Property Report - April 2019



Whatever the market conditions, one of the first questions vendors will ask is: do I need to do anything to the place?

Sometimes this question is asked with eagerness, for those who love to roll up their sleeves, but often it is asked with trepidation. It may be that a vendor has already done a considerable amount of work and is nervous about having to do more, or they feel it may be an inconvenience to have to rearrange their lifestyle for the visits of prospective buyers. It is a very important question to ask, because the way we style our homes has tremendous impact on the outcome of a sale campaign.

Notable real estate agent John McGrath once claimed that professionally styling one’s home could result in an additional 5-10% on top of the price. Although this percentage is vague, the principle is true. McGrath also (allegedly) said that vendors should spend 1% of the value of their home on marketing their property for sale.

Again, the principle rings true. You’ve heard me say it before, and I’ll say it again. Success as a vendor is all about being “priced right, marketed right, presented right.” Get those three things right and you have nothing to worry about. Miss the mark and it can be very frustrating.

There is a difference between being optimistic in pricing and pricing outside one’s market. Miss the pulse of value perception in the public and it may be damaging for the sale, even by small margins. In the current market it is better to be competitive. Remember, you have more power if you have offers to consider than if you have no feedback at all.

Marketing is all about showing the strengths of a property in their best light. As McGrath says, spend 1% of the value of your property on marketing. That is a very small margin of the end result, but it can make all the difference. Does a twilight photoshoot emphasise your property’s features better? Should you invest in a video tour? Perhaps staging furniture will be easier on the eye of a prospective buyer?

Presentation can often be the make or break. It is also the smallest things, the one-percenters, that make the biggest difference or represent the largest dollar value in the purchaser’s mind. These are things like painting, floor coverings, even general tidy and maintenance - cosmetic works. Remember to appeal to the broadest audience possible. Although that one buyer may fall in love, it is going to be more productive if you increase appeal for as many people as possible.

Even before the one-percenters are touched, it is important to discuss with your agent what the weaknesses of the property will be. Do not be embarrassed about your home’s soft spots, every home has them. It is important to be realistic about what buyers may or may not notice so that you can reduce distractions and focus their attention on the selling points.

These may include a dated bathroom or kitchen, the way that furniture treats the space in rooms, or the façade and garden outside. Remember that curb appeal, whether it is in photography online or upon inspection, will set the tone for a purchaser’s opinion. You do not get a second chance at a first impression.

So make that first impression count. It is better off to put in the effort before listing your property for sale than to depend on buyer feedback half way through the campaign. Beat them to the punch, work closely with your agent, and you will stand the best chance of selling for what your property is really worth.