Times are changing and so should your selling strategy. As the New Zealand real estate market shifts to favour buyers, there are a few points you should consider when putting your property up for sale.
Educate yourself on what has recently sold in your neighbourhood. Specifically, research properties that are very similar to yours. Investigate the sale prices, whether the properties were renovated (and what was done) and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they had. Look at how long they were on the market for, and if there were any similarities between the ones that sold. This information is crucial for determining if properties like yours are in demand, and what people are prepared to pay for them.
Most of all, make sure your research uses current sales and trends. Using old data—even if it’s only one or two years old—could result in an overpriced house that won’t sell in the new market.
If you want to list your property at the top of its price bracket, that’s OK. Perhaps you want to try selling at auction. Regardless of what sales strategy you choose, make sure you have a plan in place with your agent in case your property isn’t getting any traction.
“When selling in a buyers' market, it is important that you have a close relationship with your agent or salesperson,” says Jeremy O’Rourke, managing director at Lodge Real Estate. “A good agent will review how much interest your property is receiving on a weekly basis and suggest ways to reposition it to attract more buyers.
“This may mean a change to advertising photos or copy, or increasing its exposure, such as making it a feature property on websites or advertising through different property publications.”
Given the popularity of real estate search engines, such as realestate.co.nz and TradeMe Property, it’s a good idea to take into consideration how these search engines organise their listings. In most cases, they group properties in $50,000 increments.
What the search doesn’t take into account is that buyers are often flexible to some degree.
If you price your house at $410,000, it won’t show up on a search for homes between $350k to $400. Which means fewer eyes on your listing, and potentially fewer people at your open home. On the flipside, a property sitting at the bottom of the $400k to $450k bracket could end up being overlooked in favour of something in the middle to high end of the bracket.
Properties take longer to sell in a buyer’s market. If your goal is to get the biggest return on investment, you may need to have your property listed on the market longer.
If you need to sell quickly, perhaps due to a change of job or for a new build, you’ll need to undercut the competition. And because prices are not climbing as quickly as they once did, you may need to change your reserve or asking price.
It comes down to time versus money. If you have the time to wait longer on the market, there’s more chance you’ll get a higher offer. But if time is a factor and you need to sell quickly, you may have to forgo asking top price for it. Either way, remember what your end-goal is and plan accordingly.
Buyers are hunting for value. At the end of the day, they want to secure your property at the lowest possible price. A low-ball offer is an indication that they are interested and it’s usually not their one and only offer—so don’t let your emotions rule you. See where the negotiations lead, and if they don’t go the way you want, then simply wait for a better offer.
It’s been some years since New Zealand has seen a buyer’s market. The best way to get your head around these changes is to speak to a professional who works in the industry.
“In a buyer’s market, it is critical to have an agent who gives you good information and feedback on how the market is responding to your property,” says Jeremy. “Not only that, a good agent will produce a plan to help you maximise your home’s value according to the market. This sort of information is invaluable for a successful sale.”