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How to sell a flat quickly and without lowering the price. 50 mistakes to avoid

Flooring Seller’s Guide

This guide is intended to help inexperienced commercial agents and individuals who are venturing to sell their apartment on their own.

You have already made up your mind, you want to change your house or you have simply inherited that little apartment from a relative, and now you want to sell it. Since you have time, and it seems that the real estate market has been buoyant, you have decided to get down to work.

Why are you going to pay to put an ad and answer calls? Attending visitors shouldn’t be that difficult.

After more than 20 years selling second-hand real estate and housing developments, I have learned from my own and others’ mistakes in the sale of apartments, especially when a private individual sells his house without the help of a professional. We are going to present some very common examples so that you can try to avoid making the mistakes that can ruin your plans.

Flooring Seller's Guide

Classic house pricing mistakes

Error 1 – Valuing the apartment you want to sell based on the money you need

The price of the property is set by the market, not our expectations. Many times, when we sell our house, we think about the sentimental value it has for us. This “added value” is not perceived by the buyer.

Another classic mistake is to think about how much you have invested in renovations, or in a built-in closet, or in modernizing the kitchen. The reform is still 20 years old, and whoever enters will invest in another kitchen to their liking. Forget past improvement expenses unless they are really recent.

The price is set by the market: depending on the current demand in your area, and the supply, we will know the price at which we will end up selling.

Error 2 – Setting the price based on what you owe to the bank

The buyer does not care how you have financed yourself or if you have bought expensive. It can be witnessed by those who bought in 2007 or 2008 and have not yet been able to sell, because the market price is below the value of their debt. I insist, the price is what the market sets.

Error 3 – Take as a reference the price at which the neighbors “say” that they have sold

The information must be reliable. Be careful, neighbors sometimes inflate the price at which they have sold and lower the price at which they have actually bought. I don’t mean to say they do it in bad faith. But we all know some of those business “axes” that make us look silly to others. The ideal is to have access to real closing prices of homes in your area. That information can be given by a good professional. Good professionals have sales statistics and closing data in your area.

Error 4 – Thinking that your apartment is worth more than the neighbor’s

I have nothing to say there. It will be the buyer who values ​​it. But think that the buyer will always be much more realistic in this regard than you. Of course, personal tastes, needs and preferences always prevail, but it is also true that the old rules tend to work: better in the sun than in the dark; those higher than those of the lower floors; those facing south than those facing north; those who have an elevator than those who do not, etc.

Not having the documentation up to date

Not having the documentation up to date

Error 5 – Prepare documentation on the fly

Think about how you would react if the person with whom you are going to carry out such an important business transaction begins to doubt whether or not they have their taxes in order. What is the title deed? This creates mistrust that the operation will run without incident. To generate the necessary trust between seller and buyer, we have to prepare all the documentation that we may need to close the transaction, and make sure that all taxes are up to date. So we can go relaxed to raise the sale to public.

Error 6 – Failure to process the CEE

The CEE or Energy Efficiency Certificate is mandatory in the advertisements of the flat. It is a way of labeling the home based on the energy consumption it generates. It is currently one of the best points of reference for making an energy expenditure budget (with permission from the electric and gas companies). It is a simple and inexpensive procedure that can be obtained in just a few days. In addition, the report tells us what measures we could take to improve the home and save energy.

As I said, the CEE is mandatory when it comes to advertising the home and currently there are portals that do not allow you to place the advertisement without the data of said certificate.

Error 7 – Not having a Certificate of Habitability or having it expired

The Certificate of Habitability is another of the essential documents to sell. The notary will request it. There are floors that have never had a certificate because they were built before the 70s and it was not mandatory. If this is your case, do not get lost. Get down to work and contact a professional (this cannot be done by you) since it will not be there for a month. If you wait to have the buyer, things may be unnecessarily complicated.

Error 8 – Not “knowing” what the ITE is

Agree that you only sell your apartment, but how well preserved is the building in which it is located? If you are over 50 years old, an architect has to check that everything is in order or, otherwise, do the relevant works.

According to Laws, on urban rehabilitation, regeneration and renovation, the owners of buildings older than 45 – 50 years, whose typology is residential collective housing, may be required by the competent Administration to carry out the Building Evaluation Report.

Said report will contain at least: a) The evaluation of the state of conservation of the building. b) The evaluation of the basic conditions of universal accessibility and non-discrimination of people with disabilities to access and use the building, in accordance with current regulations, establishing whether the building is susceptible or not to make reasonable adjustments to satisfy them. c) The certification of the energy efficiency of the building, with the content and through the procedure established for it by current regulations.

