How to successfully sell real estate
Many people think that selling real estate is an easy thing for everyone to do, and using an agency is not needed at all. And, to be honest, they wouldn't be wrong. Selling real estate is something that anyone with at least a basic education can do. But selling a property successfully is a completely different story. And behind the word itself, success in my opinion is when at the end of the process the seller has a fair amount in the account for the property. Yet you could end up in the category of sellers who have been trying to shift their property for half a year and nothing is happening, or when the third potential buyer in a row has pulled out because "he didn't understand the process". You could even end up with no real estate or money in the end, or significantly less than you should have. It's unfortunately really easy to slip into such a category and it can happen to anyone!
Don't be fooled into thinking that I'm defending real estate agencies here. If a property seller chooses the wrong broker, things can turn out similarly badly, if not worse. A lot of owners actually sell the property themselves successfully and a lot of brokers can't manage it. So what is the basic process to sell a property correctly and successfully, whether you are an owner or a broker? That is what this article is about.
Each and every sale of real estate involves a number of consecutive steps, which we will describe below. It is all about:
- Putting your property up for offer
- Transfer of ownership
The first thing that needs to be resolved. Every property owner goes through it, though some not as carefully as they should. At first glance, it seems clear and easy: I either want to sell or I don't want to sell. But I know from practice that a mistake in this part, even if subconscious, can very easily ruin the whole process and it happens more often than it would seem at first glance! If the decision is not final and irreversible, it will complicate your sale throughout. I really mean it. A lot of homeowners sell real estate not because they really want to, but because it's a way to get something better. For example, that they are selling an apartment in a block of flats and a dream house outside the city is already waiting for them. So the decision to sell the apartment is quite simple and this enthusiasm can be seen during the sales process. Unless, that is, such a person hears from a friend at the time of negotiations with potential buyers that they are completely "stupid" and that if instead they rent out the apartment and pay a mortgage on the house, they would be much better off. Such an owner then sits down on the internet, starts calculating, and finds out that a friend may have been right. The meeting with the potential buyer is canceled and they are instead dead set on their friend's plan. And only then will he find out that he is unworkable for him, because, for example, he will not have a sufficient ratio of income to debt and the bank will not provide him with such an increased mortgage. So even though the decision seemed simple and clear, in the end our hypothetical owner lost at least a month of time by halting the sale and starting again. And similarly what about a person who does not want to sell, but thinks they have to?
Indeed, this phase may be underestimated as easy, but it is one of the most important! Discuss all the options and assess if selling is really the right way to go. A really good broker should be interested in this question from the start and not think about why you are selling only when any potential party asks the question during a viewing (but more on that in the article, "How to recognise a good quality broker"). You, as the owner, should keep in mind that selling may not be the only way forward. Knowing everything and only then deciding 100% that selling is the right decision for you is a basic prerequisite for a successful sale!
This second part is perhaps the most neglected, although it is the most fundamental. Yes, of course, it can be argued that everyone must have a strategy. At the very least where to advertise and so forth. However, 99% of the time there isn't a strategy, but only a kind of awareness of what will need to be done. How would the Allies have fared in 1944 their strategy had been, "We'll give the soldiers some weapons and send them there. Either it works, or we come up with something different…"? Well, maybe it would have worked and, of course, lives are not usually at stake when selling real estate, but most people, whether owners or brokers, have just such a strategy: Let's take a picture, put it on the net and see if it works. It should be noted that in recent years with such a booming market this has actually been sufficient. But that time is definitely over and you need to do much more than this to sell successfully today!
Since this, in my view, is the most important part, it is also the most complex! There isn't really enough space in this article to cover it all. But the basic point is that you definitely need to determine the correct price for it and my real estate valuation tool can help you with that. But for a successful sale, this or any other online tool is certainly not sufficient. Data cannot only be drawn from the internet, but should be taken from the real situation on the ground. Computers are not so omnipotent! Furthermore, it is necessary to know your potential customer - the target group and then select appropriate communication tools for them. (As I said, throwing an ad on Sreality has for a long while not been enough). It is necessary to prepare a tailored, personal communication for each potential group of buyers. What about discounts or even selling at auction? In some cases, customers aged 50+ and people around 30 looking for their first home will respond differently to the same discount! In others, people with cash and people with a 90% mortgage will respond differently! And last but not least, it is necessary to have a pre-arranged sales service (lawyer, contracts, etc.). This is also not something that should be done ad hoc.
As you can see, there are a huge number of variables and no two properties are designed for exactly the same target group. Correctly setting the strategy for a successful sale at the highest possible price and in the shortest possible time is absolutely essential!
