“You can’t handle the truth”

In my humble opinion, Jack Nicolson’s line: ‘you can’t handle the truth’ is the best quote from the movie, A Few Good Men. In fact, it may just be the best quote from any movie ever. The funny thing is, it’s true. This month we ponder why it is so hard to handle the truth.

The truth of being an agent

On my return to real estate sales after a six-year stint as a valuer, I was still in the valuer mind-set of delivering the facts. Unfortunately, after being overlooked by a few potential vendors, I received some truth of my own – and that was that my pitch was too truthful and that vendors wanted to be instilled with a vision of hope. And they were right! No one looking to list their home for sale wants to be told that buyers may not want a leaking, plaster clad home with a defective cross lease title. It’s interesting, though, that in an industry often perceived as dishonest, the truth is not often well received.

Here are a few of the common real estate truths sellers would rather not know.

‘Your house isn’t unique’

When you take your home to the market, you’re not selling in isolation. And although you may think your home is unique, from a buyer perspective you’re likely to be one of a bunch of comparable properties. It may be one of a handful in that suburb that offers a similar level accommodation in a particular price range. Your job as a seller is to make sure that your home is presented in a way that make buyers choose to view and ultimately offer on your home and not others.

Attracting buyers, especially in a market which is now off its frenzied peak, can be a bit trickier so taking the time to ready your home for sale is crucial. We have all heard the old saying you only get one chance to make a first impression, and in the world of online advertising if you don’t pass the digital inspection, your campaign is unlikely to fire. A few tips;

  • Take time to create great street appeal. Start at the front gate with your agent and ask them for tips on how to make your home tug at the buyers’ heartstrings before they even enter the door. This could be as simple as painting your front fence, planting alongside the entrance path, water blasting paths, soft washing the house or putting a new matt and plant at the front door.
  • Clutter eats capital so clean, clutter free spaces devoid of personal items and photographs are a good place to start. Buyers like to walk freely around during busy open homes so consider traffic flow when placing bulky items of furniture.
  • Create usable/saleable spaces with your target market top of mind – a study nook on a landing, a teenage hangout in an unused basement, or a junk room transformed to a kids’ play room. Buyers buy what they can see so spell out exactly how to use your space.
  • Partial staging. Not everyone has the best eye for design, and that’s ok. Partial staging works with what you have to really tie it all together and encourage that emotional attachment. from your buyers. We work with some awesome people who can transform spaces for a tiny investment – and from our experience, it really pays off in the end result. Click here to see how staging can transform your home.
  • Use a professional photographer. Once you have prepped your home, don’t ruin your campaign on a bad photographer and a poorly sequenced photo tour. Buyers will choose to turn up, or not, based on your ad. Therefore ensure your agent has listed your home with a good sequence of photos in a logical order including only the photos which sell the positives. A long walk up or an overgrown forest in the back yard are negatives, so ensuring those aspects are left for the physical inspection will increase your chances of the buyers turning up.
  • Choose the right method of sale for your target market. For example, first home buyers love a price indication, so using a Deadline Sale in combination with an enquiry level can work a treat.
  • Pay for premium spots on cluttered platforms like Trade Me and get in front of as many eyes as you can. If you fail to be seen, the buyers won’t turn up. These days digital advertising is so sophisticated, that in addition to high profile placements on traditional digital platforms, it is possible to take your property straight to the buyers rather than waiting for them to find you. Ask us about Ray White’s Advanced Internet Advertising package or check it out here. It’s pretty amazing!

We have the buyers for you

This is a strategy used to secure your listing but rest assured; if you do not choose that agent you will not lose access to ‘their buyers’. Any agent involved in a good volume of sales is working with multiple buyers at any given time. But agents don’t have exclusive rights over buyers. And the reality is, buyers in hot pursuit of their dream home follow the property, not the agent or the company. In fact, relying on one relationship or one buyer being the right buyer for your home is likely to do your sale an injustice. A well-run sales campaign which aims to create competition between a large pool of buyers, will give you the best chance of achieving an above market result. And these buyers should be sourced in every instance from buyers the agent is currently working with, in combination with company databases and a mix of proactive and reactive advertising.

‘I’ll get you an above market price’

For anyone who has interviewed agents recently, you’re likely to have been told that any and all of the agents you selected will achieve you a ‘premium price’. And for any agent worth their salt, this is always the goal. So instead of hanging your hat on the agent that comes armed with campaign war stories and promises you the highest price, question them carefully about why they have chosen the method they have and how they will execute the campaign to ensure a great result. A well-prepared home, thoughtfully considered strategy and well executed process will ensure your property is given the very best chance of success.

The truth is that most houses transact within a fair market range. But a good agent should be able to generate competition which will give you the best possible chance of receiving an above market outcome.

The Wellington Market

September is the first month of spring and we’re starting to see the pace picking up as people’s thoughts turn to action. Once again good quality, well maintained properties are achieving good results with the less desirable properties taking longer to transact.  The drop in interest rates hasn’t made any more of an impact than what we were already experiencing, but for those coming off fixed rate mortgages; rentals are suddenly looking a lot more affordable.

By the time our October edition is published we should have a good feel for just how the spring market is likely to play out.


Average sale price by Ward:

Tell us what you want to hear

Over the past eight years we have brought you almost ninety editions of the barometer. We thank all of you for your ongoing readership and hope the articles we write provide some value. But now we want to hear from you. Have you got a burning question you would like covered, an area of the process you are unsure of perhaps? Let us know and we will make sure to cover off your suggestions in the upcoming months. Alternatively, feel free to call and chat through any real estate related questions, we are always happy to help.

What’s on this September in Wellington:

Cry-Baby The Musical, Te Auaha, NZ Institute of Creativity, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

The full cohort of Whitireia’s Musical Theatre students are rehearsing their bobby socks off in preparation for New Zealand’s first ever season of ‘Cry-Baby The Musical’. Adapted from the John Waters film of the same name, the campy and wickedly subversive show will run for eight outrageous nights at Te Auaha – The NZ Institute of Creativity from 5-14 September.

Click here for tickets and more info

Hawke’s Bay Wine Celebration, Harbourside Function Venue, 4 Taranaki St, Wellington

For one night only, 37 of Hawke’s Bay’s boutique and estate wineries are together under one roof, presenting over 200 of their finest wines for your tasting pleasure. Yes, that’s right, you can taste the best of Hawke’s Bay-without leaving town!

This exclusive evening is a chance to really get to know Hawke’s Bay’s talented winemakers and wine experts, learn about their wines and chat about anything and everything from tasting tips to what’s hot from upcoming vintages!

Click here for tickets and more info

PAINT IT – Loose floral-Roses watercolour workshop, Wellington Underground Market, Wellington Waterfront

During the Loose florals workshop, we will cover colour mixing, brush control, watercolour tips, tricks and techniques. The 2-hour workshop is instructed by Krystee-Iris to provided a step-by-step understanding of how to paint in the loose floral style ROSES. This workshops will suit an entry-level artist where you can dive in deep and explore… and get a little messy or is also appropriate for a more experienced artist who would like to further explore and refine their style.

Click here for tickets and more info

If you, or anyone you know, could benefit from a considered market assessment by Wellington’s only licensed agent and registered property valuer, please do not hesitate to call. We are always happy to help.

Click here to book your free appraisal today. 

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