Are you considering selling your house? Tara Jerman, Senior Negotiator at Knight Frank in Dublin offers her perspective on how to improve your chances of achieving close to, or full asking price for your home.
How do you achieve full asking price for your home?
This is the single most asked question when people find out I’m an estate agent, be it at a café, dinner at a friend’s house or simply chatting with someone at the school gates.
The question always remains the same, and it’s natural in Ireland, we have become obsessed with knowing the value of our home and the pursuit of learning how to maximise it.
1. Do your research
First of all, do your own research to understand from the outset how much your house is worth. That doesn’t mean that you should know within the cent, the market doesn’t work like that, but within 10% is important. I often meet clients who have no idea what their property is worth and sometimes they can be off by more than 25-30%!
2. Avail of free resources
There are many free resources available where you can get a snapshot idea of what your property is worth before you speak to an agent, Daft and MyHome have a tool where you can check the property price register for similar properties to yours.
Have an idea of what you think your home is worth before meeting agents.
3. Choose the right estate agent
Once you have worked out a ballpark figure, it is vital you choose the right agent. You shouldn’t have to see more than three, and I would choose three different agents to give you a good idea of who can do what.
Let them guide you
Your chosen agent is there to represent your best interest always and they are the property professionals – listen to what they tell you and let them guide you to the best solution. The best clients I have dealt with over the years were those who challenged me but also listened and took advice from me when they needed to.
Top Tip: Remember the lowest fee is not always best value for money. Having a trusted partner from the outset to guide you through the selling process is paramount.
4. Be realistic with pricing
The property market at present is extremely price sensitive with many agents inflating prices to gain business. Over inflation of prices will only limit the footfall through the property and affect the level of interest it receives.
Do remember buyers are not naïve, information is readily available online documenting properties that have sold and for what price, so be realistic to get as many people in through the door as possible.
Top Tip: A good agent should bring a list of comparable properties sold in the area, giving you a realistic picture of what your property might sell for.
5. Consider the time of year
Late Spring and early Autumn are usually the busiest times to sell as they don’t coincide with dark winter months and the distractions of summer holidays. They are the perfect times to show off anything which adds value to your property with the added benefit of sunny weather.
Take advantage of good weather
Outdoor space, beautiful views and country homes will all benefit from the better weather offering a feel-good feeling for prospective buyers. With these markets offering the most activity, it also gives you the chance of higher footfall – which ultimately leads to more offers.
Top Tip: If you are planning to sell in the Spring, take your photos during the summer months the year previously to show the property at its absolute best.
6. Presentation & decluttering are crucial
Clients often ask me if the smell of freshly baked bread along with the strong aromatic smells of coffee being brewed increases the chances of a sale? I’d love to say yes it probably would, but I am yet to experience that in all my career of selling property!
That said, smell is vitality important – if in doubt ask a friend or a neighbour to be straight with you and let you know if there are any smells that should be dealt with. First impressions count for everything.
Declutter Marie Condo style
Keep the property as tidy as possible and declutter as much as you can; the chances are, you, like me and everyone else, have too much stuff everywhere, and if maximising space is one of the strategies you are implementing then we have to de-clutter first.
Decor and paint colours matter
The most important points to consider is keeping the décor and colouring as neutral as possible. You may have years of accumulated belongings. However, it is important for prospective buyers to be able to see the space available and visualise their belongings in your home.
This not only will give the feel of a larger space but will also provide better value for money. The last thing you want is for a buyer to be distracted by ornaments and stacks of old magazines.
Top Tip: You can never change a first impression – make it count. Also, use white bed linen!
7. Implement a strategy & tactics
Getting the most value out of your property also comes down to strategy and tactics. In terms of strategy, what are your reasons for selling and will you negotiate less than your perceived asking price?
If you are flexible, you may fetch more on the open market provided we have a buyer who needs to move quickly and thus is ready to pay a premium for that luxury.
Consider every option
Tactically would you break a chain and go into a rented property for six months to maximise your offers? Like a competitive game of chess, you’re on the clock and every move has several options, and every option opens a new scenario.
Don’t be afraid to speak to your agent candidly here, the more they know about your personal situation, the more they will be able to guide the buyers in the right direction.
I once had a sale almost fall through over a TV… both parties dug their heals in. It came down to experience on my side to identify what the issue was and how we could resolve it – we paid for the TV!
8. Be flexible
The market is ever changing, it can react very quickly to external events that could not be foreseen and perhaps had never been discussed with your appointed agent, so it’s important to make sure you react accordingly.
Most homes find their buyer in the first six weeks – if one isn’t found and viewings are drying up you may need to consider lowering your pricing expectations, your agent will be able to best advise you.
Remember as agents we always have your best interest at heart, as no sale means no fee so we are incentivised to make things happen.
9. Let The negotiator, negotiate!
This may sound obvious but let the negotiator negotiate and work for you. They are the experts in this area and do this on a daily basis. They will be working to get you the best possible offer from each potential buyer (subject to you choosing the right agent!) and this process can be lengthy.
Top tip: Stay patient and make sure you are informed throughout the process.
10. An accurate house valuation is key
The last thing I’d say is set yourself up for success from the outset. An accurate calculation ensures that the asking price you go with is realistic but also competitive. The estimate should factor in similar sales in your area, the condition and location of your house as well as the size and aspect of the property.