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Surviving the Sale
 
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Surviving the Sale

In a property market where prices continue to decline, savvy propertyowners are choosing to cut out the estate agent and go the SIY (Sell It Yourself) route. When a property owner sells privately, they eliminate the estate agent's commission and can make substantial savings. Property owners can use this cost saving to offer a more attractive price to buyers, and still net more in the overall deal. Estate agents charge an average commission of 1.5 per cent plus VAT. So on a housevalued at €550,000, the estate agent would charge almost €10,000 in fees. When compared to the fee of under €200 charged by SIY websites, the saving is substantial. Sellityourself.ie is one such website dedicated to SIY property sales. The company provides property sellers with a complete selling package – everything from an online property listing, ‘for sale’ signboard, pointer board and a newspaper advertising service. The one-time s150 fee ensures your property is listed until sold. You can show your house to potential buyers and handle the price negotiations, before handing the sale over to the solicitor for closing.

 

In last month’s issue we looked at property viewings. The decision to go the SIY route will often hinge on the property owner’s perception of property viewings. Many feel daunted by the prospect of showing a stranger around their house but, as we outlined last month, the process of conducting viewings is much more straightforward than many people think. In truth, the owner is best placed to show their home to potential buyers as they can provide full details on every aspect of the property, the neighbourhood, and facilities in the area. This information is extremely important to anyone buying a home. Sellityourself.ie offers their clients a property viewing step-by-step guide as well as a guide to pricing your property which provides property owners with essential information on these two important areas. Once you have decided your property price, prepared your property and are confident about handling the viewings, it’s time to promote your property and spread the word. Estate agents will promote your property by erecting a ‘for sale’ signboard, listing your property on the internet, placing your property details in their office and advertising it in the local press at an extra cost. When selling property on your own, you can go above and beyond the promotional efforts of the estate agent. Sellityourself.ie replicates the promotional services of the traditional estate agent. The site offers property owners a complete property selling package – everything from an online property listing, ‘for sale’ signboard, pointer board and a newspaper advertising service. Anybody considering selling on their own would be wise to sign up with this service – because the ‘for sale’ sign, pointer board and discounts for newspaper advertising alone are worth more than the registration fee of €150.

“Closing the sale is actually the easiest part of the whole SIY process as your solicitor handles all legal aspects of the property sale, regardless of whether you sell your property SIY or with an estate agent.”

While these are the obvious promotional tools, SIYers are being a little more creative in their efforts to sell. “Two years ago, you required little in the way of promotional effort,” says Doyle. “Today, it’s a different story. We have found that many property owners are taking advantage of our newspaper advertising offers. Others are more creative and are printing their own property brochures and flyers from the website, posting them on places like community notice boards. Some are taking advantage of free editorial coverage from editors of property magazines and supplements who may be looking for a unique property or a unique story.” While these promotional extras aren’t always necessary, they may give your property the edge that results in an allimportant offer.

 

Promoting Your Property

In the current property climate, advertising your property in newspapers to ensure your property reaches the widest possible audience is becoming increasingly popular. This can prove costly if doing it alone, especially if advertising in the national press. However, Sellityourself.ie has negotiated special offers with all national and local newspapers throughout Ireland, and they will prepare and submit your ad. You can advertise in the main national Sunday property supplements for as little as €100 – a good investment if it helps move your home.

According to Anne-Marie Doyle, founder of Sellityourself.ie, the ‘for sale’ signboard can account for between 20 and 30 per cent of property enquiries. “Erecting a For Sale signboard is essential. The chances are that the person purchasing your property will be from your locality so the signboard is free advertising – it gets word out that your property is available,” says Doyle. “A pointer board is also essential for attracting interest if your property is not located on a main traffic route. Both are provided free of charge to sellers who register with our website.”

Try and find comparable properties that are almost identical to yours in your area. How do they compare to your property? Do you have any extra features? Valuing your property by comparing it to a property that’s very similar to yours is relatively easy. On the other hand, if you are selling a more individual property, you will need to take other things into consideration –the adjustment factors.

Adjustment factors

Generally, the full cost of improvements and extensions will not be recovered. The proportion of the original cost that is recovered will depend upon the improvements you have made.

If you have extended your property in keeping with the original style, for example, or if you have redecorated your property in a neutral style that will appeal to most buyers then you may recover the full cost of these improvements, or something close to it.

If you have added a fi tted kitchen or converted your attic then you can expect to recover 50 per cent of the renovation costs. However, for improvements such as landscaping or adding double glazing you can expect to recover substantially less than the actual cost of improving. You will also need to take into account the location of your property. A house on a busy road will usually be worth less than an identical house in a quiet street nearby. Proximity to schools, shops and main transport routes may allow for a higher asking price.

Setting the price

The market comparison should prove a good indicator of what level to price your property. Bear in mind that, if you’re going down the SIY (sell it yourself) route, you can afford to price your property a little lower than similar properties in your area and still net more than people who have chosen to use an estate agent.

“Closing the sale is actually the easiest part of the whole SIY process as your solicitor handles all legal aspects of the property sale, regardless of whether you sell your property SIY or with an estate agent.”

Pricing your property slightly lower than similar properties will ensure that your property attracts more attention and therefore may sell quicker. Having several interested buyers may even encourage competing offers and result in a higher selling price.

