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WORDS: SUPPLIED IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK

While sellers cannot control the economic climate, they can control how to react to the property market – and a level head still brings rewards.

Although the recession in South Africa has tilted the market in favour of buyers, agents say that serious sellers can take advantage of these good buying conditions. “Pricing ‘correctly’ for your local market at the outset is always the key to selling quickly at only a small discount to your asking price,” says Berry Everitt, CEO, Chas Everitt International Property Group.

“Determine an asking price that closely matches specific local market realities.” Make sure your property is in the best possible condition and consider all serious offers.

Seeff Properties CEO Stuart Manning concedes that there are challenges for sellers, though. Demand and prices are flat while stock levels are rising. So, while banks are granting more home loans and there’s a desire to buy, many buyers are taking a “wait and watch” approach. He says there’s no need to wait – the market is in a much better position than after the 2007/2008 crisis.

Everitt advises buyers and investors to ignore negative sentiment and purchase more property as soon as they can. “Buying is exactly what investors should be doing now,” he says, “not sitting on the fence waiting to see what everyone else is going to do.”

Agents also report that the market is not as inactive as many believe.

Seeff Property Group’s chairman Samuel Seeff says there’s still a lot of life in the industry. “There are opportunities aplenty in property,” he says. “Deeds Office data shows that thousands of sales transactions are concluded every month.”

MUST-DOS FOR SERIOUS SELLERS

  • Choose a skilled local agent: a strong local area agent who has been through the ups and downs is your best guide to helping you set a realistic price.
  • Price your property in the right range: the mid-market range is always active. Ensure it’s in the range that’s attracting buyers and sales. There’s no point listing at the highest price in the street. If you have high price expectations, you are helping other properties sell. You may attract attention but will not get a serious offer.
  • Differentiate from your competitors: ensure your property is in tip-top selling shape. With more to choose from, buyers will be highly selective and will choose the property in the best condition at the best price.
  • Consider all offers: while cash always trumps a subject-to offer and provides a more secure sale, now is not the right time to test the market. If you turn down an offer it may be the only one you receive for a while.