INFORMATION FOR PROPERTY SELLERS
If you are thinking about selling your home, you may be wondering exactly what is involved. What does your real estate agent do? What are your responsibilities? What factors contribute to a successful sale? That is why we have prepared this guide to provide you with relevant information and guidance. We briefly explain the ins and outs of marketing your property, when to sell privately and when to sell by auction, what is involved in agent/vendor agreements, and the legal and financial aspects of selling. We have also included information on our agency, highlighting the full range of services we offer. We believe the advice in this guide will improve your chances of achieving maximum value for your property by providing you with the information you need to help you choose the best agent and the most effective method of selling your home. At Christopher Russell and Associates we pride ourselves on our professionalism and commitment to ensuring that our experience of selling your property is smooth, positive and successful.
Assessing Your Property:
Most vendors ask two or three local real estate agents to appraise the property they wish to sell. Although these appraisals may differ considerably between agents, they can help you to establish a price range that reflects the current market for comparable properties in the same area. You should realise however that property prices can be affected by many external factors, such as interest rate rises and falls, legislation and political change. The highest assessment may not necessarily be achievable in the market that prevails when you sell your property. Conversely, the market may be particularly strong when you sell your property and buyers may be prepared to pay a higher price than you anticipated. This is why a more conservative assessment is usually the most realistic one to use as a basis for planning what you want to do with the proceeds of the sale of your property. If the property sells for mare than you expected, then you should treat that as a welcome bonus.When we appraise your property we will also offer initial guidance on selling , without any obligation on your part. Often this will be simple but important advice. For example, we may recommend some simple, inexpensive presentation tips so that prospective buyers see your property in its very best light, together with a tailored marketing campaign that will be an excellent return on your investment. Whatever the market conditions, Christopher Russell & Associates take the time and effort to optimise buyer interest, and to ensure that your property sells for the best possible price.
Selling Your Property – Who and How
The first two decisions you must make when selling your property will be crucial to the final outcome:
Choosing the best agent to help you sell your property
Selecting the most appropriate sale method to achieve the best possible result.
The selling agent
When choosing the best selling agent for your property sale, you should take the time to do your research carefully. After all, you are entrusting this person with the sale of a very valuable asset – your home. So it pays to ask the right questions. While your choice of real estate agency is important, it is the individual agent who will make all the difference to achieving the result you want. Look for someone you feel comfortable with, and someone you know will take a personal and active role in every aspect of your sale. You will need to decide if you want to deal with a larger agency where sales consultants may prefer to focus on selling their own listings. Or you may prefer to list your property with a smaller , integrated agency where members of the sales team do not compete against each other, but work together for the benefit of each and every client. Ask who will personally handle the marketing and sale of your property? Who will conduct the inspections? Who will negotiate with prospective buyers on your behalf: Who will auction the property if it goes to auction? Who will report back to you on progress during the marketing campaign?
Using your agency shortlist, attend one of their open inspections. How do they interact with prospective buyers: Are they courteous? Do they respect the vendor’s property?
Attend one or two auctions held by your short-listed agencies. How do they conduct the auction process? Do they engage with potential purchasers and stimulate active bidding?
Can the agency show evidence of a high success rate in selling the properties they take on? Some may be able to show a fairly consistent high volume of properties on their books, but not such a successful selling ratio.
At Christopher Russell & Associates, we have an enviable sales record – and a reputation for being totally professional yet friendly and approachable. You will benefit from the total support of our entire sales team, which is committed to making your property sale as stress-free and smooth as possible. In turn, you will feel relaxed and confident, knowing that we have your best interests at heart.
We record the contact details given to us by prospective purchasers and investors who are seeking property in the area. This information is maintained in our buyers register. We regularly contact buyers on this list to keep their details up to date, and we advise them promptly of new listings. We take great care to ensure the register gives us an up to date database of genuine buyers. If you appoint Christopher Russell as your agent, we will use our buyers register to enhance your marketing campaign by bringing your property to the attention of genuine buyers who we now are actively seeking to buy a property similar to yours.
Poor communication between agent and vendor is a common cause of vendor frustration and anxiety. At Christopher Russell and Associates, we appreciate that you want to be kept informed at all times. This is why we will contact you after each inspection to advise you of the reactions of prospective purchasers and to discuss any necessary actions. Some clients like us to feed back this valuable information by phone, while others prefer a weekly face to face meeting.
Method of Sale
In Victoria, most residential properties are sold by private sale or auction. Each method involves different selling strategies. In a private sale the purchaser knows your price and attempts to work it down. In an auction, the purchaser is disempowered as only the starting figure is disclosed and the agent will encourage interested parties to life their sights up throughout the campaign and on he day.
The main benefit of a private sale is that it offers confidentiality. In the negotiations, he vendor is in charge, because the onus is on the purchaser to persuade the vendor to accept the offer. This method of sale may suite a vendor for whom the right terms and conditions may be equally or more important than the financial outcome. However, private sales can have a number of disadvantages.
The purchase may be subject to certain conditions laid down by the purchaser, such as a satisfactory building inspection or obtaining finance. If these conditions cannot be met, the purchaser may be able to opt out of the contract.
