It could be time to rethink your sales strategy

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

If your home for sale is languishing on the market, it could be a sign that you need to shake things up in order to achieve a sale.

It would be fair to say that 2016 wasn't the kindest of years. We lost some much-loved celebrities (no one will easily forget the loss of Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, followed a day later by her mother, Debbie Reynolds) and weathered (for want of a better word) our share of economic upheavals. The economy affects us all, but some obviously feel the effects more than others. For example, those who lost their jobs may have had to sell their homes for financial reasons. Economics aside, others may have sold a much loved home and moved into something smaller when they retired, but regardless of the reason, selling a home is not always everything it's cracked up to be and the whole process can become downright depressing if the property is proving difficult to sell.

People have different tastes and while it's obvious that your home won't appeal to everyone, there are generally reasons why a home languishes on the markets for months on end, attracting little or no interest from prospective buyers. The main reason is undoubtedly the price, and although that might not be the only reason, those going into 2017 desperate to sell their homes would be wise to rethink their entire selling strategy.

Here are a few things to bear in mind:

Price – did you ignore an agent's advice and slap on another R100 000 (or more) to the price tag because you know the ‘true value’ of your home or because you know agents always under-price in order to secure a quick sale? This happens more often than you think, hence the importance of studying a comparative marketing analysis that clearly indicates what has sold for what price in your area. It may be time to rethink the sales price and adjust it in line with what the property is really worth and not what you think it is worth.

Exposure – this is a bit of a tricky one, because these days the internet showcases your home to everyone with a smartphone. The problem might not be due to a lack of exposure, but more the type of exposure it's receiving. Go online and look at the property with a critical eye. Are the photographs good and do they show the property in the best possible light or has the agent done a slap dash job and uploaded unflattering pictures? Likewise, is the agent still interested in marketing your property, does he contact you on a regular basis to discuss the listing and perhaps, more importantly, is he trying his level best to get the property sold? If you have any doubts at all on any of these points, it may be time to switch agents. If you do choose to go with a new agent it may be an idea to give them a sole mandate to ensure they have a vested interest in selling the home in the allotted time frame.

Eye candy - how good does the home look and does it still appeal to buyers? It's easy to become disillusioned and allow things to slide when a home doesn't sell, particularly if the lack of a sale has put paid to any dreams of moving into the new property that you had your heart set on. However, this doesn't mean that you should just give up. Keep the garden and the interior of the home in tip top shape and fix any maintenance problems as they occur. Listen to what those who view the property have to say. It's not easy hearing that your home doesn't appeal, but that doesn't mean you should ignore constructive criticism, particularly if you hear the same thing time and again. Yes, you may not be able to make small rooms bigger, but you can de-clutter. You may not be able to afford (or indeed see the value) in getting the garden landscaped, but this doesn't mean that you can't call in a garden service to clean and tidy the outside area and while no one is suggesting you fork out for a new kitchen, it's amazing what a coat of paint can do for tired looking cupboards.

Don't sit back and wait for things to happen – contact your agent regularly in order to find out what’s happening on the marketing front. Ask where the property is being marketed and request that the home be put ‘on show’. Enquire about feedback from buyers in order to get some idea as to what the problem could be. Again, if the agent is unable to give you the relevant information or provide what you consider to be an acceptable level of service, consider finding an agent who will.

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