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It pays to be very careful when your home is being advertised for sale. Any hint that you are under pressure to sell will be taken as an open invitation to buyers to make unrealistic offers. At Real Estate 1st Ringwood East, anything about the sellers' circumstances rather than about the property is a breach of our ethical duty to use our best endeavours to achieve the best price for the owners. Other agents also have that duty, but I don't think that it is always taken as seriously as it should be.
It is noticeable that many of the worst examples occur in advertisements that are vendor funded so that not only is the poor owners' circumstances being advertised to the buyers but the seller is having to pay for the advertising as well. With typical vendor-paid advertising space being somewhat larger than company-paid advertising, there is a lot more space to fill and personal information that should never be disclosed is regularly being shouted from the rooftops. Do the agencies involved not realise that their sellers are being adversely affected by this, or it simply that they just don't they care?

The following phrases have all appeared in our local newspaper:
Vendor Bought - Must sell'
Vendor Desperate to Sell'
Bank says must sell'
Urgent - Owner going Overseas'
Must be sold'
Urgent sale'
The vendors are packed...'
Highly motivated vendor seeks..'
Our owners have purchased and this home MUST be sold'
Owners have bought'
Forced Sale'
Vendor must sell'
Vendors have already purchased'
Our Instructions Are Clear'
Immediate sale is required'
While the agents would probably say that they are trying to create urgency, I would say they are trying to make a sale at any price, with the loss the sellers' to bear. Nobody needs this lack of professionalism. Ways to avoid this happening are:

Don't pay for advertising, and certainly not for large advertisements.
Don't tell salespeople your reason for selling - they may use the information against you.
Insist on reviewing all advertisements BEFORE they appear in the newspaper or on the internet.

No Price Marketing

I am constantly amazed and surprised by the sellers who opt not to disclose the price they would like to achieve for the sale of their property. What are they hoping to achieve using this tactic? In the early days when I started listing and selling real estate, and sellers wondered if 'no price marketing' was possibly the way to go, I would ask them to put that question aside for the moment and consider one or two aspects of marketing.

First, I would establish where in the process of buying/selling they were at that moment:

1. Had they decided to replace their current home with another?

2. Had they started looking for the replacement home?

Having established that they were in going to be in the market for a replacement home, I would ask them one further question:

Where they were looking, (internet, newspapers, real estate magazines), what did they do when they found a property advertised without a price? Almost invariably they told me that they would ignore that listing and continue to look for properties that had a price. Really, then, they had answered their own question. As one buyer said it to me 'If they don't know how much they want for their property, how do they expect me to know?'

We are told by buyers all the time that they really like our straight-forward ways of selling property; they like to know how much the sellers are actually wanting for their property, and enjoy our transparent pricing.

Going back to the 'no price marketing', however, how would it be if all businesses operated on the guessing game principle. If it was such a great idea, why don't the petrol station; pharmacy, supermarket, cinema or even your local doctor offer their goods or services without a price, so that you had to work out what you felt was a fair price, offer it and run the risk of being embarrassed by a refusal?

It is this chance of being miles away in their guesstimate that put many buyers off trying to buy a property that is not marketed with a price. With properties that do have prices, there is at least a guide as to sellers' expectations. Unfortunately, there are some unskilled salespeople in real estate, who will suggest that marketing without a price is a way to 'hook people in'. This is a sure-fire way to attract low offers as those who do offer will want to make sure that they do not offer too high a price.

Think about it. If a salesperson is suggesting that you use such a method, they are actually suggesting that you try to trick buyers into putting in an offer. How do you think that they are going to induce a buyer to make an offer? Yet another of the hurdles faced by sellers of properties without a price is the expectation by buyers that the sellers are 'probably wanting too much'. This, of course, may or may not be true. The sellers may be quite realistic in their expectations but unfortunately, as far as the buyers are concerned there is no way of knowing this so their perception becomes reality and many potential buyers will avoid the problem by avoiding the property.

Sellers should try to consider the situation as if they were buyers and put themselves in the buyers' moccasins. Sellers should not be too easily convinced by the blandishments of those real estate salespeople who advocate such a course of action. Those who want to maximise the price they receive for their property should ask us for our free booklet 'How to get the highest price for your property'. It is a no-nonsense guide to doing just that. You'll be glad that you did.

Appraisal Or Sworn Valuation

What would you do if you wanted to find out what your property is worth in today's market? Would you ask for an appraisal or do you get a valuation? They may sound like they are the same but they're not. Do you know the difference?

A valuation can only be conducted by a certified valuer, one who has completed the prescribed educational course and are qualified to perform the task of valuing property.

An appraisal on the other hand is simply an estimate of a property's market value, which is what you'll generally get when you ask a real estate agent to price your home.

Appraisals by real estate agents are just that. It's their estimate of the property's value in the current market. The price the agent quotes you is simply their opinion of the market price of your home and since it's not legally binding it doesn't have to withstand the scrutiny of being accurate.

This explains why homeowners are often quoted different prices when they call agents in for an appraisal. Vendors are then faced with the dilemma of not knowing which agent's price estimate to believe. Real Estate agents should have a good knowledge of the sales in their local area and should be in a position of accurately estimating the likely selling price by making comparisons with comparable recent sales.

So why do agents often differ in their price estimate?
In their attempt to please the vendor and in order to increase their chance of winning the listing, agents can often be overly optimistic with their price estimate. Engaging a qualified valuer for a valuation on the other hand will cost you money but it could be a worthwhile investment as it gives you an independent, unbiased and accurate valuation that you can legally rely upon. A written independent valuation can be a valuable tool, particularly in the current market, when negotiating with a buyer who may be trying to buy the property at a lower price. A valuation can also provide you with piece of mind. Having an independent valuation makes your job of selling your home a little easier, as you are able to compare any offers you receive with the written valuation.

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