Take it or leave it

With the average price of a house edging up to the R1-million mark, sellers should not be tempted to negotiate on market-related offers that appear sound.

That’s the advice from Mike Bester, CEO of Realty 1 International Property Group, who says prevailing conditions in the South African property sector are playing straight into buyers’ hands.

According to Absa figures, the price of an average house had jumped from R574 300 in 2004 to R962 000 in January this year. “There is no doubt that it is a buyers’ market right now,” says Bester. “Anyone doubting this should take a look at current stock levels and how long properties are taking to sell compared with two years ago.

“Competitively priced properties in the middle and upper middle sectors are taking between two and four months on average to sell today,” he notes further. “This is double the amount of time the same stock would have spent on the market during the country’s real estate boom of a couple of years ago. Then sellers could counter-sign with confidence. Now it’s very often a take-it or leave-it situation, with the buyer dictating price and other terms.”

While agreeing that it is common practice for sellers throughout the world to countersign initial offers to purchase, Bester believes that in a market characterized by high stock levels, decreased affordability and a shortage of qualified buyers, sellers need to be careful to keep negotiation to a minimum.

“Not only will counter-signing by the seller render the original offer null and void,” he warns, “but it could also chase the buyer away, straight into the hands of another, perhaps more accommodating seller.”

His advice is not all-encompassing though. “If the price offered or terms suggested by the prospective buyer are unreasonable, enter into negotiations but with the focus on achieving a win-win situation for all parties in the shortest possible time.”

Key to a successful outcome in a tough selling market is flexibility. “Should a seller be non-negotiable on one particular issue, flexibility regarding other aspects such as contingency time frames, repairs, repainting or appliances could sweeten the deal for the buyer.”

Article from: www.iafrica.com