News from - Nationlink Property Group
When markets change, strategies have to change too - including those of home sellers.

"And our property market has definitely changed," says Dr Piet Botha, chairman of the Nationlink estate agency group. "After several years in which demand kept running ahead of supply, and sellers quite often got more than their asking price as buyers competed for their properties, things have swung around in favour of buyers.

"The short-term speculators have left the scene and many developers are now completing projects begun at the height of the boom, so there is more stock available. This means that buyers can afford to be much tougher in price negotiations, and that sellers need to change their approach.

"Instead of selling the property, they need to think - with their agents - about how to sell the 'deal'. For example, if you'd like to sell for R900 000 but your agent says you should drop the price by R30 000, why not work out how many bond repayments R30 000 would cover for a buyer and offer that as an incentive for a full-price offer instead?"

For a buyer taking a 100 percent bond for R900 000, Botha explains, R30 000 would equate to about three bond instalments. So instead of reading "price reduced", the for-sale advert could say "buy now and we'll pay your bond for three months".

This is bound to attract plenty of potential buyers, which means that the seller will have put the R30 000 to good marketing use, instead of just throwing it away by dropping the price.

Indeed, says Botha, there is never any point in waiting for buyers to show up and then offering them incentives. "These should always be part of a deliberate strategy to attract more buyers than competing properties, and to pre-empt objections to any negative features of the property.

"For example, you could offer to include your appliances with the home - a move that is bound to appeal to buyers who are putting most of their available cash into a deposit and the transfer costs. Or if your carpet is old or outdated, you could offer a carpet allowance upfront.

"Similarly, if you're selling a holiday home, you could consider putting a value on the furniture and including it in the deal. And in the case of a beach cottage, why not throw in the beach-buggy, or the boat?"

Botha says that while young sellers who have never experienced a market where buyers called the shots may balk at the need for incentives and concessions at all, it's important to remember that every month your home doesn't sell is money out of your pocket.

"And when used correctly, incentives really can make the difference between closing the deal and going back to the buyer pool."

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