Selling a home is stressful – regardless of how many times you’ve done it before. We’ve written the Vendor’s Guide as a way to help reduce some of the stress that accompanies selling your most valuable asset.
You may also want to refer to our Real Estate A-Z for commonly used real estate and conveyancing terms in New Zealand.
Just as the best time to seek legal advice when you’re purchasing a house is before you sign a Sale and Purchase Agreement, the same applies to selling your home as well. It is always preferable to consult with your lawyer before you have committed yourself to something you cannot get out of.
If you have seen a house you want to buy, and you haven’t (yet) got a real estate agent of your own, the agent who is acting on behalf of the vendors will no doubt want to be able to list your property as well. Before you rush into an exclusive listing to sell your own property, we recommend you do your research first.
Some real estate agents specialise in selling certain types of houses (for example, first homes, lifestyle country homes), some specialise in a geographical area (they do this because the real estate company they work for has divided their immediate vicinity into blocks for which each agent is responsible) and others will work in any geographical area, any type of property in any price range.
There are a couple of things to take into account when selecting a real estate agent – their reputation and results, whether you can work with them, and whether you feel comfortable with them showing strangers around your home when you may not be there.
It therefore pays to ask friends, family members and acquaintances whom you trust for their recommendations. Once you have made a shortlist of potential real estate agents interview them. Ask the hard questions and avoid being pressured into signing anything (especially an exclusive listing) without giving yourself time to digest everything they will tell you.
Some real estate agents will attempt to ‘buy’ your listing; that is, they will tell you your home is worth much more that other agents might suggest it is worth. Although it is tempting to accept this on face value, don’t allow yourself to be swayed by this. Step back and do your own research.
One of the best things you can do prior to listing your property for sale is to do your own research and due diligence. Go online and see what properties are for sale in your immediate neighbourhood. Compare these properties to your own using the following criteria:
- Number of bedrooms;
- Number of bathrooms;
- Land size & house size;
- Ease of access;
- School zones;
- Facilities in the neighbourhood that may affect the value of the property (positively or detrimentally);
- Glazing (double or single)
All of these factors affect the value of a property.
At the same time visit open homes and compare the properties you are visiting with your own.
Doing this will give you a reasonable idea as to what your own property is worth so that should a real estate agent attempt to buy your listing (by suggesting your property could be worth a lot more than it is) you will know.
We recommend reading the Purchasers / Buyers Guide as this is the type of information potential purchasers of your own home will be considering.
Selling Your Property Privately
People sell their property privately for many reasons. If this is something you are considering one thing you will need to take into account are your negotiating skills. Many purchasers are of the opinion that when a property is being sold privately they can knock the vendor (seller) down because no real estate fees are involved and therefore the vendor will be saving those fees.
Provided you have done your homework and you are confident the purchase price you have listed your house for sale at is a fair and reasonable value, then don’t allow yourself to be pressured or bullied into selling it for much less than you want.
Some lawyers are more than happy to negotiate on your behalf with the purchaser or their lawyers, at this point.
Prepare a marketing plan
No one knows your property better than you; you know its strengths and the weakness – use this knowledge.
There are many things to consider in the process of marketing your property privately.
- Make a list of the strengths and weakness of the property. Remember back to when you first bought your property – what appealed to you then? They may appeal to someone else today.
- Prepare a marketing plan. What is your budget?
- What medium will you use to give the best exposure of your property to the market?
- Will it be the local newspaper? Trademe or other web media?
- Will you be conducting open homes? If not, why not? Could you nominate a trustworthy friend or relative to conduct these for you on your behalf?
- Consider using the Internet as a way to market your home – sites like http://www/trademe.co.nz [make sure page opens in a new window”] have a constant stream of buyers.
- What type of purchaser are you trying to attract? Use language that will resonate with your target audience.
As mentioned earlier, research the existing properties for sale and recent sales in your area – this will give a gauge of what the perceived value of your property maybe.
Prepare a brochure about the property with photos for potential purchasers to take away; you may even include information such as the annual rates. Be creative and ensure your brochures or flyers look professional and smart.
Check out your property file at your local council to make sure all Building Permits or a Code of Compliance are on the file. In many instances Purchasers will have a clause in the Agreement for Sale and Purchase which will give them the right to check the file out – you want to avoid any surprises and the more information you have in advance the better prepared you will be. If the appropriate Building Permits or Code Compliance Certificates or Reports are not on the file this may present a problem.
First impressions count – street appeal
Today’s purchasers have done their research; they will have checked out your property online first and then they will arrange for a drive-by. How you present your property and its street appeal makes a huge difference as to whether purchasers will want to know what it looks like on the inside.
There is a reason there are more houses for sale during the spring/summer months than over winter – this is usually because houses look nicer during this period. Gardens are usually in full bloom and any gloominess & chilliness brought about through lack of sun is less of a problem during summer.
Make sure all repairs and maintenance work has been undertaken – no gutters / spouting overflows, the lawns and gardens are tidy, any remedial painting has been attended to.
When people are viewing your home ensure no valuables have been left on display and do your best to ensure that any children’s toys, newspapers, books, magazines and other ‘every day stuff’ has been put away. Even though you may think a prospective buyer will have the skills and ability to overlook everyday clutter, many cannot.
When a prospective purchaser is viewing your home allow them to walk around your home freely – don’t hover or crowd them.
If you’ve spent time looking at properties for sale on the internet, the chances are high you can tell which photographs are DIY.
If you your property is in the upper end of your local market, we would strongly suggest you consider engaging the services of a professional photographer. Some specialise in real estate photography and have all the equipment to be able to showcase your most valuable asset in the best possible light.
Conveyancers want to help
Remember – Conveyancers want to help. Our experience is that it’s only in situations when something doesn’t go to plan (and these are always unforeseen) that our clients wish they had called us sooner. We would far rather tell you that you’re on the right track than attempt to mitigate damage later.
If you would like to chat about any of what is written here, or you have questions of your own, we are only one phone call away.
You can contact us by whichever method suits you best – we look forward to hearing from you.