How to SELL your property and MAXIMISE your Return Enjoy a well earned holiday in Barbados!!!

This is the time of year when we make our plans for the year. Whether it be to get a new job. Fall in love or perhaps sell and move to another property. There are many others.

I cannot easily advise on the first two. Especially the LOVE bit!

Selling and then buying a property is one of the major transactions that we will undertake in life. It involves money and emotions. It is often stressful. We all love our homes and it is a wrench to leave them. How many times has it been said ‘I wish I could pick the house up and move it’. It is possible, but somewhat inconvenient!

As with most successes in life, appreciation and planning are essential.

If selling, the first thing is to look at the property as if you were a potential buyer. Be critical, a buyer will be. Does that gate need painting, is the fence broken is there lots of rubbish in the garden? I think you know where I am coming from. Inside the same approach applies. Is the toilet seat broken, paintwork shabby, kitchen doors tired?

Many small improvements all add up. They do not have to be expensive. Often some elbow grease and paint can work wonders!  Clean, clean and clean again. Allocate a budget to deal with the priorities. I guarantee that you will gain a very good yield for your efforts. Simply put – ‘House Doctoring’. Every little negative eliminated is putting money in your pocket!

The property is now gleaming and ready for the next all-important stage. How much is it worth? In France there is such a variety of property. It is not easy. It makes sense to get at least two respected local agents to visit and give an opinion. There are two significant pitfalls with an agent:

  • Is the valuation low to permit an easy sale? Easy commission for the agency.
  • Is the valuation too high to convince you to engage the agent? Then the property does not sell and the price eventually drops to the correct price?

To combat/confirm the ‘expert opinions’ there are a wide range of online tools and information to assist with forming a view yourself. Take the time and trouble to do this before meeting an agent.

Classically a valuation for a ‘marketing price’ should provide an ASK and a GET price. Sometimes what you ask is what you get. Often some negotiation is required to achieve the GET. I also think that buyers should consider the price to be achieved falls into three categories – LIKE, MUST, INTEND.

Having considered what the agency had to say, the marketing they offer, and the credibility that they offered, I then suggest one is chosen. NOT an exclusive arrangement. Tying one’s hands is never a good idea. You must allow yourself the option to sell the property privately. In France nearly 50% of all properties are sold privately. Agency fees are significant in France. The agent inevitably is paid by the vendor. Agencies fiddle about with this. Sometimes they bill the buyer. IT ALL COMES OUT OF THE SAME POT!

Selling the property privately will inevitably result in a higher return for the vendor. The loser being the agent. C’est la Vie!

There are processes that can seem daunting – Photos, measurements, marketing, arranging and conducting viewings, questions, diagnostics, notaires, translators, artisans, permits, Mairie and many other things that crop up. These things put vendors off and they usually plump for the simplicity of the agency. Not realising the heavy price that they will pay.

At the moment the market is quite buoyant for vendors. Particularly good quality rural properties near to nice towns that are well connected. The market is certainly not saturated. So why give a ‘shed full of money’ to an agent?

Specialists can help clients with a service driven consultative approach. We have completed house doctor projects and helped to facilitate all processes to achieve a private sale. We cannot draft a Compromis de Vente, but a notaire can.

Recently, I discussed a proposition with a potential client. An agency valued at 180,000 Euros and added more than 12,000 Euros for agency fees. Yes, you read that correctly – 12,000 Euros!!!!! Perhaps we are in the wrong business. We would charge well under half that amount for the services that we offer to assist that private sale. We are also acting only for the vendor who pays us. That is not always so with an agency.

We have helped clients to sell second homes. We count ourselves as specialists in that field. Clients who are often overseas and really need a service that can address multiple issues besides a sale. Again, vendors will often plump for an easy option and use an agency. It all seems too difficult. It does not have to be.

So, you will complete all the good work to maximise the impression. Then promptly give away up to 10% of the realised price to an agency!! Not a great reward for that effort. Consider a private sale, keep control and use the savings to pay for a well-earned holiday and perhaps that new bathroom or kitchen!

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