How to sell your property in a sluggish market

How to sell your property in a sluggish market

It's taking longer to sell properties in these slower market conditions and buyers are being particularly picky so it¿s important for sellers to make their homes as appealing as possible.

Jenny Rushin, Provincial Sales Manager for ooba (formerly MortgageSA), says that sellers need to do the running now.

"It's a good idea to spend a bit of money to make sure homes are 'doctored' to make them as presentable as possible. It needn't cost a lot and even basic things can make a big difference when it comes to getting the price you want."

ooba's top tips for making your home ooba saleable:

1. Drop the price

Price is the biggest inhibitor to any sale. To price a house correctly choose three of the most active agents in your area and ask them for a valuation. Says Rushin: "Tell the agent you want honest, realistic figures, then apply a margin in excess of this figure, depending on how urgent the sale is. Note that houses that are priced too high in a slow market, like the one we are currently experiencing, are unlikely to move".

2. Curb appeal

Don't focus all your efforts on the inside. Remember that first impressions are created as prospective buyers approach the building. "Mow the lawn, trim hedges, weed flower beds, plant a few conspicuous shrubs so that it looks well-kept and tidy," notes Rushin.

3. Declutter

Ask an honest friend who has not seen your property for a while to advise on what to hide or throw - a fresh perspective always helps. "Remember that kids and smelly dogs can be a big turn off for buyers," advises Rushin.

4. Don't stuff everything into cupboards

Tidying up doesn't mean you should chuck everything into a cupboard and hope it doesn't burst open. You'll never find your stuff again and besides, lots of potential buyers like to open cupboards to get a sense of the storage space.

5. Move out spare furniture from bedrooms

But don't turn rooms into a barren space as they can look surprisingly small when empty. "It's also harder for a buyer to imagine what the house will look like furnished," notes Rushin.

6. Definition

Make sure each room is kitted out for the purpose it is intended for - buyers will be better able to conceptualize a room's purpose if it is obvious.

7. Create an appealing social environment

If your home is sparsely decorated it might require acquiring new furniture to give prospective buyers an impression of how they would live in the property and where they would socialise.

8. Do basic repairs

"This is really important as buyers mark the price down the more work they see for themselves," says Rushin.

Go through each room and do any minor jobs you can see would improve the finish at little expense, such as touching up paintwork, filling cracks, regrouting, straightening cupboard doors, replacing/polishing door handles. Make sure you fix dripping taps, cracked panes of glass and peeling wallpaper.

9. Clean

And then clean again. Make sure everywhere is spotless, particularly bathrooms and kitchens.

10. Don't spend money on expensive improvements

"Making a home saleable is not about expensive or time consuming improvements such as a installing a new kitchen," warns Rushin.

The idea is to rapidly make their properties more appealing to a broader range of sellers without having to drop the price so minor paint jobs and sprucing up each room to an equal standard is key. If you have dirty carpets however, cleaning them up or putting down cheap, alternate flooring might be a good idea.

And finally Rushin advises sellers to be patient: Don't panic and don't give up. Accept that the time taken to sell properties has increased."

Hello ooba news

ooba (formerly MortgageSA) welcomed the 0.5% interest rate cut announced yesterday by the South African Reserve Bank which will save South African home owners an estimated R259m in home loan repayments each month, but says more cuts are needed.

According to a new poll by South Africa's leading property listings website, nearly a third of home hunters decide that a property is right for them before they even enter the house - and a kitchen is overwhelmingly the most important room when it comes to the buying decision. has entered into a partnership with to provide access to the latest fractional ownership listings which will be available from the 12 December, 2008.

South Africans spent over R10 billion during the festive season last year. This year ooba suggests carefully planning your holiday season spending to avoid a financial hangover in January 2009. "Festive season debt can take months to pay off in the new year," says Jenny Rushin, Provincial Sales Manager for ooba (formerly MortgageSA).

Weak economic conditions, higher interest rates and the global credit crisis have forced banks to be far more picky about who they will lend money and less generous with their lending rates. But Mary Jane Lefevre, Regional Sales Manager of ooba, said that before you apply for a home loan, there are steps you can take to improve your credit status and encourage lenders to look more favourably on your application.