Often a property seller asks an agent roughly how long it will take to sell their property. The answer may have a bearing on when they decide to list their home, and the timing of their move.
The two issues that cannot be controlled by an agent are how much a property will sell for, and when it will sell. Having said that, the information, guidance, and services of an agent can have a significant impact on how long it will take for you to sell, and ultimately how much you sell for.
For example, in the Somerset West market our research shows it takes an average of 145 days for a property to sell. Yet some properties are listed for over 2 years, and others may sell in a few days. So what will have an influence of how long you take to sell?
There are two factors that will determine this: your list price, and the marketing of your property.
Let’s start with price: It’s a fact that the lower you price, the quicker you sell. However, no one wants to sell for less than market value. So they key is to determine what a realistic market value is, and then list as closely as you can to that price. Price creates interest.
There is no disputing that the quicker you sell, the more you sell for. Don’t be tricked in to listing for an unrealistic price. You’ll sit on the market for a long time and eventually sell for less than market value, guaranteed. Sadly some agents overprice a property to secure a mandate, and then beat you down in price much later, resulting in you selling for less than you deserve.
Part of pricing is considering the demand for your property. If there is low demand for your type of property, or your location, then this will need to be reflected in your listing price.
The second factor is marketing. Even if your list price is correct, if your property is not aggressively marketed then you will not attract strong buyer interest. It’s only when you have buyers competing against each other for your property that they will make a realistic offer that you would consider. And this buyer competition usually results in a buyer making their best offer – so you sell for maximum market value.
If you are correctly priced so as to attract buyers, and you are well marketed, then you should sell in less than four months, and possibly inside the first 2 months.
It is wise to review the activity on your property monthly. If there seems to be little interest there will almost certainly be issues with your pricing, the marketing, or both.
Don’t delay in addressing the problem straight away and getting things back on track. Quick action will result in you selling faster, and for significantly more money than if you continued with a strategy that isn’t working.
Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa
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