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Six mistakes you can avoid as a buyer and seller

By Peter Gow

Buying and selling a home is not something most people do more than a few times in their lives.

It’s easy to make basic errors or assumptions when you’re not used to the real estate market, which has some unique facets.

Some behaviours tend to crop up time and again. To help make the transaction go as smoothly as possible, we’ve drawn up a list of the five most common mistakes.

Timing the market

Don’t guess when the market will hit the bottom of the cycle. No one knows that, but we can all speculate about it endlessly. You lay an expensive bet by timing the market. Instead, buy when you find your ideal property. Please don’t lose it because you thought it might be $10,000 cheaper next month.

Listening to your dad

Family and friends mean well, but they’re unlikely to be real estate experts. It’s best to discuss your plans with a local agent who understands your area’s current price trends and buyer interest activity. Don’t rely on national averages as a benchmark of knowledge.

In the queue

When interest rates rise, obtaining a loan becomes a more stringent process. The days of lenders promising 24-hour turnarounds are gone. Begin seeking finance as early as possible. You can approach individual lenders or use a mortgage broker/advisor to find you a deal.

Legal eagle

This applies to the buyer and seller: double down on the details in your sales contract. It must reflect all the agreed contingencies and spell out the trust account into which your deposit will be placed. Your solicitor should be across the detail, but so should you. If it’s not in the contract, it doesn’t exist.

Sales methodology

For sellers, this is a critical part of your decision-making. While choosing a great agent is essential, you need to be confident with how your home will be sold. Typical approaches include private treaty, auction and off-market, in which a property isn’t publicly listed but held back for the most serious buyers. Agents will offer various pricing tactics, too.

Five-star experience

It’s easy to turn buyers away: Show them an untidy, rundown property with an unrealistic price, and they’ll flee. And that’s crazy because it cost you marketing dollars to attract them to your front gate. At the very least, clean the property up. Declutter, wheel the bins around the back, cut the lawn, trim the hedge, put the dishes away, and hide toys, dirty laundry and signs of pets. All the little tasks make a big difference.

NOTE: The information in this article is general in nature and provided as a general overview  only. Always consult your financial advisor or accountant for advice specific to your personal circumstances.

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