Tips for anyone looking to sell in the current property market

While the prevailing economic conditions in South Africa have pushed some buyers out of the property market in 2023, the buyer’s pool is still active, and there are several things prospective sellers can do to conclude a mutually beneficial sale.

A key fallout of the higher interest rate and cost of living is that it has driven many potential property buyers out of the market, making it a challenging selling market.

According to the latest data from Stats SA, Inflation in South Africa climbed even higher in March, moving counter to market expectations that pricing would ease for the month.

This has led to speculations that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) would likely hike rates by another 25 basis points in May 2023, raising the prime lending rate to 11.5%.

Despite concerns, the outlook for the property market is stable for now, and property experts believe the conditions still lean toward a buyer’s market.

According to the CEO of Jawitz Properties, Herschel Jawitz, property prices in 2023 are expected to increase by only 2,75% to 3,5%, which means that in real terms, after inflation, property prices are declining by a similar amount.

“As long as inflation remains high amid low economic growth, real property price growth will remain marginal, and for buyers who have the means to buy, the current market is offering good value buying opportunities,” he said.

However, for sellers, the decision as to whether it is a good time to sell or wait depends on the personal circumstances and needs of the seller, said the Chairman of Seeff Property Group, Samuel Seeff.

“Some sellers may be in a position where they don’t need to sell right now and, therefore, have the time to find the right price for them,” he said.

“However, while some sellers may be able to rent out their property until they find the right price, many sellers need to sell to purchase elsewhere. You may need to downsize or relocate for personal reasons, and waiting is therefore not an option,” he added.

Seeff noted that waiting to sell for a higher price may also mean you would have to purchase at a higher price, which could negate the positives of selling at a higher price.

Tips for sellers in today’s property market 

Ultimately, the prevailing property market is still a challenging selling market, and property sellers need all the help they can get.

Seeff said although sellers should be aware that price will be the main determining factor, there are other things they can do to speed up the sale and transfer of their property.

Considering this, the six best practice tips for sellers are listed below, as outlined by property agents with the Seeff Property Group.

  • Price the property correctly for the current market – evaluate what properties have actually sold over the last three to six months to get a sense of the correct asking price. Testing the market and overpricing will waste valuable time and drive buyers to competing properties which are better priced.
  • Your property should be in a top sellable condition – Ensure the plans are up to date and filed correctly with your local municipality and that all building works are completed and signed off. All maintenance should be done, including repairs and replacing broken items or outdated appliances. Do not give potential buyers any excuse to walk away or to look to discount the price.
  • Get all the required documents copied and certified upfront – You can save valuable time by having all the necessary documents ready. This includes relevant identity documents, proof of address, your rates or levies bill, information regarding any mortgage loan over the property, and the title deed if it is in your possession.
  • Ensure the property is compliant – Electrical, plumbing and water, electric fence, gas and other checks and repairs can be done upfront, and certificates of compliance are obtained to save time. It will also give potential buyers peace of mind if all the checks are already done and can speed up the selling and transfer process.
  • Be flexible in terms of viewings – Prepare your property for viewings by ensuring all clutter is removed and the home is clean and fresh so that a potential buyer can immediately fall in love as soon as they see it. You should also be as accommodating as possible when buyers want to view the property.
  • Consider all offers – Remember, almost any offer can be negotiated. The agent should be able to guide a counteroffer that the seller can return to the buyer. One of the key skills that an agent brings is the ability to negotiate and get the parties to a point where they can conclude a mutually beneficial sale

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