When a change of circumstances or location is on the horizon, the question often arises of how best to sell your house or flat. Personal expectations in terms of timescale, price and other factors all need to be taken into consideration. Many people are not sure whether to sell the property themselves, use an estate agent, or even one of the new online brokers. Expert experience shows there are four crucial mistakes that owners make when selling their property, that can cost them a lot of money.
As the owner, you’ve lived in the property yourself and felt comfortable within your own four walls. Prospective buyers, however, will view the property differently to the seller with all their memories. This difference in perspective can often be a hindrance. Older properties in particular can often be out of step with what younger buyers are looking for. It’s therefore good to have someone at your side who knows what is currently in demand and who is familiar with modern building standards. With this fresh perspective, it’s often possible to find solutions which can make the property seem even more desirable in the eyes of prospective buyers, frequently only involving minimal outlay, such as, for example, recommendations for a freshen up, some restoration or a conversion project. Here, ideas, experience and knowledge of the market are required, which can immediately result in many tens of thousands of Francs of extra profit.
With today’s property websites, it may seem easy to find potential buyers. However, if you want to find buyers who will pay the highest price, you need to consider what is the right target group for the property, and appeal to them directly. The headline, photos and language all need to be geared towards this clientele. This is especially true in the case of properties which are out of the ordinary, where potential buyers can be hard to find online. An experienced estate agent, however, will have a large database of contacts, ideally also including an international network, where they can find prospective buyers in the target group, approach them directly and interest them in the property.
Selling a property takes a lot of effort. A good advert will bring countless enquiries. Some of these, unfortunately, will not be useful, e.g. those from other estate agents and so-called ‘property tourists’, who are only interested in looking at lovely properties. Viewings take time and effort, if they are targeted and involve professional preparation beforehand and evaluation afterwards. It’s often necessary to follow up with different prospective buyers, and investigations with architects and other specialists may also be required. Sellers are very often pleased to have a specialist agent to support them, particularly as it lessens the risk of accepting an offer too early, or at a price which is too low, simply in order to finally get to the point of agreeing a sale.
Negotiating and successfully concluding a sale is the crucial skill within the selling process. Here it’s not just the price that is the key factor, but also to what extent the stated aims and conditions of selling have been fulfilled. The owner, who may have close emotional ties to the property, can often lack the necessary distance. This is exactly what is needed, however, to identify the best possible option at the right time, and to achieve the optimum outcome from the negotiations, systematically and with consistent focus. In addition, there can be many pitfalls in the detail of the contractual arrangements, which deal with financing, creditworthiness, drawing up a sales contract, liability, restoration, renovation, and other technical issues, and these can cost a lot of money.
A good, reliable estate agent will provide support and assistance throughout the whole selling process on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis, i.e. they are only paid when they are successful. So-called ‘free’ and ‘cut-price’ offers, on the other hand, often turn out to be a sham. These offers tend to follow a standard process and do not take account of property-specific, individual options and circumstances. Consequently, a large part of the necessary work falls to the client or is not dealt with at all. Also, with these companies there is generally no contact person whom you can contact directly in case of any questions.
Therefore it is worth carefully checking the services offered by different estate agents. In doing so, you will often find that what appears at first glance to be a more expensive offer is exactly the all-inclusive package you require – one that best appreciates the interests and goals of the seller, and ensures that the property is sold with the least possible stress for the highest price.