills but if you’re not up to that just make sure the inside of the cupboards and draws are clean and not over packed. Remove all the clutter from bench tops and always have flowers and a fresh bowl of fruit in the kitchen. A pot of fresh brewing coffee may be a good idea. Remove all personal notes, photos and magnets from the fridge, give all appliances a good clean, and make sure the kitchen blinds are open. If you have an offensive vista change it. Use large potted plants just outside the window to block unattractive views and have natural light and ventilation streaming in where ever possible.
When presenting a property to the market you want potential buyers to see as much floor space as possible. Use the vertical space rather than floor space. Floating shelves and a TV wall bracket will get everything required off the ground and give a sense of volume to a lounge room. Anything other than a TV and Fox box is really just personal clutter. Have plenty of light.
Worn carpet always leaves a bad impression. It may not be a DIY job, but where possible polished floors are always a great option. Floating floors are also another way to lift the feel and give a home a fresh new look. You may be a pet lover but not everyone is, so if you have a dog kennel, make sure it is not against the house. And make sure Rover is out with you when people are inspecting the home.
Floor space and flow is the key in a bedroom. Remove half of whatever is in your cupboards and drawers, clear and clean any surfaces. Remove toys and personal items. Old curtains and blinds should be removed, clean glass thoroughly and install roller blinds. These only require a few screws and make a world of difference.
Have any broken glass repaired, make sure all light globes are working and new light shades make a huge difference.
Make sure there is plenty of natural light.
Replace missing fence palings and make sure the grass has been mowed. Cleaning roof gutters, unblocking drains and removing cobwebs make a huge difference to the overall look. Don’t move all this stuff to the garage either! Completely declutter the garage and if possible, paint the floor in a light grey.
Don’t have your drive looking like a carpark, move the cars around the corner and leave the driveway and the front of the property clear.
We all love our pets, they are part of the family, but to other people the smell of beloved dog or cat can be a real put off; as can the smell of stale cigarette smoke and yesterday’s roast lamb.
Make sure you have all the doors and windows open a few hours before the inspection time, or open house, and use air freshener, it’s also a good idea to have those plug-in ones spread around the house that discharge an aroma at pre-set intervals.
There will be a lot of stuff you will be selling and dumping when you sell your home; so it’s suggested you do it now.
All these things add up to the first impression the potential buyers will notice and by getting it right the first time will give the buyers the feeling that the property has been well looked after.
The Open House
WHEN A HOME HITS THE MARKET:
One of the first tasks for the seller is to put on an open house. If your home is listed with a HomeQ participating estate agent, your agent will tell you how to prepare your home and organize the open house.
Both you and your agent can take steps to make sure the maximum number of people see your home, increasing its chances of selling quickly for a top price. While technology has changed some aspects of open houses, such as the importance of making a good first impression remain the same.
Everything has changed quite a bit with the Internet, years ago; you’d put an ad in the paper and put a few signs around. Now it’s like a pop-up store. They find out about us on the Internet and that’s the importance of HomeQ.com.au and other real estate websites.
Home and general property sellers today are missing the boat if they’re not promoting their homes for sale online, which provide all forms resources and information for people who want to get a quick sale at the best possible price of the day.
That includes information on how to stage your home for sale and how to put on an open house. It doesn’t really matter how prepared you are, or how beautiful your house is, if you don’t tell people about it; how do they know – you can’t sell a secret.
Opening up your home to the public may be a daunting prospect, but it is not a permanent situation, it will come to an end culminating in a successful sale of your home. Open houses are still one of the best ways to promote your home to the market place and prospective buyers.
You may wish to list and detail your home for sale and the open house times and dates through all your social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Friends, neighbours, colleagues and relatives could know someone who is looking, plus you never know who, outside your direct network, may stumble across your tweet or Facebook post. Ask your HomeQ participating agent for help if you are unsure of using this social medium.
Open houses are great, a buyer who just looked at a home down the street noticed yours open – there’s another prospect for you.
Most sellers and agents do find open houses valuable and suggest holding an open house the first weekend the property is listed; then on a regular basis.
Many times, neighbours attend open houses, even if they’re not looking to move, but out of curiosity. Most agents encourage that, and some even send flyers to neighbours because they may have friends and relatives who are looking for a home in your area, not only that it creates traffic through the property stimulating interest among other prospective buyers.
Here are some tips for holding a great open house.
Make a good first impression.
You want to freshen up the landscaping and exterior paint, plus consider purchasing a few new items, including a mailbox, exterior door and house numbers. Clean the driveway and walkways, and get the cars out of the driveway and from in front of the house.
Perhaps hire some potted plants to give a green approach to the front of the house.
Clean, clean, clean.
The property has to be in pristine condition when you have the open house it could even mean hiring professional house cleaners, having the windows washed and having the carpets cleaned. A little spent today could turn into bigger dollars at settlement.
Stage your home with furniture and accessories.
If you’re living in the house, consider some small touches such as fresh towels in the bathroom, vases of flowers and a few well-chosen accessories. With furniture, less is often more. Wild-coloured walls should be painted and, depending on your budget, you may want to paint kitchen cabinets, add new hardware or change the taps.
Get rid of clutter.
If the house has too many pieces of furniture and knick-knacks, it’s hard for potential buyers to see the home’s features. Sellers should start packing before the house goes on the market, making the home as sparse and streamlined as possible.
Remove personal items.
