Selling guide

What do I need to know to sell my home fast?

As people’s lives and jobs change in the current COVID times, a quick house sale may become necessary.

Life is in flux for everyone at the moment – for some of you, the lockdown crystalised your plans to downsize or upsize and brought them forward. For those of you who have lost income or gone through redundancy, a quick house sale makes sense to free up some capital.

And if your area or suburb is one of those experiencing strong buyer demand, the clear message from agents is the sooner you sell the better.

The first thing to know is you’re in a great position. This is an extremely good market to sell in, according to a wide range of active agents. With demand exceeding supply, homes in popular locations are regularly receiving multiple offers. People have come out of lockdown with very serious buying intentions, and even if they have a house to sell, they’re confident that they can do so by the time they need to settle.

Getting the house ready for sale may be easier than you think

You may have a long list of things to do to the house before you put it on the market, but it’s better that you talk to the agent first about this.

Vendors might think they need to paint and even renovate, but hold your horses. If buyers see there’s work to do and potential with the house, there may well be more competition for that kind of home than a done-up house in today’s market, says Ray White agent, Rick Mozessohn.

“A lot of the things you might think are necessary to sell a house might be the opposite in a high demand market,” says the Mt Eden agent. He has seen this with his own listings, a recent do-up attracting 27 offers.

There are cosmetic changes you can make quickly, adds Mr Mozessohn, who says he can get a house ready for sale in 48 hours if he has to. He, like many agents, has a team of tradies who he’ll send in to do various touch ups in a matter of days.

“It’s got to look nice and smell nice when you walk in,” he stresses. So the entrance way should be attractively painted, the garden trimmed for that important first impression.

Staging is a good solution if you’re wanting a swift transformation. The Auckland agent offers partial staging so there’s not too much disruption – and he knows staging companies who will take away and store older furniture you don’t want on show.

Crucially, don’t send out any message that this is a fire sale. Watch the wording on the Trade Me Property ad, and don’t put in anything negative, he advises.

Avoid terms like “owners have bought”, or “owners’ circumstances have changed.” Rather, keep it generic and upbeat, like “Super Cutie”, or “Gorgeous Family Home”, or for a real do-up, “Unbelievable Opportunity”, or “The Best Reno You’ll Ever Do.”

Select your agent with even greater care

A seasoned agent won’t be rattled by instructions to sell a home as quickly as possible, says Lawrence von Sturmer, a Professionals agent in Pt Chevalier. They’ll have experienced vendors who need to sell within a tight time period for a variety of reasons throughout their careers.

10 Walmer Road, Point Chevalier

The Professionals agent has recently listed a Pt Chevallier property for a vendor who worked quickly to have their home ready for this sellers’ market.

They cleared out all the clutter – putting stuff they didn’t need in storage, tidied the garden and organised a house wash. They painted the rooms in neutral colours, making the rooms nice, light and bright with photos for decoration and it’s drawing plenty of attention.

“Good advice about presentation and marketing from a knowledgeable agent can add tens of thousands to the sale price,” says Mr von Sturmer.

This home is being sold “by negotiation,” with an indication that bids will be over $1.1 million. This method of sale is designed to appeal to a wide range of buyers with different needs including a flexible settlement date.

Method of sale when wanting a quick exit

If you want to encourage buyers to put offers in immediately, put an asking price on the property or list “by negotiation.” But don’t rule out auction, says Nic Blackie, an agent with Custom Residential which offers 18 day marketing periods for its auctions, marketing over three weekends and then auctions on a Sunday. Other companies are currently doing auctions after two week marketing periods. Pre-auction offers are quite hot at the moment, adds Ms Blackie.

Elena Styles from Arizto Real Estate recommends a deadline sale, then the vendor can accept offers before the deadline date, and give a price indication.

Barriers holding you back from bringing your home to market

You may have barriers that are stopping you from listing in the current market, but talk to a real estate expert on whether they’re easily surmountable.

One concern which can stop you from moving quickly is that you don’t have consent on all the work that’s been done to the house.

“Don’t put this in the too hard basket,” says Custom Residential’s Nic Blackie. In the Auckland market, buyers are quite used to that, it’s not a deal breaker, she says. In this moment of strong demand, people are a little more open to considering those inclusions.

If you’re overwhelmed by the list of things that have to be done, delegate as much as possible so time isn’t lost, adds Ms Blackie.

“We went through a property in Remuera and the staging wasn’t right – so we did new staging, got windows cleaned, did new photography, all in four days. If you know the right people it’s all doable,” she adds.

Accentuate the positive and don’t be apologetic about things left undone

If you’re still hesitating, remember that if a place is structurally sound and the fundamentals are fine – in a good location, with good sun – it will appeal to people, says Bayleys agent, John Procter.

85 Moana Avenue, Onehunga

“They can put their own stamp on the property, all those things are opportunities, says the agent, currently selling an Onehunga home in need of some TLC.

If you make some improvements on an older home in a piecemeal way, and you choose the wrong thing, buyers will actually discount your “done up” price, he warns.

“You have to do the whole thing or not at all,” says Mr Procter.

Evidence that it’s a good time to sell

And if you don’t believe agents when they say it’s a good time to sell, the Bayleys agent says, watch what the wealthy business people are doing at the moment.

“There’s quite a lot of very nice properties for sale in the upper ranges. They’re owned by successful business people, and they’re thinking: “Now’s not a bad time to sell.” These people tend to have their fingers on the pulse of the market, he says.

Ms Blackie, says she’s as busy as she was in the peak months of February and March this year. “It’s a window of opportunity and who knows how long the window is going to be open.”

Tips for a swift sale

  • Talk to your agent before starting any home preparation jobs.
  • Spend some money on paint touch ups, garden tidying, house washing and cleaning, decluttering and staging.
  • Make sure your agent and buyers have good access for viewings.
  • Make the house look as spacious, clean, warm and bright and light as you can.
  • Delegate jobs that need doing, don’t try to do everything yourself.
  • Ask your agent to recommend tradespeople who can come in and do odd jobs quickly.
  • Order the LIM on the house ASAP
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