In municipalities with a population of more than 25,000 inhabitants, buildings older than 50 years, unless the communities set different conditions in their regulations, must be subject to a periodic technical inspection to ensure their good condition and proper conservation.

As a result of this report, the community of neighbors will probably have to face maintenance costs on a regular basis, and sometimes the architect may indicate that urgent works be done. In any case, we are interested in having this report to know that everything is in order and that there are no pending spills.

Error 9 – Not knowing the state of the building

Whether the building is very old or not, it requires periodic maintenance. There are communities that pamper buildings and know the value of good maintenance. Others go years without spending a Euro to maintain the farm. When they are put on, they have already passed 50 years and the spills are greater.

Buyers will want to know if the building is well maintained. If there are pending spills and especially if the ITE has passed, they will want to know the deficiencies.

General mistakes of preparations

Error 10 – Not looking at what price similar homes sell for

Nobody comes to see the floor, don’t they call? Perhaps your apartment is in an area with little demand or there are simply more attractive apartments at a better price. Look for similar flats and follow the evolution of their price on the internet. If they disappear from the real estate portal, it is usually because they have been sold.

Error 11 – Have you prepared the house for sale?

The house has to be prepared to obtain graphic material, photographs, virtual tour, video and when you expect visits. Well clean and tidy. If it is an inheritance, above all, remove personal belongings of the deceased.

On one occasion, they gave me a home to sell from an elderly person who had just passed away. The walker and potty were not helping the sale. Logically it was sold as soon as all those old personal objects were removed.

Error 12 – What does this floor smell like?

Smell makes that first impression a lot. I have visited flats with the smell of roasted chicken, or with excessive air freshener (What does that air freshener want to hide?). Better well ventilated. Some say that a good smell of coffee gives a good feeling. Yes, but invite coffee to visits.

Not all portals are the same. There are real estate portals with very good visibility, but which are mainly aimed at real estate agencies. If you publish in them, it is likely that your apartment ends up in the last positions and that you only receive calls from real estate agencies.

The perfect advertisement. We need a good description and graphic material.

The perfect advertisement. We need a good description and graphic material

Error 13 – Taking pictures of your apartment with your mobile

The professional photos are no longer expensive. The first thing your buyer will see are probably the photos of your property on a real estate portal. Find a good photographer who will do a report with the apartment very clean and tidy. Only for luxury apartments is a video or a Virtual Tour essential.

Error 14 – Neither few nor many

If you put many photos at the end, they do not add anything and are boring. If you put a few, you hide something. For an average floor of 100 m2, the ideal is 15 – 20 photos.

Error 15 – Guest artists in photos

If you don’t have a budget for a photographer, avoid being reflected in the mirrors when taking photos. If there are squatters or tenants, tell them to move away to take a good photo. (Just kidding) Photos with the floor without people are more impersonal.

Error 16 – Telegram announcement

Many people still think that on the Internet you pay for words like in the old classifieds. Don’t skimp on details in the description. Describe both the neighborhood, the building and the floor. The advantages of living in a home like yours. Think about what made you decide on that home and not another when you bought it.

Error 17 – The ideal bucket for couples

Better forget about the clichés and be honest. Better a small and well distributed apartment than a candy box. No? If you need reform, better to say so. We will save walks. Prepare a complete and detailed description. When everything is ready you can start working on the real estate portals.

Error 18 – Making spelling mistakes

An ad with faults backs off. And if it is from a professional, even more unforgivable. If you are not very clear about it, let yourself be helped by online automatic correctors. You will find several free online proofreading services.

Everything is ready. But it is time to set the price of the apartment to put the ads.

Error 19 – Price too high because you are not in a hurry to sell

Nowadays, with search portals and filters, it is easy for buyers to compare prices. If they are looking for characteristics for an area and a budget and your apartment deviates a lot, it will never appear in the searches. They will have very few visitors. The first days are essential to sell. Buyers when they see a flat advertised for a long time without being sold, they think it has some defect. On the other hand, when the price deviates a lot from the market price for the characteristics of the apartment, there are simply no visits.

Error 20 – Lower the price too much to speed up the sale

Unless we have an urgency, the ideal is to adjust the price to the market price so that the sale is made in about 60 – 120 days after the ad was placed. Some companies promise very fast sales at the cost of losing revenue. Be careful with the cheap, sometimes it is expensive.

We already have the price. And now that?

Error 21 – Putting your apartment up for sale without a clear schedule

So far we have thought about the documentation and announcements. Fix the floor and prepare the visits. Then we will attend the visits, we will proceed to the negotiation. Finally, we will sign the down payment and depending on whether the buyer needs financing or not, we will need more or less time.

