Users guide to selling a property
The current market determines the value of a property, based on supply and demand - the buyer determines the value of a property as only he knows how much he is prepared to pay for any given property at any given time this value bears no correlation to how much you paid for the property, how much profit you wish to make, how much time and money you spent on improvements, how much the agent says you could get, replacement value or how much you, the seller thinks it is worth.
It is thus important to correctly price your property as properties listed in excess of the market value will take considerably longer to sell as it will eliminate offers and so lose prospective buyers who will turn to properties they consider better value.
Property valuations may be carried out by professional valuers who will charge for this service. It is also possible to obtain a current "market valuation" average by talking to sellers who have recently sold properties similar to yours, or to estate agents active on the estate.
Giving a mandate to more than one estate agent
Unless a seller has given an estate agency firm a written sole mandate to sell their property, they may ask as many estate agents as they please to sell the property. The seller should inform every estate agent appointed by them that they have also asked other estate agents to sell the property.
Sellers who ask more than one estate agency to sell their property, risk claims for the payment of more than one estate agents commission. This may happen when the seller sells their property through one of the estate agents appointed by them to a purchaser previously introduced to the property by another estate agent also appointed by the seller.
When signing a contract of sale the careful seller should therefore ask the estate agent whether or not the property had perhaps been shown to the purchaser by another estate agent. If the answer is yes, the seller should protect themselves against a second claim for commission by demanding that the purchaser (and/or the estate agent through whom the property is sold) accept responsibility for payment of such second commission.
To protect themselves further, sellers may also ask all estate agents appointed to give them a list containing the names and details of all persons introduced to the property by the estate agents. Sellers can then quickly find out whether or not the interested purchaser was shown the property by another estate agent.
(Courtesy of the Estate Agents Affairs Board)
In terms of the Estate Agents Affairs board, a sole mandate must be in writing.
When giving an estate agent a sole mandate, the following matters should be considered:-
During the period of the sole mandate, the seller should not breach the mandate by selling their property through another estate agent. Sole mandates often also make the seller responsible for the payment of damages to the appointed sole agent if the owners sell the property themselves during the mandate period.
An owner may also be liable to pay a commission if they sell the property after the mandate has expired to a person introduced either to the seller or to the property by the estate agent during the mandate period.
The period of the sole mandate should be negotiated between the seller and the estate agent.
Although a seller cannot be forced to sell their property to a purchaser found by the estate agent, a sole mandate is often worded in such a way that sellers who refuse to sell their property on the terms set out in the mandate or prevent the estate agent from concluding a sale of the property, will still be responsible to pay the estate agent the agreed commission by way of damages.
(Courtesy of the Estate Agents Affairs Board)
Potential buyers may be situated anywhere in the country or the globe and they would require as much information as possible in order to make a decision to purchase or before undertaking to view the property.
It could greatly speed up the process if additional information about your property such as photographs and site layout maps etc. are available in electronic format so that they may be e-mailed or forwarded to interested parties on compact disc.
Most business service centers such as Postnet etc. should be able to scan photographs, plans and documents onto CDs which may then be forwarded to clients or alternatively, copied to your PC so that these files may be forwarded by e-mail.
Have a selection of good quality photographs on hand which may be forwarded electronically on request. You don't want to forward too many, but a number of photos taken from more-or-less the centre of the stand or from where a house is most likely to be positioned, showing views to the front, left, right and rear is a good start. If possible take a shot from a distant vantage point, either from across a valley, the top of a ridge or from somewhere which will show a distant view of the property.
Remove garden tools, ladders, hosepipes, toys, pool cleaning equipment and other items which may clutter the photograph unnecessarily.
It will be useful for the buyer if you include a brief description of each picture or at least include this in the file name eg. "North view" etc.
For developed properties, you will need to additionally include a selection of photos showing the various external aspects of the home, the garden, the entrance to the property and of course the interior.
Pictures should be re-sized to a smaller format eg. the "Small 640x480" format available in the Image Resizer which may be downloaded from this web site. Download here.
You may want to compile a collection of photographs and/or a video which may be forwarded to clients on a Compact Disc, making sure that discs are cased and packed between stout cardboard to avoid damage when sending by postage or courier.
The cost of this is very small compared to the price of your property and the agents commission you will save when selling privately.
Site layout maps, preferably showing contour lines, is very useful to give potential purchasers a good idea of the lay of the land and where exactly the property is situated. This builds confidence and will greatly assist buyers to make purchasing decisions.
Preparing your home for viewing
First impressions are important - potential buyers will react to this and will pay attention to small details. The guidelines below will go a long way toward achieving the best selling price.
Viewing - Do's and Don'ts
While the first tour may be guided, allow prospective buyers to roam freely. Afterwards do tell them that this is what you're going to do. Buyers need to feel unobserved, comfortable and at ease.
Do allow viewers to express their opinions and feelings without taking it personally. Don't react to their comments or indulge in long explanations when it is not necessary. A simple: "I can understand how you may feel that way" is often all that is required.
Do point out the positive, beneficial aspects of your home and its features, remembering that they may have a different viewpoint or different requirements.
Don't try and sell furniture, furnishings or fittings prior to concluding the transaction.
Don't apologise for appearance as this will only draw attention to it or distract.
Do make sure outbuildings are open for inspection.
Kerb Appeal - While your homes position, price and accommodation may be just what the buyer is looking for, they may be put off if they don't like the look of it. Make sure that all exterior paintwork, gutters, downpipes, fascias and roof is in good condition, that the lawn is trimmed, flower beds neat and weed-free and that the entrance is clean and neat. Neutral colour schemes have wider appeal.
Driveways and paving should be free of weeds, grease or oil, garage doors must be in good working order and the garage neat, tidy and uncluttered.
Windows should be clean and broken panes replaced.
Roof leaks make sure the roof does not leak as this may actually delay the sale.
Patio areas and Decks - Attractive outdoor furniture creates a pleasant atmosphere in these areas. Woodwork should be clean and well maintained.
Swimming Pools should be sparkling clean. Few things are more off-putting than pools with algae stains or discoloured water. The pool pump and accessories should be in good working condition.
Doors and windows should open freely. Handles, locks and latches should be functional and clean. Woodwork and paintwork should be in good condition.
Floors and carpets should be clean and free of stains; wooden floors should be polished. A good steam clean will revive tired-looking carpets and give your home a fresh look.
Lights and light switches should all be functional; globes should be replaced where necessary.
Kitchen - The stove, refrigerator, sink and work surfaces should be spotless.
Plumbing - Noisy and leaking toilets, dripping taps and damaged seals around basins or baths should be repaired. Clean, colourful towels and bright pot plants will liven up the bathroom.
Garden areas make sure that the lawn is trimmed and that flower beds are neat, tidy and weed-free. Excessive growth and creepers should be cut back to allow light into rooms and improve general appearance.
Pets not everybody feels the same about your cute, friendly pets and may be offended by dogs odour, their sniffing, licking or jumping up. It is best to keep animals out of the way during viewing. Doggy do should be cleaned up before the visit.
It is important that vacant land is accessible should potential purchasers wish to view it. Buyers may want to walk the property and get an idea of views and placement of their home, it may affect the sale if they are not able to do this. The property should be clear of rubble, excessive overgrowth and weeds.
Transfer documents are submitted to the Receiver of Revenue (SARS) prior to registration taking place. The sellers tax position will be investigated and SARS will insist that any outstanding taxes be paid from the proceeds of the sale.