Top Tips for Selling a House

Selling your house?

Whether you’re selling your first or second home, setting the right price and making your property stand out from the crowd are both essential to attracting buyers and a successful sale.

The selling process can be a stressful one, but doing your homework can make it less so. From researching your target market to marketing your property, here are 11 tips to help you get started on your selling journey, ensuring a speedy sale at a high profit.

Researching your target market

Different types of properties will suit different types of buyers. For example, a young professional couple won’t be looking for the same thing as a growing family or empty-nesters. Knowing the kind of people who might be attracted to your property will be helpful when it comes to marketing and preparing it for a sale.

Good research should help you choose the right agent for the job.

The ideal real estate agent can tell you who your prospective buyers are based on their experience of the local market. If they have a lot of listings in their marketplace, they’ll better understand market trends and what buyers want, which means they can advise you of any styling or additions that’ll appeal to potential buyers.

Using a real estate agent

Choosing the right real estate agent can make a world of difference to your listing and your sale. Talk to at least 3 agents and ask them about their services, experience, commission, and how they plan to promote your property. An agent who has local knowledge with a great track record of selling properties in your area regardless of market type is the person for the job.

It’s important to find a reputable, licensed agent who understands the market and the needs and wants of your potential buyers. Also hire someone who has your best interests in mind. A good agent will pursue an unlimited marketing campaign, give you good pricing advice and even achieve a high sale price for you.

Selling without an agent

If you choose to sell your home yourself, you get to save on agent fees but you need to do your research and know what you have to do at every stage of the sale process. A Contract of Sale is required before you can advertise your property for sale, so get your solicitor or conveyancer to prepare one for you and ensure that everything’s in order.

Selling without an agent involves the following steps:

(1) Having your home valued
(2) Deciding the sale price
(3) Advertising the property
(4) Exchanging contracts
(5) Settlement.

Follow these steps carefully. Do the research, professionally conduct the whole process, and you should be able to successfully sell your home as you would with an agent. However, these steps are all rather time consuming, so if you don’t have the time to dedicate to such an important project it’s important to bring in the experts.

Preparing your home for sale

Preparing your home for sale can increase buyer interest and make your property look great when potential clients come in for an inspection. A good presentation can help you secure a price you’re happy with and sell faster in any market condition. After all, you want to make a good first impression on potential buyers. Invest in a interior decorator to style your home to help make your property stand out. To appeal to a broader market, paint the walls in neutral colours. Make sure to get rid of personal, unnecessary items and tidy the place up.

Simple touches such as a little bit of landscaping can make a big difference.

You should also prepare your home by repairing problems such as leaky rooves, rusty pipes, broken windows and squeaky door hinges. But consult with your agent first before making any upgrades, as you don’t want to spend too much on renovations and not get your money back. Moreover, if your upgrades make your house more expensive than similar houses in your area, buyers might not be able to afford it.

Check out this video on How to Present Your Home

Pricing your home

It’s important to list your home at a price that meets the expectation of your target market. If the price is too high, you’ll reduce the number of interested buyers. If it’s too low, you’ll only get the bargain hunters. In a seller’s market, setting a price lower than what your home’s really worth can stimulate competition between buyers and you could end up with a higher offer.

Get a valuation from a professional home valuer who has in-depth knowledge of the real estate market. You can also get your agent to help you choose a suitable price based on their experience and knowledge of the current market. Or you can look at how much similar properties are currently selling for in your area and also consider things from the buyer’s perspective.

Marketing your property

Your marketing campaign should reach all potential buyers. Do this by using various advertising methods such as newspaper ads, signboards, handouts, word-of-mouth advertising and open houses. The wider your marketing efforts are, the bigger the pool of potential buyers.

Using digital and innovative marketing methods can also help you appeal to the widest audience. These include online listings, photo editing that showcase your property’s best features, and virtual tours of your house. Your agent could also get the word out about your property with social media marketing and blogging. If your target market is young, social media is a great advertising tool, but if they’re old, traditional advertising is the way to go.