How long does it take from the first step, to the delivery of the keys to the Notary Public?

You have to be realistic depending on the supply and demand in the area

You have to be realistic depending on the supply and demand in the area

Error 22 – Filling cards in the real estate portals quickly and running

The tabs on the portals are designed to optimize the information that is going to be presented to the buyer. Fill in all the possible fields. Do not leave anything to chance.  We help you spread the ad on the maximum number of portals so that the maximum number of people possible can see it.

Error 23 – Using personal mobile in advertising

We recommend a prepaid mobile, so that your privacy is not invaded. You would be amazed at the use that some real estate portals make of private mobiles. Why do they only call you real estate agencies? It will also be much easier to get rid of the problem when the operation has been carried out.

Error 24 – To put a sign on the balcony or not to put it?

The poster sells. But without a doubt it also alerts possible squatters (if the apartment is empty) or even people call you on the intercom at any time. My recommendation is to put a small sign on the facade so that the people of the neighborhood know that there is an apartment for sale.

Error 25 – Not answering calls, emails or WhatsApp

It’s certainly a bummer, but the salesperson works around the clock. The ideal buyer appears when he has time. Do not stop answering. Always do it in the shortest time possible. If they don’t buy from you, they will buy from someone else. If you don’t have time, remember that there are professionals willing to help you.

Error 26 – Only answering calls after hours

People who are looking for housing usually try to contact several sellers whose offers are adjusted to their needs and preferences. This, sometimes, causes that when you call them to respond to their message, if many hours have passed, they do not remember your ad exactly. That is why it is better that you answer them as soon as you receive their call or message. You may earn a few “points.”

Error 27 – Arrange visits on different days and hours

At what time does the best light enter the floor? What time is the area quieter? Try, whenever possible, to put the visits in the hours of more light. And if you group the visits on the same day and with a difference of about 30 minutes between each one. You will save a lot of time. Also, if buyers look at each other, they see that there is movement. If they like the flat, they won’t be long in making an offer.

Error 28 – Make visits without registration

The visitor register has a double function. The first is to know who enters your house. In the case of luxury properties, you have to be cautious and know who we let in and what they see. Sometimes there are watchers before a robbery. On the other hand, registration is essential to keep track of interested persons. Notify if we lower prices, etc. So, my advice is that you be very orderly with this particular one and make a basic file of each visit. In it you should include the names of the visitors and their contact information; phone, email, etc. Also take note of the comments they make about their needs or points of the house that seem most interesting to them.

Error 29 – Visiting without preparation

We have only one chance to make a good first impression . That is why it is very important not to leave anything to chance. If you expect a visit, raise blinds, ventilate the rooms, collect junk. The coffee trick I have personally never used. But if it is very hot, even a glass of water is appreciated.

Your attitude with your visits is essential

Error 30 – Give importance only to the positive aspects of your home

Explain everything about the floor, without hiding anything. Sincerity gives confidence. Remember that visitors are not stupid. What’s more, some go on to become true shopping professionals. So, of course, emphasize the virtues but don’t try to hide the flaws.

Error 31 – Forcing the visit without providing prior information

When you receive a call or an email requesting a visit, make sure of the needs that the buyer has. It may happen that it is already clear that, due to the characteristics, the floor does not fit. For example, a floor without an elevator for a person in a wheelchair. No matter how much you take him to visit, he will not buy you.

Error 32 – Not asking the buyer

At the end of the visit, we must know:

  1. Who is the flat for?
  2. If you have been looking for a long time.
  3. If they liked the flat.
  4. If it fits them in terms of surface and distribution.
  5. If they have a budget or need financing.

In case you need financing:

  1. Have you already contacted a bank to finance you?
  2. Would the financing be enough to reach the desired price? (This would be ideal to know before they visit the flat).

Not waste time. If they do not have a fixed contract and need a 100% mortgage. Will they be able to buy you?

Error 33 – Being insincere

It is likely that they will ask you for some of the documents we have talked about previously. Don’t hesitate to show them. Make some photocopies and keep them on hand for this purpose. But don’t hand them over. You will transmit confidence and your potential buyers will see that you are not hiding anything. Remember that if there are hidden defects, such as aluminosis, it must be noted.

Error 34 – Pets

On one occasion I was taking photos in a flat, and I was bitten by a parrot that the owners had in the house! He was loose and I passed him without realizing it. Imagine that you get to bite a customer. Whether they are dogs, cats or another animal that is usually loose around the house, they better not be entangling.

Error 35 – Discard the first offers

There is no absolute truth on this subject. What is “true” is that all offers are worth evaluating  . Perhaps the buyer arrives in the first few days and his offer is the best that we hear.

