How to sell it fast
As the year-end draws closer, transfers and relocations are becoming more common-place, says Carol Reynolds, Pam Golding Properties area principal in Durban North and La Lucia. Keeping this in mind, she says, it is important to consider the factors that drive the best possible price in today’s market.

"Essentially, sellers should always try and present their homes to appeal to the widest possible market. Small improvements like a fresh coat of paint and dressing a home with a neutral palette immediately make a property more saleable.

"Curb appeal is also important, so keep your verge in good condition and ensure that the entrance to your home is impressive. A few pot plants add tremendous value.

"Another critical factor is natural light – a bright home will attract far more buyer interest than a dark home so, where possible, lighten up and ensure that curtains are open when buyers view your property.

"It is also useful to consider the best possible marketing strategy to enable you to obtain the best service and, ultimately, the highest price for your home. This is where it is imperative to enlist the services of a real estate professional. Consider factors like global reach and national exposure. Some 40 percent of sales concluded at Pam Golding Properties emanate from our internal referral network which spans across the shores. In addition, I would advise a sole mandate with a reputable company as this ensures service delivery, accountability and commitment from the agents. It is never a good idea to place a home on the open market as the property becomes a low priority for the agents whose focus is always on their sole mandates."

Reynolds says sellers should also be mindful of the pitfalls of over-exposure. If a property is advertised by a number of different companies it becomes stale very quickly and loses its exclusivity.

"The credibility of the property is also called into question. Different companies have different brand messages; it is far better to associate your home with one brand that conveys the message that you’d like to portray to the market-place.

"In addition, it is important to bear in mind that the local buyer pool moves around from company to company so, contrary to popular belief, placing a property onto the open market does not ensure a wider catchment of buyers.

"The buyer differential enters the equation when the calibre and footprint of the agency is taken into account. The extra buyers will arise via the company’s own internal network and database - and this is the key to finding the right buyer for your home.

"If you are relocating, it is advisable to work with a company with a strong national footprint as this ensures excellent service at both ends; i.e. in regard to selling your home and buying your new home in a different area. I would also recommend selling before buying as this translates as greater bargaining power; a cash and bond sale always carries more weight than a 'subject-to-sale'."

Finally, she says a reputable company will also have a successful rental division, and renting for a period before making a purchase decision might alleviate some of the stress of relocating. Good rental agents will also be able to offer sound advice on schools and other amenities in the area as well as provide a directory of useful contact numbers to assist you with your move.

"Property is generally one of the largest assets in an investment portfolio, so ensure that you make the right decisions from the outset. Sound professional advice can make the difference between a stressful move and a positive experience," concludes Reynolds.

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