The HDB resale market is on an upswing. If you’re looking to upgrade from a HDB flat to private property, now would be an ideal time: COV is at its highest in years, and a supply crunch means you can afford to be greedy. But you know, Singaporeans…they’d bargain the price of a life vest on a sinking ship. To make sure you get the better of them, here are five easy tips you can use. Remember, when the market’s on your side, there’s no need to compromise on your asking price:
“I see palm trees. That’s a tropical feel and the price just went up 50%.”
1. Be Patient
If you’ve got holding power, make it clear to your property agent. This is a tremendous advantage when selling.
Most prospective buyers don’t have a home yet, and most of them will be renting. Every month they don’t buy, they waste more money on rental. At some point, they’ll realize it’s cheaper to cave and give you the asking price, rather than renew their rental lease.
Some buyers will try to tempt you with faster payment or more cash down, in exchange for a discount. Such offers are attractive, but think before accepting: how urgently do you need the money? If you’ve bought a new home and you can service the loan, maybe you shouldn’t feel so rushed. Besides, if you can’t get a buyer, you can always rent your old property.
“Why haven’t you found a buyer? It’s been 15 minutes!”
2. Ask Your Agent for Decor Advice
You need to impress prospective buyers with the house. This means “staging” the home, or making decorative changes. As far as possible, the agent selling your house should be involved in this.
The problem with staging is personal subjectivity. For example, some people love houses with a lot of fake gold and faux Roman statues. I, on the other hand, am unimpressed by something resembling the stock room of a third rate Euro hotel.
The point is, your house needs to cater to the buyers’ tastes. And that’s something your agent, not you, is in a position to know. Should the agent suggest decorative changes, go along with it. And if the agent doesn’t seize the initiative, go out of your way to ask for recommendations.
“Bad news. The next viewer is a professional cleaning lady.”
3. Get The House Inspected First
Get the house inspected and make all the functional repairs. Every leaking pipe and bad tile is an excuse for a price cut. The most common turn-offs to Singaporean buyers are:
- Cracked tiles
- Speckled mirrors (those dots that appear on mirrors)
- Stained backsplash (the part of the wall behind the sink)
- Stained sink
- Bent shelving or slanted cabinet doors
Pay attention to these areas of the house when doing repairs. If the cost seems prohibitive, sit down with your agent and discuss them; your agent can do a quick cost analysis to see if they’re worth fixing.
“I’m sorry you failed the inspection. But thanks for pulling me out when the basement caved in.”
4. Get Your Timing Right
For HDB resale flats, now is the right time. But otherwise, understanding the market is important. When you talk to your property agent, don’t just discuss the price: Ask them if there would be a better time to sell.
Most property agents are candid about this; they’ll probably mention it themselves, when they make suggestions on your asking price. As with point 1, holding power is an issue. If you can afford to wait, be patient; sell when the market is in your favour.
And in case you didn’t know, I give up weekends and grow ulcers the size of golf balls to give you property news. So show some love and follow us on Facebook for property updates.
“I have my own timing strategy. Get me the astrology section will you?”
5. Open Up The House
This is a part of staging, and it’s a simple trick every home owner can do. Before the buyers start coming in, open every interior door. This improves ventilation, allows for more light, and makes the place bigger than it seems.
Have you ever noticed that in showflats the doors are either all open, or not there at all (e.g. IKEA showrooms)? Now you know why.
In addition, you should throw or move out every piece of furniture you can do without. This helps to “neutralize” the look of the home. As I mentioned in point 2, taste is subjective; and your furnishings may look cosy to you, but cramped to another buyer. Also, less stuff = bigger house. At least, in a visual sense.
Lastly, open up the curtains and hang a few extra mirrors. Apart from making the house brighter, it also makes the place look newer. Most buyers equate glass and chrome (or any reflective surface) with “newness”, and that can disguise the age of your house.
“It does look bigger. Too bad I kind of liked the 14 walls you demolished.”
How did you get the best price for your home? Comment and let us know!
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