Top 10 Secrets to Selling Real Estate from Andrew Winter

In a real estate career spanning three decades across the globe, Andrew Winter has seen it all when it comes to selling and buying property. No matter what type of home you’re selling, or where, these expert insights can help you to get the best possible price.

1. Never go to auction

An auction is categorically not the best way to sell your home. It can put unnecessary and artificial demands on you as a seller and place you in a precarious and highly stressful “all or nothing” situation. There is an intense focus on the Sydney and Melbourne auction markets, but across the country, most properties are not sold this way. If necessary, an auction campaign can kick start the sales process, but your home doesn’t then have to go under the hammer. Exceptions might be where transparency is required such as divorces, deceased estates or foreclosures.

2. The tender selling process is the best option

The beauty of the tender process is that it’s good for the buyer and the seller. There is a due date for offers, but it’s not legally binding like an auction and doesn’t scare off buyers that can’t commit to auction conditions. It offers comfort for buyers in knowing they have put their best offer forward and it has been presented to the seller. Meanwhile, it offers a flexible sales method for the homeowner — you can determine the settlement period and other particulars — it creates competition and maintains campaign momentum.

3. Understand your home’s value before the appraisal

It doesn’t matter what the market conditions are — booming or bust — you need to sensibly educate yourself on what your home is worth, not what you want for it, before you begin the sales process. There is a massive difference between the two. Understand why homes in your area similar to yours have sold for more than you can reasonably expect, such as a new kitchen, or less, such as south-facing.

4. Search for the ‘quiet achiever’ agent

There are many agents you can choose from, but the selection is fairly consistent in any market. There will be the ruthless and high-profile real estate agent who is said to be No. 1 and others equally as successful — the quiet achievers. You have to be fairly strong yourself to go with No. 1, who will likely have a system you have to follow. We all work better with different people and the ‘sharp’ ones don’t suit everyone. As such, the quiet achiever might be best for you. Search the active real estate agents in your area who are selling homes like yours on Listen to friends at the school gate or the coffee shop. Then make your decision.

5. Understand who your buyers are

Knowing who is most likely to be interested in buying your property can assist you greatly in your sales approach, including photos, the signboard and during open for inspections. Is it first home buyers, a family or downsizers? Adapt to them. They want to see a home they can imagine themselves living in. For example, if yours is a four-bed family home, don’t be afraid to leave your teenager’s posters on the wall or your youngster’s Dora the Explorer toys on the shelf.

6. Beware of selling ‘off-market’

The best chance of getting a good price for your home is with maximum exposure. Selling ‘off-market’ doesn’t achieve this. If you are trying to cut costs, saving $10,000 on marketing might mean your home sells for $50,000 less, so in the end you are losing out big. If you want to be discreet or are selling a high-end property only few can afford, off-market might be for you, but for the vast majority of sellers it isn’t.

7. Home styling can make things worse

When selling, it’s vital your home looks its best. But buyers are very aware of styling these days and it has far less impact than it once did. If you’re selling an investment, it might be better left empty rather than just plonking furniture down that makes the home look strange. For owner-occupiers, combining home styling with what is already there can make it look like a stage and we have all moved on from that.

8. Pull your family, or tenants into line

No matter how long you have lived in your home, it needs to look ready for sale. It has to look clean and tidy to buyers. If so, they can forgive an old kitchen, but a messy, dirty or cluttered house will reduce appeal to potential buyers. Pack your kids’ toys away, don’t have your tenants leaving breakfast in the sink or their gym gear under the bed. Buyers want a house that has been loved and looked after.

9. Always buy and sell in the same market

Whether the market is going up or coming down, it’s always best to buy and sell property in the same market, no matter the conditions. If you leave it too long between buying and selling, markets in individual suburbs can change in a matter of months, you can get caught out when values shift.

10. Have a clear Plan B

Whether you decide to sell before you buy, or buy before you sell, you need to have a Plan B in case it doesn’t turn out as you hope. If you have purchased your new home and can’t sell your old one, or vice versa, you may have to rent a home for at least six months before the situation changes so you don’t get into financial trouble.

Article Source: Herald Sun. Andrew Winter is the co-host of Love It or List It Australia and Selling Houses Australia on Foxtel’s LifeStyle channel.