“Many property owners make the mistake of starting off with a high asking price in order to test the market, believing that they can then reduce the price if little interest is shown,” according to Anne-Marie Doyle, director of Sellityourself.ie. “However many buyers can lose interest in such a property, believing that it was overpriced and may still be.”

Your Questions

Q My house has been on the market for over a year. The asking price was originally €450,000. My estate agent has dropped the price by €40,000 over the last two months. It is still not selling. I can’t afford the price to be lowered again – so what can I do?!

A Unfortunately, the value of a property is not related to how much the asking price was one year ago, or how much an outstanding mortgage you have on the property. The value of the property is what buyers are willing to pay for the property in current market conditions. Sadly, all too many property owners are facing a similar scenario.

You should carry out a comparative analysis of properties in the area that have recently sold and are currently for sale, taking any ‘adjustment factors’ into account. This will give you a good indication of the realistic price that you should ask for your property.

You should then consider selling your house privately, enlisting the services of websites such as Sellityourself.ie. Selling your house SIY-style gives you a competitive advantage – you can use the savings on estate agents fees to set a lower asking price for your property. Even by setting a lower asking price, you may still net more equity than selling via an estate agent. The cost savings of SIY sales can somewhat offset the current nationwide fall in property prices.

Q I am about to put my property on the market. I have asked some estate agents to appraise the property. Each of them have provided different valuations. Should I go with the highest one?

A The highest valuation is not necessarily the most realistic or accurate. If your house is overpriced, it will sit on the market for a long time before you eventually have to lower the price. Overpriced houses attract little interest. On the other hand, under priced houses may sell quickly but may leave you out of pocket.

Some people believe that a confl ict of interest arises when an estate agent who is selling your property is also the person who values your property. Estate agents, after all, can have an interest in undervaluing or overvaluing property in order to earn a fast commission or a high commission. You must bear in mind that the valuation given by an estate agent is not an ‘offi cial’ valuation of your property, but an opinion about its value.

If you are selling your property with an estate agent, ask each agent to justify the valuation they have provided. The answers they give may help you decide which estate agent to go with.Sellityourself.ie, which assists property owners in selling without an estate agent, advises that you carry out a price comparison of properties for sale or recently sold in your area. Depending on your property, you may have to apply a number of adjustment factors. Even if you are selling with an agent, it is still advisable to carry out this comparison yourself in order to appraise which agent has provided the most realistic valuation.

If you want to have peace of mind that the value of your house has been realistically set, you can employ the services of a professional independent valuer. Sellityourself.ie provides details of independent valuers throughout Ireland.

Q A house two doors down is for sale. This house is practically identical to mine. Should I match the asking price in order to ensure my house sells?

A Whether selling your home SIY style or through an estate agent, it is vital to price your property correctly from the start. Set the asking price too high and you risk having your property ‘go stale’ as it sits on the market with little or no interest in it. Set the price too low, and you may lose out financially.

Sellityourself.ie advises that, all things being equal, you should pitch the selling price of your property slightly lower than those for sale in the same neighbourhood. This will ensure that you attract a large pool of buyers which can encourage competing offers and help to sell your property quickly. SIY property sellers can use the huge cost savings of not paying estate agents fees to set their price lower than the competition, and still net more at the end of the property sale.

It is a good idea to carry out a quick comparison to ensure both properties are on a par. If your property has additional features that set it apart from the other property for sale (an attractive extension or extensive decking, for example) then you should price your property at the same level as the other property. Buyers are savvy and will know that your property represents better value. However, if you price your property higher than your neighbours, you risk your property sitting on the market without attracting any buyers. By pricing at the same level or lower, you will attract a larger pool of buyers who may bid up the price.

Q I am selling my property myself – can I still ask estate agents to value my property?

A Estate Agents will give a free ‘market opinion’ or ‘appraisal’ of the value of your property on the understanding that you may choose them to sell your property. It would be unethical to ask an estate agent to take the time to value your property if you have no intention of using their services.

Many property owners who choose to sell their property direct will have fi rst approached estate agents with the genuine intention of selling via an agent. They may then have changed their mind for any number of reasons. In these instances the property owner can continue to value their property at the price guideline given by the agent.

It is important to remember that estate agents will not give an offi cial valuation, but a price guideline. There is mixed opinion about the accuracy of the price guideline given by estate agents. Sellityourself.ie would advise carrying out a market comparison yourself, or employing a professional independent valuer, in order to have complete confidence in the price at which you are selling your property.

How much can you save?

Your
House Value

Estate Agent
Fee 1.5%

Vat
@ 23%

Total Fee with
Sellityourself.ie

TOTAL
SAVINGS

€250,000 €3,750 €788 €150 €4,538
€300,000 €4,500 €945 €150 €5,445
€350,000 €5,250 €1,103 €150 €6,353
€400,000 €6,000 €1,260 €150 €7,260
€450,000 €6,750 €1,418 €150 €8,168
€500,000 €7,500 €1,575 €150 €9,075
€550,000 €8,250 €1,733 €150 €9,983
€600,000 €9,000 €1,890 €150 €10,890
€700,000 €10,500 €2,205 €150 €12,705
€800,000 €12,000 €2,520 €150 €14,520
€900,000 €13,500 €2,835 €150 €16,335
€1,000,000 €15,000 €3,150 €150 €18,150
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