Getting Ready for Sale

Posted on 03 MAR

Q: My wife and I have several investment properties and we are thinking of selling one. It has been rented for many years and needs a makeover before we sell. Any advice? Thanks Jerry C.

A: Renovating as an investor demands your personal wants and needs are put aside, with a focus on the bigger picture instead. Where your own home may allow you to indulge your every design whim, renovating an investment property demands a considered approach that appeals to the broadest possible target market.

Make sure you meet the market, and your competition, in regard to expectations for the property. If it’s situated in a blue-chip area, it pays to renovate with a more high-end spec as the market demands and expects it. Likewise, if your project is in a cheaper or more affordable locale, be sure not to over-capitalise.

Mass appeal

You can never go wrong with white, and timeless finishes can easily be made appealing to the individual market with clever styling. Cupboard fronts, bench tops and floors are very expensive to replace – keep them neutral to appeal to the largest subset of buyers. You want people to imagine themselves in the home and a neutral palette allows them to project their own ideas onto the space.

Key areas

When it comes to deciding which rooms to renovate, bathrooms and kitchens are key, as are outdoor living spaces if applicable to the property. And with these spaces, it is not all about expensive finishes - functionality is just as important. With the popularity of home renovation shows, buyers are a very savvy bunch now and many will immediately notice if a bathroom layout is dysfunctional or inefficient.

With our enviable climate, the outdoors is such an integral part of the modern Kiwi lifestyle. If there is a way to blend your outdoor space seamlessly with the inside, do it. Think large areas of glazing that take in the outdoors, or bi-fold doors that open onto a deck.

Also, don’t forget your property’s façade. Most buyers usually make up their mind about a property upon arrival. As such, addressing its street appeal is very important in reeling potential buyers in.

It sounds obvious but you must always look at ways of adding the most value when renovating as an investor. If you add value to the property, you are more than likely increasing its sale price too.

Q: I am thinking of selling my 1970’s-built home in Glen Innes. There are a number of new houses being built close by and I’m wondering whether I should wait for them to be finished or just get on with it now? Pauline J

A: Interesting question. The market is good at the moment, and I think it will stay that way in the medium term, albeit with maybe a few little ups and downs. The great thing about having new-builds in your neighbourhood is that it will increase the median value of homes around you, including yours, even while they are in the process of being built. So it’s probably not a bad time to be selling right now. Of course once they go on the market it is a great time for you to be selling – new homes will attract more buyers to the area, and of course to your property if you are on the market at the same time. A smart real estate agent will time your open homes so that you get the overflow from the other open homes – most open home visitors will look at another open home across the road if it’s open at the same time. In general terms more people through the open homes equals more bidders at auction equals a higher price! Good Luck!

Q: We are looking at selling our home of 12 years on the North Shore, and are talking to a couple of estate agents re how to sell. We are originally from the United Kingdom and have only bought the one home here and have no experience of selling here. Both agents have said we should hold open homes, but we are really not sure.  Catherine G.

A:  There are pros and cons to open homes Catherine, but in our opinion the pros win, and not just for sellers, but for buyers too. Firstly, open homes, like auctions, are an accepted, and often expected, way of marketing your home. Most buyers these days like to schedule their weekend afternoons going through a list of prospective homes, and what better way than to go from open home to open home? If they don’t like it they can turn around and walk out without feeling under obligation to the agent. If they do like it they can arrange to view again at whatever time suits you. And of course potential buyers can ask to view outside of open homes if they can’t make the time on the weekend.

The real benefit to you as a seller is that you have scheduled viewings on a Saturday and a Sunday, rather than ad hoc viewings every day of the week. You can go out shopping or for a coffee and know that 30 or 45 minutes later your home will be free for the rest of the day. Of course there will always be those buyers who want to come back on their own, or with other family members, and serious buyers may well want to organise a building inspection outside of the open home.

Open homes also gives you and the agent to show that your home is popular: A busy open home sends a message to all the buyers that the property is popular, which in turn makes it more desirable to viewers.

As long as you select a good agent, who has produced a good marketing plan, you will get plenty of people through your open homes, which in turn will ensure you get the most number of people at the auction and the best possible price.

Good luck with your sale!

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