Buy, sell in style with these tips

Buying a home is probably the single biggest investment that a person will make in their private capacity.

Many people entering the property market for the first time are often daunted by the options and the processes that one is faced with.

Lew Geffen, chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty, has the following tips for buying or selling residential real estate:

- The timing in and out of the market is key due to the fact that the market is cyclical in nature. If you sell at the top of a rising market, you will by necessity need to re-enter the market at the same time. Good capital gains can be realised when buying at the bottom and then on selling in the next cycle as the market rises. Where possible, you should time your re-entry into the market by selling when the market is high and then renting while waiting for market cycle to turn.

- The best homes are withdrawn in a buyer's market and therefore buyers are not faced with a wide choice of the best properties in a down market, scarcity is still a feature, and the time taken to transact may be extended two- or even three-fold – as a buyer you need to be patient as the best home may well take time to appear on market.

- Location drives value. Buying a rundown property in the best location means that you will benefit from the surrounding area. It is a known fact that suburbs can demand a premium. The market finds its price relative to surrounding suburbs and if one suburb is the flavour of the moment, the adjacent neighbourhood will re-price itself so that the arbitrage is removed.

- The market is ruled by what we term "imperfect communication". Buyers and sellers only see asking prices which are extensively marketed, but seldom see where the real market is transacting. Your professional real estate agent is pivotal to help you gain access to this information.

- Brands, both corporate and personal, drive the real estate industry and even though there are no present barriers to entry into the marketplace, there are many to succeeding in buying and selling. Fundamentally it boils down to the professionalism of the estate agent you mandate as they will have a significant impact on values attained for your property.

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