Selling? Here's what buyers are looking for in a buyers market



If you’re looking to sell a property in the coming year, chances are that you’ve kept a close eye on the property market over the last few months, and might feel slightly anxious about the recent shift into a buyer’s market. “In a buyers’ market, the buyers are in the commanding position,” explains David Jacobs, Gauteng Regional Manager of Rawson Properties. “The shift happens when there are economical changes – possibly due to interest rate changes and/or political changes – that may impact income and thus affordability of homes.” In short, buyers are spoilt for choice as there are fewer buyers and more sellers during a buyers’ market

While this shift might prove a challenge for sellers, there are some smart ways to ensure your property sells in no time – and that’s by knowing what the buyers are shopping for during the current market. Here are five pointers to help you along the way.

1. Know the buyers

No, we don’t mean that you “stalk” potential buyers on Facebook. Instead, we’re suggesting you get a better understanding of the type of buyers who are likely to purchase property during a buyers’ market. “There are generally two types of buyers during the current market, namely Opportunity Seekers and Primary Residence buyers,” says Jacobs. “It’s important that you understand what each of these buyers’ objectives are, and where your property fits in.”

The Opportunity Seeker is concerned about price and value for money – they are interested in investment properties, fixer uppers and anything that will enable them to make a solid return on investment. “Generally, this buyer has cash to their disposal, which allows them the power and command to buy the best property at the best price,” explains Jacobs.

The Primary Residence Buyer are more likely to be first time buyers, and those who are down scaling or up scaling. “While price matters to these buyers too, they are also concerned about location, modern finishes, space and anything else that are deemed important for those who will live on the property.”

Once you have a understanding of the two types of buyers, you will be able to asses which one your home is more likely to appeal to – this, in turn, will help you set up a strong marketing plan that will aid in heightening the appeal of the property to the potential buyer.

2. A well-marketed property

Another important factor to consider in the buyers’ market is the role a good marketing plan plays in selling your home. “Buyers in the current marketplace are more knowledgeable about what is happening in the market place; they are proficient in researching the market – , for example, they are aware that a property that has been on the market for longer than 90 days could indicate that the property is overpriced or that there might be something wrong with the location or property itself,” explains Jacobs.

It’s  important that the seller understands that their property needs to be marketed alongside a good mix of other properties. So, for example, if an agent dominates in a specific area, that agent is likely to have all the best properties on his book for that area – buyers are likely to know this and might call on his agent to show his portfolio of properties to them. If your property is not in that mix, you might miss the right buyer.”

A great agent also knows the key, unique aspects – such as location, amenities and features of your home – that will up the appeal of your property to potential buyers, and thus aid in your marketing plan. An agent will also help you determine which type of buyer your home will appeal to.

3. The right price

A good agent is not only necessary to help market your property well, but also plays a pivotal part in helping you set the right price for your property. “When your property is undervalued, you are set to lose money when it’s sold; and when it’s overpriced, your property can sit on the market for a long time which will also eventually cost you money,” explains Jacobs.

A comparative market analysis – which is done by a qualified estate agent – will realistically compare your property with others in the marketplace and help determine what price you property can be sold at. “As mentioned before, we recommend that you use the services of an agent who really knows the area your property is located in and who also have a few properties from the area under their portfolio – they will be armed with a great amount of knowledge of the location and the value of properties in the area, which will help you set the right price.” Jacobs adds that if a property’s price is right, sellers need not worry that they’re property might not sell quickly in a buyers’ market.

4. Be prepared to negotiate  

While setting the right price is pivotal in a buyers’ market, sellers should still be open to negotiate. “As mentioned before, current buyers are well informed and well-researched. So make sure you’re armed with a fair comparison of properties sold in the area; another point is to be cognisant of the average size of properties sold in the area and where your property fits in; and that you’re aware of the unique selling point (such as a possible expansion of a garden cottage for additional rental income) of your property – these are all factors that will come into play around negotiations.

We also understand that negotiating can be daunting, but your qualified agent should do this on your behalf, to ensure that both buyer and seller are satisfied with the outcome. Lastly, speak openly to your agent about those aspects that you could negotiate on before it even gets to the negotiating table.

5. Update don’t renovate  

So, you might want to build that garden cottage that will add a unique selling point to your home and increase the price of your home. But Jacobs warns sellers not to  overcapitalise on their property. “Finishes and added-extras don’t always determine the price and might not be the draw card that will eventually sell your home.”

Instead of major structural renovations in the hope of pushing up your property price, Jacobs adds, declutter and clean your home, and focus on small cosmetic changes such as painting your home, switching out stale light fixtures with something that is modern and swapping out those old handles on your kitchen cabinets with something fresh. “Major renovations can become a costly exercise and often yields very little in return on the investment. Small, inexpensive changes, on the other hand, are often all that is needed to give your home a fresh facelift, and increase the appeal of your home to buyers.”

If you’re currently thinking about selling, we’d love to help with a free valuation and/or assist you with marketing and selling your property. Kindly contact us on xxxx and one of our agents in your area will get in touch with you soonest.

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