The right time to sell

Having made the decision to sell, it’s not unusual for some home owners to presume that the best time to sell is during an economic upturn.

But, says Terry Brookes, chairman of the National Referral Network (NRN), no matter how carefully one plans around the state of the country’s economy, interest rate cuts or school holidays, there is no saying when the right buyer will happen along.

While not decrying the fact that a strong economy invariably stimulates real estate activity, Brookes says experience has shown that buyers tend to buy when they, and not the market, are ready. “Supply and demand above anything else are what drive the property market. No matter what the state of the economy, these factors along with right pricing and general marketability, will tell you if the time is right to sell.”

It’s Brookes’ advice therefore for people to base their decision on when to sell on their own personal circumstances and needs. “You’re probably ready to sell if your family needs more room, or conversely if you need less as an empty nester. Or you might be changing jobs and forced to move to another neighbourhood. Perhaps you’re just looking for a change. As long as the reasons are right for you, and ideally if you have built up good equity in your property, the time to sell is probably now.”

Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, the next decision to make is what price to sell it at. Brookes believes that the only way to do this properly is to compare your own home with other similar properties, both currently for sale and that have recently sold. “Look at the accommodation offered, size, style, condition and location as well as their length of time on the market so that you can work out a reasonable and attainable asking price.”

It’s in the interests of all prospective sellers to liaise with a professional and ethical estate agent at this point in time, he says further, since they will be able to advise not only on pricing but also how long properties are taking to sell in the current market and general buying trends.

“While there hundreds of different reasons for selling, there is a common thread among sellers, namely that they invariably want to realize the highest possible selling price in the shortest possible time and with the least amount of trouble. By listing your home with a reputable agent, you’ll avoid the pitfall of over-pricing, which is so rife now that it is negatively impacting on market activity in many areas of the country.”