Selling by auction

One way you can sell your property is by auction. Here, you set a reserve price, which is the lowest amount you’re willing to accept for your property. An auction can capture the widest interest as buyers don’t know the price of your home and can make a bid. If the highest bid is lower than the reserve price, you can negotiate a price or put your property back on the market. If the bids are higher than the reserve price, then your house will be sold at the fall of the auctioneer’s hammer. The successful bidder should then sign the Contract of Sale and pay you a 10% deposit on the spot.

Just like when choosing the right agent, you should also choose the right auctioneer. And have them inspect your property before the day of the auction so they’re familiar with it and all it has to offer.

Selling by private treaty

When selling by private treaty, you set a price which is generally negotiable as you can ask for a higher amount, and the buyer makes an initial offer that’s below your asking price. If the price set is too high, however, your house may not sell, and if it’s too low, you could miss out on maximising the price. Moreover, with private treaty you’ll have time to consider offers by potential buyers and extend the time your property is on sale for. Potential buyers make offers based on how much they think your property is worth, and the successful buyer has a cooling-off period of 5 days during which they can withdraw from the sale.

Furthermore, don’t wait for a better price if you receive an offer within the first few weeks of putting your property on the market. Remember, the first offer you get is usually the best.

Check out this video on the benefits of Auction vs. Private Treaty

Being flexible

To reach a large number of buyers and close the sale, you need to be flexible. For example, you could show your house during odd times of the day or night by making it easy for your real estate agent and potential buyers to access your property. When examining offers, rather than refusing them you could make counter-offers to negotiate a win-win situation.

You should also offer flexible terms. If you won’t be selling your property at auction, or you’ve tried and failed, you can get a buyer by adjusting the terms of the sale rather than the price. In some cases, you could win a buyer by lowering the price, but you could sell your house faster if you offer an extended settlement date or accept a smaller holding deposit.

Preparing and understanding the ‘Contract of Sale’

Your property can’t be advertised for sale unless a ‘Contract of Sale’ has been prepared with the help of your solicitor or conveyancer to ensure everything’s in order. It should include a copy of the title documents, drainage diagram, a current Zoning Certificate, property exclusions, and a statement of the buyer’s cooling-off rights. If your property has a pool, you might have to include a copy of a valid certificate of compliance or occupation certificate and evidence that the pool’s registered. The draft contract should be available to be inspected at your agent’s office.

When you sell your home, you exchange sale contracts with the buyer. Make sure to read all the fine print on your contract and go through it with your solicitor before you sign it. You don’t want to find out that you unintentionally agreed to fund additional repairs or gave up on appliances you didn’t intend to let go of.

After signing the contract, you should follow all the terms and conditions.

Claiming the main residence exemption from CGT

When selling your home, you can claim the main residence exemption from the Capital Gains Tax (CGT).)

You can claim a full or partial exemption depending on:

(1)Whether the house was your main residence for the whole time or for a short duration of your ownership.
(2)Property was used to produce assessable income
(3)Is situated on land of more or less than 2 hectares.
(4)If your partner or children have their own homes.

But if you own two properties as your main residence, one of them must be exempt. You don’t have to however make a choice until you decide to sell one. If you inherited a house from someone and it was their main residence and you decide to sell it, you could be exempt from CGT.

In the situation you sell or give your property to family or friends for less than its market value, and you’re entitled to a full exemption, CGT will not apply.

However, if you’re not entitled or entitled to only a partial exemption, then CGT will apply.

Understanding these tips properly will give you the right confidence to sell your property fast and maximise the profit earned.

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Craig Sewell
Craig Sewell is the Foundation Director for Mint360 Property a leading real estate firm based in Sydney’s exclusive Eastern Suburbs. He holds the record for selling the most expensive house in Maroubra for $8 million and has sold shopping centres for up to $15 million. Craig’s most important connection is to his family and the community they live in. That’s why, when he is not selling property, you will see Craig and his four children getting involved in local life – he is a strong believer in the development & education of children giving time and money to Coogee Public School P&C Surf, Coogee Minnows Junior Surf Lifesaving Club, Coogee Rugby Club (The Seahorses) or simply enjoying the fabulous beach-side lifestyle on offer in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
Craig Sewell

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