Homebuyers want to walk into the house and visualise it as their own home in their minds eye. When a potential buyer sees your family photos with and your children’s crayon drawings on the refrigerator distracts them from that picture they want.
Remove pets if possible.
Dogs, cats or other pets should neither be seen nor heard during the open house. If they can’t be removed from the house, they need to be confined to a less trafficked space.
Get rid of the pet smells, cigarette smells, and the smell last night’s roast lamb; and let in some fresh air.
Spread the word.
Make sure your open house is listed in the multiple areas as well as on all the major real estate portals; such as realestate.com.au, Domain and homeq.com.au; send flyers to the neighbours, share the information with friends on social media.
Put up signs.
In addition to putting a sign on your front lawn, put signs at major intersections [If allowed by council] directing people to the house. Tying balloons to the signs makes them more visible. These things and incentives will be done by both you and your agent, and if it’s close to Christmas or Eater, invite Santa or the Easter Bunny along.
Let there be light.
Open up all the curtains and blinds and turn on lights in every room, even on a sunny day. Make it as bright and cheerful as you can.
Protect your belongings.
Remove or lock up any valuables. Your agent cannot be in every room with every prospective buyer at once, so being smart about what you leave out is a good idea.
Your agent will provide information for prospective buyers to take with them, including a brochure or flyer with photos of the house, with local amenities, shops schools, pubs, transport and general community information. You don’t want homebuyers to leave your home empty-handed; this is not going to be the only house they’re going to tour that day, and it’s hard to remember all the different homes and features that they walked through.
Yes, bake or buy cookies.
Not all agents agree on the importance of refreshments and can become a little messy; however, you could invite the local ice cream van along for an hour or so.
Stay in the background if you’re there at all.
If a real estate agent is organizing the open house, the sellers should not be present. Allow the potential buyer the opportunity to discuss things with the agent in a private situation.
Listen to feedback.
One valuable takeaway from an open house is being able to hear what people think about the price and features of your home. If you don’t get opinions and people’s thoughts, you’re wasting a lot of audience. Your agent will collect names and contact information from everyone who visits and contact them afterward to see what they thought of the house, presenting you with a detail report of the day’s events either by phone or email.
Setting a target price for your home is not about what you what, it’s about what the home can reasonably be expected to get in the market place on the day. You need to do some research and enlist a Real Estate Agent that has the expertise to discuss and recommend a price for your property. Remember no matter how attached to all the changes you have made over the years; you are the seller not the buyer.
Emotion plays a huge part in the decision to purchase a home, the person you want to be emotional is the buyer not you. You want the buyer, to picture themselves in your home as theirs.
One must also understand the longer your home sits unsold the more likely people will think there is something wrong with it.
Homes on the market for long periods get a stigma about them, perhaps creating a scenario that by lowering your asking price may result in offers well below what you would have initially would have accepted, be guided by your agent.
One answer to this, if you want to lower the asking price is to change all the main photos on you online listing website creating an impression that it is a different house.
Under selling is very rare if you have selected the right agent and listed to their advice.
Again, your price has to be based on evidence, not guesswork. An experienced agent will be able to provide the evidence you need based on sales data of similar homes. But you should also be familiar with recent sale prices of homes in your area.
Another idea is to go to auctions and open homes so you know exactly how the homes were presented and the condition they were in.
Under selling is normally associated with sellers who try to sell their homes themselves – be aware.
If you are considering some renovations you want to appeal to the broadest possible target audience and invest wisely with the final selling price in mind.
People claim kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, well to a certain degree that’s true but don’t go and spend $10,000’s on designer bathrooms and kitchens just to see them pulled down by the new owners. Fix the things that are broken, or not working, give them a good clean, and set the scene.
Try to imagine the type of person that will be buying your home and this can be gained from the area and location that you live in.
Don’t over capitalise; but make it attractive and liveable, remember you are the seller so your tastes will be different to the buyers so keep your property middle of the road.
Overcapitalising when you initially move into a new home is in the main quite acceptable and understandable as you have to live there for a long time, but not when you are ready to sell. If it’s your family home and you are making changes to suit you and your family and you intend to stay there, then you have to consider the tangible value those changes provide.
If you are buying to flip and have to renovate, be very careful not to fall into the trap of falling in love with your own ideas that may cost more money than you will recoup. A clean and tidy home, with good street appeal, that is priced right, will sell a lot quicker than the place that has been renovated and improved beyond the value of homes in the area.
After all these expensive renovations have been done it may not be to the liking of the buyer and result in a lower offer and eventually pulled down.
Making it hard for buyers
While you don’t want to open your doors to any and everybody you do need to make things as easy as possible for any genuine potential buyer. Consider having your home open Saturday and Sunday and your agent should have a platform that makes it simple for the buyer to download any document they need and get a quick answer to any genuine question.
Accepting an offer
Accepting an offer is entirely up to you. And accepting an offer subject to finance is also an acceptable scenario, but accepting an offer subject to the sale of another property may be fort with danger.
There are just too many circumstances out of your control.
If your agent suggests withdrawing the home from the market subject to the sale of another property, be aware, it may not be a good idea. If you are tempted to exchange contracts with an extended settlement period that’s up to you and not all turn out to be disastrous, however, ensure the offer is good enough to make up for the additional mortgage payments you will make while waiting to settle, and beware of signing a deal that takes your home off the market, but allows the purchaser to withdraw on the basis without penalty.