In a private sale you have to disclose the asking price of your property to potential purchasers. In effect, this means that you are declaring the reserve price at which the property will be sold. If, at a later date, you decide to auction your property, this can inhibit the success of the auction, where the reserve is not disclosed.
Because the price of a private sale is made public, this can sometimes deter prospective buyers and limit the number of people who inspect your property. Auctions however, generate open competition within a very tight time frame. Keen buyers can become caught up in the emotion and excitement of an auction, and often bid in excess of their original intentions. Sole agencies and open listings
Private sales may be carried out by one agency acting as the ‘sole agency’. Or the vendor may ask several agencies to bring prospective buyers through on an ad hoc basis. This is known as an ‘open listing’. Sole agency - Under a sole agency, the vendor appoints one agent exclusively for a specified period of time, normally 60 days. This appointment continues until the agreement is cancelled. Sole agency is the most popular method of private sale because it is the most effective. It provides the incentive for the agent of your choice to concentrate on marketing your property actively, reporting to you, and taking sole responsibility for all the negotiations required for a successful sale. The agent’s reputation is very much on the line when his or her agency alone has the authority to market your property. Open listing - In an open listing, the vendor asks more than one agent, on a non-exclusive basis. Each works independently to produce a buyer for your property, and the successful agent is paid the commission on the sale. While this method may, at first glance, appear to stimulate competition and broaden the pool of buyers, it can have the opposite effect.
In Victoria, auctions are the most popular method of selling residential property, particularly in sought-after suburbs where demand usually exceeds supply. Changes to auction regulations in this state over the past five years have improved the transparency of the process, both for purchasers and vendors. There are certain types of property that should always be sold by auction to achieve the most favourable result. Your agent can advise you on the best selling method for your property. Benefits of selling by auction
A sale at auction is always unconditional
As the vendor, you can specify the terms conditions and settlement period to suit your requirements
A tightly focused, extensive marketing campaign builds momentum and brings your property to the attention of as many prospective buyers as possible, culminating in maximum bidder interest on auction day. The campaign generally runs over three to four weeks before the auction date, and can be fine tuned once it is in progress to capitalise on the level of interest generated by advertising and the agents database.
As the vendor, you are in control because you set the reserve price. The auctioneer cannot sell below this price at the auction, unless advised by you. This price is not disclosed to prospective buyers before the auction.
Setting a forthcoming auction date tends to ‘focus the minds’ of prospective buyers. If you receive a favourable offer before the auction, you can still accept it and the auction will not take place. Christopher Russell and Associates will not charge an auction fee, whether you go to auction or not.
Advertising Your Property
When you appoint a licensed real estate agent, you are effectively buying their professional experience and specialist skills in marketing property. Your agent is the expert on how, when and where to advertise your property to achieve maximum exposure and effect. Because each vendor and each property is unique, your agent will advise you on the most effective advertising schedule to suite your needs and budget. If you are selling by private sale, your agent will put forward a suitable advertising schedule for your agreement, taking into account prevailing market conditions and your time frame for selling your property. If you are selling by auction, your agent will design a comprehensive advertising schedule for your agreement. Your property should be given maximum exposure over a four-week period to ensure that potential buyers are made aware of the forthcoming sale. The campaign should use a variety of appropriate media outlets to market your property, including the agent’s own website, and the key property websites – www.realestateview.com.au, www.realestate.com.au, and www.domain.com.au. At Christopher Russell and Associates, we ensure your property reaches as wide an audience as possible.
Purchasing a property is a very personal activity. Prospective home buyers want to picture themselves living in your property, and investors look for a property that will appeal to a broad spectrum of tenants. First impressions really count. If people like what they see when they inspect your property, they can become determined buyers. But what you like may not be to everyone’s taste. So it is always advisable to seek help from a professional on presenting your property to show its main features to best effect, to maximise space, and to achieve the best possible results. While your agent will include regular open for inspections in your marketing campaign, you should always be prepared for unscheduled inspections. Your agent should always phone first, but it may be at short notice. This is why it is important to keep your home looking good at all times.
General presentation tips
Keep lawns and gardens week-free and trimmed
Remove rubbish and children’s toys, and keep the paths clear
Make sure the outside of your property is in good order, including fences, gates, gutters and paintwork
Internally, try to let in as much natural light as possible. Clean the windows inside and outside, open windows and doors
Repair minor cracks and defects, and make sure doors and windows don’t stick or creak. A quick coat of paint can work wonders, but stick to neutral colours
Clear the rooms of clutter. The more floor area visible, the larger the room will appear. It may be worth putting some items of furniture into the garage or into storage to create additional space. Decorate with flowers and remove any precious items and family photographs
If possible, keep your pets out of the way during inspections
Turn off TV’s, stereo systems and radios, although quiet background music can create a pleasant mood
During the pre-auction period, we usually suggest a regular, twice-weekly open inspection, plus inspections by appointment if necessary. We do not advise you to be present during any open inspections or viewing appointments. This is because a buyer may not want to give completely honest feedback if they know that the owner is within earshot. It is important that prospective purchasers raise any issues with the agent who has the experience to answer them without causing the buyer to lose interest. Never discuss price or terms with potential buyers. All negotiations should be handled through your agent who, as the third party, has the necessary professional expertise and experience to bring negotiations to a favourable conclusion.)