Selling your home can be quite an emotional process: approaching sales advisors, agreeing on a selling price, finding a new home, all add to the stress.
But by taking some basic measures you can remain relaxed and start preparing for your new home. Probably the most important aspect would be to approach a trustworthy local sales advisor from a reputable real estate company, preferably one with a long and successful track record in your suburb. Such a sales advisor will firstly advise you of the most accurate initial marketing price because of their local knowledge and vast experience. They would also know the activities happening in the neighbourhood and would want to ensure that you will recommend them after the sale has been successfully concluded.
As Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa stated recently, sellers should ideally consider a Sole/Exclusive Mandate, which interprets that only one agency is awarded the exclusive rights to the marketing and selling of your property. You as a seller will get to know this sales advisor on a personal level and be able to trust them to provide you with a straightforward and successful sales process. Also, you are assured of only having one sales advisor walking qualified clients through your property at a time that suits you, and this gives you the time to prepare your home for such a viewing. An exclusive mandate protects sellers from unknown buyers wandering through their home.
As a seller you must realise that by placing your property on the open market, you are inviting people to view it.
This viewing could be by way of your sales advisor bringing a potential buyer through personally or perhaps during a show house when people may visit it at the same time. During this marketing period, you are urged to take steps to assure the safety of your valuables and therefore keep them safe and out of sight – ideally they should be locked in a safe or even stored off site until the property is sold. Although the sales advisor will clearly do their level best to ensure the safety of your assets and personal belongings, they cannot be held responsible for any loss. Sales advisors will ask the show house visitors to stay in one group and walk with them through the property, but this is not always practical or possible, although sales advisors should take all the necessary precautions to prevent any incidents form taking place.
Show houses are very successful in inviting buyers and matching them to a property, and therefore this marketing activity is essential for a successful marketing process and must continue to take place. Internet listings also attract many potential buyers, but at the end of the day, the buyer still understandably wants to view the property – sometimes more than once.
Sellers are encouraged to protect their homes against theft during show house days or even during one-on-one viewings, when a prospective purchaser accompanies the sales advisor. They should discuss their security concerns and movable assets with our sales advisors who will also be able to give input on what type of items need to be hidden away, locked in safes, or preferably taken off site. Although a reputable sales advisor will screen their clients and walk through the property with them, it is still very difficult to monitor each step. There are always opportunists in every corner.
Items which are most targeted are inter alia:
- Cell phones
Sellers must not allow the clients unauthorised access to their property without them being accompanied by the sales advisor. Always contact your sales advisor and advise them that a client did contact you directly so that the sales advisor can liaise with the client to set up a viewing appointment at a mutually convenient time.
Keep all your house and car keys, remotes and personal documents hidden during the viewing period when there are clients wandering through your home.
Be aware that one of the visitors to your home may have nefarious intentions and could actually be taking photos or a mental inventory of your security systems, albeit CCTV or other top-end security features, as they prowl through your home. Frequently check that all your security and alarm systems are working during the time of this marketing period. The fact that the property is on the market sometimes causes owners to relax and not test their security systems regularly because they are focused on the move to the new home and have become complacent in the current home.
The bottom line is not to trust anybody, as sometimes the temptation for visitors with ill intentions can be just too much, especially when it is a smallish item that will fit into a pocket or slipped into a jacket. Know your home and personal space can easily be violated if you are not vigilant. Sadly a fact of life.