The Art of Selling a Home

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

People sell houses for a multitude of reasons and generally make a handsome profit in the process. However, there are times when a potential seller should think twice before knocking a ‘for sale’ board onto the verge outside.

Estate agents are always on the lookout for properties to sell. Unfortunately, there are agents who will do just about anything in order to get a property onto their books, including boosting a homeowner’s expectations by inflating the value of a home.

Of course the value of property increases over time, but by just how much depends on a number of factors including market related conditions, the area in which the property is situated and the overall condition of the home. We are all human and we all want to get as much as we possibly can for our homes when we sell. Those who hear that their home is worth far more than they ever imagined can usually be swayed into putting it on the market - even those who had absolutely no plans to sell in the foreseeable future. It's only when the property has sat on the market for months and has attracted very little (if any) interest that the penny drops and any future dreams of buying a bigger and better property are dashed. The bottom line is that no one should list a property based on one agent’s valuation, particularly if that value seems to be significantly higher than the homeowner expected.

The most sensible thing to do under these circumstances is to consult other agents and ask for a second, and even a third opinion. Every valuation should be backed up with a comparative market analysis which should give the potential seller a good indication of what sort of price his home will attract.

Many sellers appear to believe that the profit from the sale of their existing home should cover the complete cost of their next property purchase. This is of course totally unrealistic and unless the property has been owned for a substantial period of time, is highly unlikely to happen.

Ideally sellers should aim to make enough profit for a decent deposit and to cover the costs associated with their next property purchase. Anything above that should be viewed as the icing on the cake and something that won't necessarily happen every time a property is sold.

Sellers who have decided to retire often face a different set of challenges and although they fully appreciate that it's time to downscale or move into accommodation more suited to the elderly, they may have a hard time letting go of a home that has been lived in for so many years. The property holds memories and believe it or not, many sellers in this situation think that these add value to the home. Unfortunately, sentimental value plays no role in the actual value of a home and sellers who try to inflate the price in order to incorporate these feelings will more than likely come unstuck.

Property has always been regarded as a long term investment and for most of us that means it has to be owned for some time before a profit can be made. There are exceptions of course, and indeed people have made a great deal of money under these circumstances. However, this is certainly not the norm and those who are determined to make a decent profit will keep a close eye on what is selling in their area and at what price before taking an educated decision to put their home on the market.

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