Saturday March 16, 2013
Tips on selling your home
By EUGENE MAHALINGAM
IF you're planning to sell your house, then there are certain steps you should consider before putting it out on the market.
Here are some simple steps to follow to help you command “top dollar” for the house you plan on selling.
Get a registered estate agent
Hiring a registered estate agent can help you avoid getting conned and get the best deal possible, says Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) deputy president Siva Shanker.
“Always go to a registered estate agent and not to one that is not. There are plenty of them out there,” he says.
“By going to a registered estate agent, then you can be assured that you're protected by law.”
Siva also says a seller should engage just one estate agent, if possible.
“Have just one estate agent to handle the deal for you. That way, there would be better accountability,” he says.
Publicise your sale
Once you've decided to put your house up on the market, the next thing to do is to ensure everyone knows that you want to sell.
“There are many ways to publicise this via newspaper ads or on web portals,” says MIEA president Nixon Paul.
Siva says one of the simplest and most effective methods to let people know your intention of selling your house is to simply place a sign on your gate or in front of your property.
“By doing this, chances are, more often than not, the potential buyer will come from the immediate neighbourhood,” he says.
Oddly, Nixon says that there are sellers that don't actually want to publicise the sale of their homes, preferring instead to keep the whole transaction private and personal.
“Sometimes they might be in financial difficulties and don't want people to know.”
Siva concurs that there are actually sellers that “prefer to keep things under wraps.”
“The seller should readily be willing to tell all and sundry that their house is for sale. With more people knowing, the seller would stand a better chance of negotiating a better price!”
Clean it up
When it's time to let a prospective purchaser inspect the house, it definitely helps to “spruce” the place up a bit.
“It only makes common sense to make the property ready for viewing. One should spruce up the place and just make it look more appealing,” says Siva.
“When a prospective purchaser walks into the house, turn on the air-conditioning, spray a little air freshener to make it a pleasant experience.”
Nixon concurs that first impressions, especially appearances, can either make or break a deal.
“When the house does not look good, it would not be able to command good value.”
In Western countries, this is known as “staging,” which is essentially the act of preparing a home (and its contents) for sale, with a special emphasis on presentation and appearance.
According to US-based property website HomeBuyingInstitute.com, staging a home for sale normally involves things of an aesthetic nature, such as design, organisation and overall appearance (as opposed to mechanical or functional improvements).
The goal of staging is to improve the home's appearance in the eyes of potential buyers, with the ultimate aim of selling the home more quickly and for the highest possible price.
Siva says that if the house is vacated, every effort should be made to make it look as habitable as possible.
“If a home is vacated for a while, it might look abandoned or even a little bit run down and a lot of people don't want to spend money sprucing it up. By not doing this, you're only doing a disservice to yourself.
“Even if it's for rent, the landlord, instead of spending money to improve the condition of the home, would rather wait to secure a tenant first before deciding to do anything.”
He says the seller or landlord should spend money to fix whatever defects that are visible as soon as possible.
“A simple thing like giving it a fresh coat of paint would help to do wonders. Sure, a buyer might end up renovating the place soon after. But if he likes what he sees, the seller can command a higher value for the house.”
Is timing relevant?
Nixon says the timing of when to sell a property in Malaysia does not matter very much.
“To some degree, it doesn't really matter. Of course, there tends to be a slowdown towards the beginning and end of the year as people tend to wind down during that time.
“And during the fasting month, the Malay community isn't really looking to buy either.”