Every property seller wants to sell for the most the market will pay. Unfortunately, as a seller, we mostly believe our property is worth more than everyone else does. It’s a completely normal condition we call the “sellers’ emotional wish-price”. I’ve been a seller many times and, even as an estate agent, I’ve made the same mistake with my own properties.
Why is it so dangerous? Simply put, it’s the bait by which unscrupulous estate agents will “buy” your mandate. Falling for the bait will sadly cost you a significant amount of money. Let me explain why.
So you’re considering selling and you call in a few estate agents to see what they can offer you, what they charge, and what they think your property is worth. Agents know you are likely to list with them if they promise you the highest price, and offer you a lower fee. But is that really how to sell for the most?
Consider this very important fact: It’s not the estate agent who prices your property. It’s not even you as the seller. It’s the market – made up of the buyers – that will determine what your property is worth.
So, just because an agent says your property is worth a certain amount doesn’t mean that’s what it’s worth. Seriously! Where is the evidence? It’s hard to believe that in this day and age a seller will actually believe what an agent says when they walk into a property, look around it for a few minutes, and then give a “thumbsuck” at the price. And that’s what you will base your decision on for selecting your agent and disposing of your valuable asset…?
So what are the dangers of falling into this trap of overpricing? For one, when the property does hit the market, it will attract enquiry from buyers expecting a property offering more value. They will compare the overpriced property to other properties on the market that offer better value, and buy the other properties. You won’t even get offers, because you’re talking to the wrong buyers.
You will sit on the market for many months and, even when you slowly bring your price down, you will eventually sell for less than market value because buyers will perceive you as a “stale” listing. They will think there is something wrong with your property. And they will almost never offer you market value. Does that make sense to you?
Statistics will show that if you price correctly, you will sell quickly. And when you sell quickly, you will sell for the absolute maximum market value.
So don’t get suckered. Get an accurate comparison with actual facts to prove what your market value is. Once the evidence is provided, ask what the agent will do for their fee. And by the way, cheapest is not best. You need world-class marketing to get market value. As with everything in life, you get what you pay for.
Principal of Harcourts Platinum
Director of Harcourts South Africa