If at First you don't Succeed, Try, Try Again

If at First you don't Succeed, Try, Try Again

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Let's face it, for most of us selling a property is exciting. Most will have already made an offer on another home or will at the very least have planned the way forward once the existing property has been sold.

The decision to buy a new home is not one that is ever taken lightly. An emotional bond has been formed with the property that has housed you and your family and the idea that your personal space is going to belong to someone else can spark a whole range of emotions. People love their homes - that is why they bought them in the first place - and automatically assume that everyone is going to feel the same way. Unfortunately, this is often not the case and this is highlighted when a property doesn't sell within a relatively short time.

People have all sorts of different reasons for selling and if the seller is not in any rush, it may not be too problematic. However, most want to sell as quickly as possible and are somewhat confused when buyers don't take the bait and snap up the ‘dream’ property.

There are of course a number of reasons a property doesn't sell. The price is always going to be a major deciding factor. The days of thumb-sucking a price and catching an unsuspecting buyer are well and truly over. For starters, buyers have a wealth of information at their fingertips. Companies which specialise in property statistics offer information on the average price attained in any given suburb and provide graphs indicating how the values have risen or fallen over the years.

Estate agents, particularly those who focus on selling homes in a particular suburb, are acutely aware of these statistics, but because they have an even more intimate knowledge of what has sold and what has languished on their books for months, they understand why some properties simply do not sell.

How often have you seen a property advertised on the web, looked at the pictures and thought, ‘they must be mad - they will never get that price’, before moving on to the next listing? You're not alone. While price is relative and we may not be able to afford everything we want, we do have a knack for spotting overpriced homes.

While overpricing is the most common reason properties don't sell, it’s not the only reason and according to Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Properties, it could be time for sellers to rethink their strategy if their property has spent months, or worse, years on the market.

"Consider the fact that many buyers start looking for a home months before they actually make an offer to purchase, so if your home has been advertised in the same way week after week, buyers tend to start ignoring it," says Greeff.

He suggests making use of new photographs to highlight completely different angles. "Show some interior shots if the outside shots are not causing a stir. Find a higher angle or a lower one, or shoot the house from a different angle. Try an evening shot as opposed to a daytime image."

Greeff advises sellers to approach the exercise with a view to marketing a lifestyle as opposed to a house. "Let your agent know what you enjoy most about your home, so he or she can add emotive impact to a sales pitch, and ideally rewrite the advertising blurb," adds Greeff.

He also suggests taking a month's break from the market, then re-introducing your property in a fresh way to attract the interest of a new set of buyers.

"You want to avoid a scenario in which potential purchasers use the extended length of time your property has spent on the market as a leverage point to make lower offers based on the assumption that you are desperate."

Taking the time to visit show houses in the area may also prove beneficial to the seller.

Greeff recommends that sellers use the opportunity to chat to would-be buyers at these show houses in order to get a first-hand account of how they perceive the show house, adding that the vendors might even be able to get some insight into how much buyers are prepared to spend.


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