Putting your property up for offer
Putting your property on the market is something that results from a well-developed strategy. At this stage, it's just a matter of doing it right. As previously mentioned, how you put your property up for offer must be correctly done, i.e. the price and description should correspond to the market and the facts. The focus, that is, how it is targeted, should naturally correspond to the target group of interested parties. The right strategy is one that is adjusted according to results! In accordance with how many internet hits you get for your advert and how many viewings that arise from it, your strategy sometimes has to be adjusted over time! It is really not desirable for the property on offer to be visible for too long. For example, if you offer one property in the same place for more than a month, its attractiveness depreciates considerably! Nobody wants old goods! And the same is true for real estate. Yet such is the strategy a lot of owners have recently chosen: "We'll put it on the web, and if no one can be found in a month or two, then within half a year someone who will pay us an exorbitant price will definitely be found!"
But putting your property up for offer doesn't only mean advertising. It's also the presentation of the property itself which, again, is a point often overlooked. As with many things, with property first impressions count and what a potential buyer sees on an initial viewing will usually be crucial! A clean and tidy property, enhanced by a positive agent to guide interested parties round it, has a significantly better chance of being sold than if it was last cleaned year, the dogs took over most of the rooms, and the person doing the viewing is moody and acts like the potential buyers are an irritation. It may not seem like it to some at first glance, but these differences can mean hundreds of thousands of crowns to the selling price!
You have successfully put your property up for offer, done a viewing and received assurances from the potential buyer that they interested. But.....
This is where your talent as a trader is fully utilised. However, not everyonee can deal with these potential situations by turning them to their final advantage. Some people take them into account during the preparation of the strategy and are well prepared for them. And some have absolutely no idea what they should do, and under the onslaught of emotions caused by soon needing the money from the sale, they will be pushed into practically anything. Or, conversely, the buyers agree to everything without taking any negotiating position, though of course they can progress from a small “but” about something trivial to the big "but…..we have changed our minds. We are pulling out of the sale.“ Negotiations with interested parties are a sensitive part of the business. Yes, you usually deal with people who can't do it either, so in the end you somehow agree that the losses will be more or less on both sides, but that's not necessarily a good result. However, if you want to have a little more peace of mind and security, then here is the moment when I suggest you would appreciate a quality broker the most. This is exactly the phase when, for example, the buyers call three times a day to sort out fiddly problems in the week before the contract is signed, which can make your head spin rather. This is the most intense and most mentally demanding part of the whole business. It involves a huge range of emotions and without training it is very difficult to go through it staying completely cool.
Although in my view the simplest and most beautiful part of the whole business, for most owners and buyers this is a nightmare. Compared to the previous phase, it's nowhere near as intense. Everything was agreed during the negotiations, the lawyer provided the transfer agreements and they are all signed. So now comes the month when.... The buyers who sent the money don't have it anymore, they don't control it, but you haven't received it yet and you don't have it under control, and all parties live by the promise that it will all be completed within a month. If you have been through hundreds of such situations, including problematic ones when mistakes in contracts had to be solved at once to impossible deadlines and so on and then you have this relatively simple case where you are just waiting, it is the stage when you put your feet up and just look forward to the reward. But if you are doing it for the first time in your life, you will have almost 30 nights trying to fall asleep with the idea of whether the money will really come and whether you will end up without a house or without money. And who in the process could be the one who might deprive you of it? Should you call the police right away or when it actually happens? What will you do if it really does happen? … I know from my own experience that phone calls from such fretting owners, even with threats of violence, are nothing that unexpected and can certainly happen. Needless to say, fear and stress are a combination which makes us do stupid things! A bit of psychological training to calm down and explain exactly what stage we are in now and what will happen in three days at the cadastre and when the money will come to the account, is necessary for some people. And I'm not mad at those people at all. I fully understand the pressure and anxious clouds of thought they are living under and that providing such reassurance is simply part of this job! And it is good for owners to have a number they can turn to for reassurance and a bit of optimism during the wait.
Once the cadastre overwrites the property and you actually receive your money in your account, it's still not over. There are a few more things to think about! First of all, the property must be properly handed over, with the handover protocol correctly filled in and signed. You also need to rewrite the energy into the name of the new owner. Luckily most companies already have their own forms for this. It will also be necessary to report your new permanent residence, rewrite the bins, etc. But again, this isn't the subject of this article. You can find it here.
And only now, after all the steps outlined above, can you truly say that you have managed to sell the property successfully. This is a complicated matter, but some people think that even four pages of text are two many, that you only need to skim the surface. Almost no one thinks you need a whole book for it. And yet this is the case. Either sellers can rely on a flukey plan such as, "I'll send them there and see." Or trust in a solid strategy building to a successful end which starts from asking at the very beginning: "Why do you want to sell the property?"