You are excited. You have done all the calculations and understand your numbers. You are ready to move on the next stage of your property ownership. It is time to make your exit – you are ready to sell your existing property.
You engage an agent to help you market your property. The goal: to find some genuine buyers who are willing to take the property off your hands – at the price you want – so you can move forward.
Your property gets listed. Enquiries come in but it seems no offers could be closed… so far. After about 30 days, it seems the marketing efforts have fizzled out.
As an agent, I know this situation very intimately. It happens and I sense the frustration from the sellers.
To counter this, I have my own internal checklist that ensures all my clients’ properties can be sold quickly and almost effortlessly – in a way that satisfies both seller and buyer.
Here are the 10 most important items in my checklist:
1) Did you (the current owner) pack & clean up your property?
The key thing in ensuring buyers become attracted to give you a genuine offer is by making sure your home looks presentable. The first impression really counts! Recall back when you had your first housewarming party – when you first moved in?
Remember how great your place looked then? You will need to bring that feeling back. Yes… you are living there currently. But the potential buyers doesn’t need to SEE that.
2) Is your property the most attractive one in your cluster or immediate vicinity?
There are certain locations in Singapore eg. Punggol and Sengkang areas – where there ARE a lot of similar HDB units being put up for sale.
To be honest – any potential buyer has dozens of units to pick and choose from. If you put yourself in the shoes of the buyer, you have to seriously answer the question: WHY do they have to buy your unit when there exists MANY similar units?
3) Are you able to FIND your property listing (ad) in the various property portals?
With the Internet, the most common tactic employed is to place your listing in the various online property portals – PropertyGuru, SRX, STProperty, 99.co and even Carousell!
While this tactic is commonly applied – not all listings are properly optimized.
(where are you – my listing?)
The presence (or absence) of certain words and phrases can affect how the listing appears. This could prevent the listing from being seen to certain potential buyers – despite earnest marketing efforts.
4) Did you give yourself enough TIME to pack & clean the house – to ensure the best impression possible?
To get the best price possible – your property needs to give to potential buyers – the BEST IMPRESSION POSSIBLE.
For me, I will usually give the seller up to 1 month to prepare the house to look as presentable as possible.
I will be present to provide guidance to ensure your place looks picture perfect during the viewings.
With 1 month proper preparation, selling your property in just 1 week is definitely possible and doable.
5) Did you IDENTIFY who will be the potential target market of your marketing efforts?
In the market, there exists many sub-segments of buyers who are looking out for a property to purchase. There are:
- young couples
- retiree couples
- downgrading couples
- HDB upgraders
- small families
- big families and many others.
By identifying who the target market is – it allows for more careful and precise marketing.
This is especially important when writing the description and phrases in the property listings – we need to know what appeals to our target market.
For me, this also ensures I speak a certain language that can connect to such buyers.
6) Did you touch up the flaws in your house?
There might be some hairline cracks in your walls or flooring. It is nothing serious usually – just a cosmetic flaw. As the seller, your mindset could even be – the next owner can take care of all these small flaws.
But the truth is – you SHOULD care. Spending that $1k – $2k giving your walls a fresh coat of paint could potentially result in an offer that yields an additional $10k.
However you must make the effort and start caring on the perception that your house gives to any potential buyers.
7) Did you manage to zoom in to ALL the good points of your house?
There is no perfect unit. Flaws will always exist and buyers will always try to find certain faults.
But the key to a successful transaction is by making sure the good outweighs the bad.
When we identify the target market, we can then highlight all the good points that will appeal to that particular segment. For example, if the target market is couples with young kids – highlight the presence of nearby childcare centres or infant care that is available.
If we find out the family moving in has an elderly member, highlight the wheelchair/elderly friendly facilities present in the house or within the block.
Compile as many good points as possible. This will also help to further refine our target market of buyers.
8) Do you understand the buyers’ buying cycle?
As a property agent, I deeply understand the thoughts that goes on in the buyers’ heads. But such knowledge only comes from years of experience in dealing with various types of buyers.
There are at least 3 stages in the evolution of the typical buyer:
- Research stage: Buyers at such a stage typically are unsure of what they want. They might go for a lot of viewings at first to get a “feel” of the market.
- 1st Buying stage: At this stage, genuine buyers start to make offers. However the offers they make might be too low and unrealistic. Most of the offers they make will likely to be rejected.
- 2nd Buying stage: The genuine buyers start to learn their mistakes. When they miss out the chance to buy their choice unit, they will begin to realize the error of their ways. Instead of giving low offers, they start to provide more genuine and realistic offers to show how keen they are. This is especially so when they become aware they have a beautiful choice unit in front of them.
The understanding of the various stages of the buyers’ cycles will allow genuine offers to come in – especially in the presence of buyers who are still in the research phase.
9) Were you present when buyers came to view your house?
One of the most important things that I do is to schedule viewing sessions in advance. I will let the seller know that we have a group of buyers are coming to view the unit… and I will need all of the family members to vacate the premises for that period of time.
This is because I have to create a perception that the house is devoid of activity so the buyers can fully concentrate on the physical features of the unit. More importantly, the quietness will allow the potential buyers to imagine themselves living in that unit.
I recall a funny incident when the smell of a McSpicy burger – the seller had just finished lunch at home – lingered when the buyers came. I remembered the potential buyers actually sniffing the air in the house – I was sure they detected the McSpicy!
10) Did you really acknowledge the big picture on why are you selling your property?
Sometimes in the sales process – in the face of repeated past failed viewings for the past 3-4 months – a seller can get disillusioned.
The most dangerous thing that can happen – getting used to the idea that your property cannot be sold. It results in being less careful in the presentation of the unit – you slowly become more uncaring on potential eyesores in the house.
Eventually this leads to a gradual loss of motivation – and you might even forget why you are selling your property. The reasons why you are selling might be:
- to extract your paper gains
- to reduce your paper losses
- a desire to move to a bigger place
- a location that is more convenient for your family
- a change in lifestyle
- and many other reasons
Whatever your reason might be – never lose sight of it. Remember your bigger goals and the reasons behind it.
Don’t give up! 🙂
Property agents sometimes get so busy that certain things get missed out. We are all human and we make mistakes.
That is why I created this internal checklist – not just for my own reference but for any potential seller to mentally go through… so they understand what goes through the minds of potential buyers.
I sincerely hope this checklist is beneficial to all potential sellers (and even other property agents!)
You might already have an agent currently marketing your property. It is okay if you wish to seek a second opinion if you are currently unsatisfied.
I have encountered agents who are very worried to offend owners.
I have also encountered agents who are very scared that potential buyers will run away.
But to be truly efficient and add value to both my sellers and sellers – I have to be firm.
- I set clear-cut dates & times for viewings to ensure we get genuine buyers
- I remind the sellers of their bigger picture
- I genuinely try to understand the motivations of both my sellers and potential buyers
- I will do my absolute best to ensure that my sellers are happy and buyers do not feel shortchanged
In short, it is not the quantity of viewings that matter – but the quality of the viewings.
If you have intentions to sell and would like me to do an assessment on your existing property, I invite you to contact me for a consultation session.
My goal is to help you sell your property at a reasonable value in a reasonably quick timeframe.