Many people looking to sell can overlook a key question when preparing a property for sale. Exactly who is likely to buy this? Most vendors assume it will be someone like them, but that’s not always true. At any given time there are greater or fewer active buyers in certain categories – and there are many reasons someone might be looking to buy. Below are some examples you can either circle or put a line through as appropriate for your situation.
Does your property primarily appeal to:
- First home buyers? Is it in an affordable suburb? Handy to work / schools etc? Are lenders comfortable with the location and standard of dwelling? Too much renovation work and high lending percentages may prevent lending on such properties.
- Retirees? Is it a single level home? Low maintenance? Room for grandchildren to stay? Close to amenities like health care, recreational facilities?
- Families?How many bedrooms? Is there potential to add another room? Could basement conversion be an option?
- Holiday home buyers? Proximity to amenities like beaches / parks / mountains? Is it too high maintenance? Easy care gardens? Is there storage for items like boats, tractors, sports equipment? Security for absentee owners? Suitable for AirBnB?
- Neighbours? Would acquiring your site enable them to subdivide? Do they have extended family that want to be close by? Do you have trees blocking their view? Could buying yours improve their access / views / light?
- Renovators? Is there opportunity to add value? A dwelling with ‘good bones’ but needs cosmetic work? Is it the clichéd ‘worst house in the best street’?
- Developers? Could your property be subdivided? Does the placement of the home permit subdivision without moving it? If not - is it on a pile foundation so able to be repositioned on site? Has the District/Unitary Plan changed recently to enable a more intensive use of the site? Is a minor dwelling possible?
- Rental Investors? Is the property close to employment options and/or schools etc? Is there a shortage of properties for rent? Low maintenance dwelling / site? How do rental yields compare in your suburb? What are the prospects for rental and capital growth?
- Government? Are they buying in your area for social housing? Perhaps acquiring property for public works? Are you adjacent a school or community facility? Adjacent a major road or railway corridor?
There are many more potential buyer types out there – all with different needs. And each town will appeal more to some than others. The economic climate also has a significant impact. It’s a great idea to go through this exercise first. Identify which buyers are both active in your area, and easiest to satisfy with your specific property. Ask your agent(s) who has been buying lately, which types of people are actively looking and in which price brackets. You can then tailor your presentation and marketing approach accordingly.
Sometimes despite best efforts there are simply no buyers looking for your type of property right now. This doesn’t mean your property has no value – rather you must weigh up changing your approach to appeal to a different type of buyer – or else take a break to re-engage with the market later once the buyer pool changes. This can often be better than languishing on the market and the listing becoming ‘stale’. It all depends on your level of motivation and time pressure.
If however you do have lots of people coming to view the property but no offers being made, you perhaps need to reflect that it could be more about the price you’re asking.
Scott Morison, Registered Valuer