Just ask: Top 8 questions when selling a home

Selling a home is something that the average person only does a couple of times in their life; for a real estate agent, it’s second nature. We know the property market inside out, and should be seen as expert advisers for sellers who need guidance on their home selling journey.

As a real estate agent in Thornleigh, I get asked similar questions by home sellers, whether they are selling to downsize, upgrade or move to another area.

To make your decisions easier, I’ve compiled a list of common questions home sellers ask me.

Here are the top 8 questions homeowners have when putting their house up for sale.

1. Should I sell via private treaty or auction?

Private treaty: You set your price and you and your real estate agent negotiate with buyers, there is a five-day cooling-off period and only a 0.25% deposit paid by the purchaser.

Auction: You set the minimum (‘reserve’) price for your property and then your property goes to auction, which is basically a competition among buyers. The property is sold on the day a 10% deposit payable immediately, and with no cooling-off period.

There are pros and cons for each option, but generally, agents favour auctions.

Why? Because there are three opportunities to sell:

  • Before the auction if a really great offer comes in,
  • On auction day, and
  • After auction day if the property is passed in.

(Statistically, most properties will sell within two weeks of auction day.)

It is important to be aware of how the different real estate sales processes work so you can make an informed decision. And it also depends on your plans and objectives.

If you need to sell quickly, then an auction is probably the better option because it is an intense four-week campaign, with strategic marketing activities, and open homes to create interest and a sense of urgency.

A private treaty is typically less ‘action-packed’, which can be better for those who need plenty of time to prepare, those with small children may find the four-week auction campaign arduous preparing open homes, or older people with poor health.

Your agent should also be advising you on how current market conditions might affect your sales campaign.

2. What must I do to prepare my home for sale?

This is an important question to answer well before your home goes on the market, particularly in the Thornleigh area.

It is best to wait until you enlist the services of a real estate agent before embarking on any work to refurbish your home. There is always the risk of over-capitalising on the value of your property.

A good agent will step in and tell you what needs to be done. This will ensure you don’t do any unnecessary refurbishments that might not bring a return on investment in the house sale.

Every property is unique, but you can always expect to do things such as decluttering, mowing the lawns, trimming hedges, cleaning, and hiding any personal photos or belongings.

3. Do I need to style my home before selling?

In short: Yes. At least, for most properties in the Thornleigh district.

Styling a home for sale is now more the norm than the exception. Buyers expect beautifully presented properties and photography.

Staging or purposefully styling your home is about creating a dream to which buyers can respond. It is about steering buyers to envisage themselves living in the home; this can be best achieved by presenting a property in a deliberate manner. It helps define space and allows purchasers to understand how the home can be used.

4. How much will it cost to market a property in Thornleigh?

The first thing I tell my sellers is, “You can’t sell a secret”.

Because of this, marketing needs to be seen as a vital component of every campaign to sell a home.

Every agency will work differently and have various marketing techniques. The important thing is to always drill your agent on what they will do, and their reason behind choosing those particular channels.

These days, marketing should be a combination of both traditional and online media, and your agent should be able to explain the cost benefits of each.

It is critical to realise that advertising is crucial to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the marketing process. You don’t want to get to the end of your campaign and think, “If only we had used this particular channel and found that one buyer”.

5. Is it important to have a local agent sell my home?

Selling your home takes more than putting up a sign out the front and listing your property online. It comes down to experience and knowledge of the local area and it is surely more beneficial to go with a real estate agent who lives and breathes the neighbourhood.

“A clever local Thornleigh agent sells lifestyle, not just property.”

Quite often the sale of a home comes down to people envisaging themselves living in a particular area, not just the property itself.

An agent who is passionate about the area, and where they live, is the best choice for home sellers who want the best possible price for their home.

6. What do you think my home is worth?

This is a tough question, as no agent can actually tell you what your home is worth – at least, not to the last dollar.

“Your property is worth what someone is prepared to pay for it.”

The fact is, a property’s worth comes down to what someone is prepared to pay for it. The market decides on the value of a house depending on a variety of factors like supply and demand, the condition of the property, or if there is a lot of competition for a property like yours.

Of course, in saying this, an agent will always be able to guide you to an approximate price of what your home could be sold for. This is where a local real estate agent will really be valuable, as they can tell you what homes have sold for most recently in the area, particularly similar properties to yours.

For example, in Thornleigh, home sale prices can vary within the same street. Your local agent can explain how although two properties may appear to be similar, one property has unique features that led to a higher price.

7. Should I take the first offer I get?

Your agent is always going to be the best person to guide you. It will all depend on how your campaign is going, and how the market is currently looking.

Every property sale is an individual process, and your real estate agent should be analysing all the available information and data to help you make the best possible decision.

“Should you accept the first offer? Ask your agent to guide you.”

Sometimes you do get the best offer in the first week of a campaign, or sometimes it may pay to wait until auction day.

Make sure your agent keeps you well informed so you can decide what could be right for you and your situation.

8. How often can I expect to hear from my agent?

This is an area on which you should never compromise. Your agent should be speaking to you every other day, if not every day. I speak to my home sellers all of the time and I’ll always share even the smallest details to ensure they feel informed every second of the journey.

Your real estate agent should keep you updated with:

  • Information about how the marketing is tracking.
  • Any inquiries coming in.
  • Any other information relating to the property market in your local area that may have an effect on the outcome of your sale.
  • This is so, at the end of the four-week campaign (if you are going down the auction path), you can make an informed decision around setting your reserve price, or deal with offers that come in (or what to do if they don’t).

I find that, because I communicate so often with my home sellers, and guide them every step of the way, at the end of the campaign they trust me enough to simply say, “Whatever you think, Karen. We’ll go with that.”

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If you would like to find out what your home or investment property is worth in today’s market, please get in touch. Even if this is long-term advice or renovation guidance to satisfy buyers in the future, I’m are more than happy to help you with your plans.

Karen Page
Friendly, caring and attentive, Karen Page is a customer focused professional with a genuine passion for helping people transition through the different stages of their life.