Technical errors

Technical errors

Error 36 – Buying a flat before selling

The most common real estate operation is to sell an apartment to buy another. If you depend 100% on the money you are going to get from the sale of your current property to buy another, sometimes it is advisable to wait to find a buyer before committing. The times of the bridge mortgage have already gone down in history with bad experiences for some.

Error 37 – Carrying out the negotiation by courier

It is true that WhatsApp or Telegram are applications that have made our lives easier. But when negotiating the sale of your apartment, we recommend not using them. The negotiation will probably be the most delicate moment of the whole process. So, it’s worth taking the time and doing it in person.

Error 38 – Not updating internet ads

All content on the Web is periodically reviewed by Google robots and other large companies. If the ads do not change, they run the risk of being in worse positions for their search. So, don’t forget to check your ad and update it from time to time. Small tweaks in the description that make it clearer or more interesting is a good measure. Change the order of some photos trying to vary the first one, which is usually the one used in thumbnails, so that it does not always look the same. Check the price.

Make small variations and at regular intervals of time. For example; If you have the impression that you have set a high initial price as in University town Islamabad, go reducing a proportional part at the end of the first month. Again, the same amount per second. With this you will cover two needs, the price adjustment and the renewal of the positioning of your ad.

Error 39 – Discard all real estate

Especially in the first day’s dozens of real estate agencies will call you   offering their services. If in the end you see that you do not achieve your goal, do not stop considering selling with a real estate agency. There are very professional ones and I am sure you have one you trust.

Error 40 – Working with many realtors at the same time

Working with many real estate companies can have unwanted effects. That your ad appears many times, in some portal it can give the impression that you are desperate. More when the sale goes on forever. Above, if you do not give the exclusive, no one ends up taking 100% responsibility for the sale.

Error 41 – Manage the sale without help

Trying to do it all alone most of the time is a mistake. The ideal is to have an expert in the sector, a lawyer to advise you and someone you know to help you with the calls if you are not available. Think about it and value professional help, even if only partially.

Error 42 – Promote your home only on the internet

Internet is the most complete tool to find a buyer. Of course, it is not the only way to promote your home. You can distribute flyers in your neighborhood or hang some posters in the shops where you usually shop. It will be a good showcase for the people of the area. Sometimes a good sign in the goal is enough. You can even spread the word to your neighbors and friends.

Error 43 – Do you have tenants? Don’t forget about them

If you have tenants and you want to put your apartment up for sale, offer it to them first. You would be surprised how many times tenants end up keeping the house. Think about whether you gave them the right of first refusal in the lease. If so, your obligation is to communicate it to them first.

Error 44 – Remove all furniture

Whenever possible leave some furniture. A bed in the bedroom or a table and a sofa in the living room will help visitors to calculate the space of each of the rooms.

Error 45 – Taking comments as criticisms

Visitor comments are sometimes uncomfortable. Let them visit freely, and do not discuss personal issues. Let them imagine living in the apartment. But never get into discussions with visitors. It won’t get you anywhere. Any offensive response can derail an operation that is about to materialize.

Error 46 – Judging potential buyers

If I have learned anything over the years, it is not to judge the person in front of me on superficial aspects. Anyone could become the future owner of your home, so treat everyone the same and focus on ensuring that your visits have the best possible experience.

Error 47 – Accept offers online

The request for a discount or bargain offers are often promoted by real estate portals. Do not take seriously any offer from anyone who has not visited the apartment.

Error 48 – Being very trusting or very distrustful

In general, I have not come across scammers in sales. Well, once an ” heir to an Arab sheikh ” showed up, wanting to pay in Swiss Francs. He was carrying a briefcase full of counterfeit bills. Today that is unthinkable, but you have to be vigilant. All payments by bank transfer, better via Bank of Spain. Other forms of payment that we have to demand will be the bank check or the certified check.

Error 49 – Search for model contracts on the Internet

During the sale process you will need a series of documents in which to record the rights and obligations of both the seller and the buyer. We are talking about the registration of visits, the reservation document and the contract of sale or deposit contract. Avoid writing them based on models that you can download for free on the internet. Make sure to have a professional review the documents and you will avoid unpleasant surprises in the future. If you have doubts, you can sell directly before a notary without a deposit contract.

Error 50 – Putting a property up for sale that you don’t really want to sell

If you are not sure you want to sell, it is better not to advertise the property. Setting an impossible price all it does is hinder the future sale.

Putting a property up for sale that you don't really want to sell

I hope these tips are useful to you. I committed at the beginning of my career, many of them. Others I have been collecting from colleagues and employees. So, I put all of this in your hands with the intention of helping you make your experience as satisfying as possible.

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