Last article we looked at whether you need to use an agent and what you need to do if you wish to buy a property on your own. Switzerland Consumer Email This article we look at how to go about it as a seller DIY estate agent – going it alone in the brave new world – as a Seller OK you don’t need an agent and you can do it all yourself. But where do you start? Obviously some of what we do is trade secret and that’s how we get lots of enquiries and clients and I know not many agents read these columns but you just never know – one might sneak it in in his lunch time. But the basics we will cover below. It isn’t difficult to sell your house at the right price, but it does require some effort on your part. So what steps do you need to take to sell your house? Research your area – make sure you know what is and isn’t selling. Ask agents (as if a buyer) for property in your area at your price range – and see what your competition is Set a realistic price. We all want the best price we can get – but price it too high and you will lose many potential buyers because they just won’t come to see it.Clean your house. Don’t take photos of a dirty room, kitchen bathroom etc – it loks awful and will put many buyers off. Do the little jobs you have been meaning to do (I don’t mean take the dog for a walk (- oh My goodness the dog – I forgot about him) Take good photos. Take many of different aspects of the house – accentuating the good points. Don’t include photos of the bathroom – it isn’t necessary we all know what a bath and sink looks like but your lime green suite might put most buyers off even coming to look at it. Whereas if they come and then see it it is in context with the house – if they like the house the bathroom can be changed. Also take photos on a sunny day – it makes a huge difference to how a house looks. When taking photos indoors take away from light sources. Ideally if sunny partially close blinds so you don’t get white spots. Pick out features of the room,
Write a good description. If you need help on this I have written a brief guide how to wrote a property description. It is easier than you think. Drop me a line and I will send you a copy – even estate agents – no problem. Get yourself your own website and domain. There are many small firms locally who will design a half decent website for less than the price of a Sunday lunch (well maybe a few Sunday lunches but not expensive). Put the web address on all advertising along with your email address. Put up a Se Vende sign. However note some points. A normal Se Vende sign is pretty much an advert for agents to call you. And only agents. Why? Because Foreigners generally wont call Se Vende signs because they don’t speak the language and Spanish own call them because they are mobile numbers. So what is a guy/gal to do.Get a sign made up with Se Vende/For Sale. Get yourself a 902 number – they are free to obtain and you can divert them to your landline or mobile. This will encourage both foreigners and Spanish Alike to call you. Better still put on it also Razon aqui – which means they can knock and find out more.Put an advert in the local paper (the Inland trader is an excellent place of course) Put an advert in the UK press – Loot.com will place an advert for 30 days for about £30. Use other internet sites that accept for sale by owner adverts. Some are free but others will charge you. There are hundreds out there – you just need to search for them. But whatever the cost is it is going to be less than an agents costs so no problem. Email your friends and family. Just ask them if they know anyone who would be interested in buying a house in Spain. Ask them to send your email on to family and friends. Get them to put a notice on works notice boards You would be surprised at how many people may respond Get some leaflets printed up. Do some nice artwork like a small agents display flyer. If you can’t do it then get someone to do it for you. 5000 leaflets will cost about 250 euros full colour. Take the leaflets out to local markets, put them on lampposts (not sure if this is legal or not) and take them to local shops. Put them on car windscreens, ask in local bars if you can put a few in there. Take them further a field to place such as Javea, Moraira where you property looks excellent value for money compared to the studio flat for 300,000 they could get there. Ask your friends locally or ask in bars if they know anyone who wants to buy a property – don’t be shy – you want to sell it don’t you – then let everyone know you are selling. You never know you just might find your neighbour has been longing for your property for years. Not so much keep up with the Jones’s as buy the Jones’s out. Put an advert on eBay – you’d be amazed at the response you get Organise an open day – get as many people as possible to come along and have a bbq – nothing better than a fun environment to sell a house. If nothing else you will feel good about it afterwards Target the right buyers. If your home appeals to first time buyers then leave the appliances etc, if it is a family home make sure it looks like it – create space for dining, family room etc.So that covers how to find clients – what about when you actually get them on the phone. Below is a small check list. This is the point where you need to sell your house. Unless you get someone coming to view it you will never sell it – forget people buying directly off the internet – it does happen but it is as rare as hens teeth. So when you have them on the phone be enthusiastic – what was it that sold the property to you. Prepare a list of the great selling points (features) and turn these into benefits for the buyer (ie it has a covered terrace (feature) so you can dance naked at the bbq without anyone seeing you (benefit) ) When the potential buyer calls – be enthusiastic – nothing sells more than enthusiasm. Stress the really good points in a positive manner If they ask if the price is negotiable just say “everything is possible but until you visit the house and see it for yourself it is academic” Ask them when they would like to see it – give them a couple of alternatives.
Once they visit you – the nerve racking stage – what next. Make them feel welcome – its called breaking the ice. Ask them questions about their home, what they are looking for their family etc. Don’t look desperate. The buyers will sense this and it will make a weak negotiating position Be polite and firm. Have copies of bills ready, the escritura, the last IBI bill and any community charges. Be ready to answer questions honestly and factually. Show the buyers around the house first – do not let them walk around on their own initially. Point out various points about your house – why you bought it, what sold it to you, how you have enjoyed living there etc After the first show round ask them if they want to walk round by themselves.Before they leave ask them what they thought. They may be reluctant to say too much but ask them to be honest – better to get it out of the way now than to wait fretfully for days. Follow up with a phone call after 24 hours asking what they thought. They will have had tme to think about it now and you should get an idea of what they feel. If they are interested then you go onto the negotiation and offer phase.This is a subject all by itself and will be covered at a later date. But that covers the basics So that’s it really – the instant guide to becoming an estate agent.In seriousness though I hope this article has helped you understand Not all agents are crooks – most are hard working That there is a difference between Spanish agents and UK agents That (within reason) agents do a lot more for their money over here than in the UK That 3-6% is actually the average in Europe and that (surprisingly) the UK is cheaper than the rest of Europe. That if you want to go it alone you can – it is not as easy as you may think but you can do it.To use an agent or not? If you find the right one they can make the process so much easier. There are a few good ones. There are also many who have the best intentions but don’t really know their right hand from their left, and there are others who will rob you blind if you let them But if you have no other option then just make sure you choose wisely.In a future issue we will look at the art of negotiating – what to do when you have found your dream home – from both the buyer and sellers perspective
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