As the pall of economic despair descends like some black blanket of doom across the Western Australian psyche, it might be worth a little reality check at least on a local level.
It seems that as we start the year, we have only opened homes if it is a tropical rain storm or 40 degrees – not ideal buying weather! None-the-less the 2015 pattern of poorly attended opens with extremely reticent buyers does not seem to be replicating. In 2016 I have had generally very well-attended opens with buyers prepared to make offers. In fact, I have had a spate of multiple offers and some excellent prices achieved over the past few weeks.
So why this sudden spurt of activity?
There are a number of reasons;
- Buyers have been inactive for too long. People buy and sell for a reason. Another child, moving for work, divorce, marriage, illness, kids leave home, garden too big, garden too small! These reasons don’t just go away. Like a pressure cooker, the reason grows until regardless of the “market” a decision must be made.
- Beginning of the year. That’s right, every year, year in year out, there is a spike of activity at the beginning of the year. I think this is simply explained due to the fact that a lot of buying decisions are put off over the Christmas holiday period and the hydraulic pressure of this decision-making stasis is relieved come the first quarter.
- It’s time. Everyone who is a Buyer wants to pick the bottom of the market. And there is a sentiment that I hear circulating amongst Buyers that this is the year, 2016. Of course usually, when the Buyers call the bottom, collectively the bottom has already passed.
- The cafe strip is cooler than ever. More positive press and more believe that the ‘Vic Park Life’ is a real thing. Walkable communities are in vogue and we have one of the best.
- The unemployment story in Western Australia is “normalising”. Not to diminish what would be difficult for anyone who is currently out of work but the market has adjusted from the initial shock of mass redundancies and is just getting on with life. Humans are resilient and tend not to live in the past. Bad news is quickly forgotten as everyday life continues.
So, more importantly, who isn’t selling? The market isn’t all roses. There are properties that have seemed to languish.
Pricing and presentation are key. The large pool of homes for sale and discerning buyers means your home will be analysed, critiqued and compared. Feedback from buyers is brutal. They will not settle for shoddy repair work, home handyman solutions don’t cut it and over pricing is a no-go. And the buyers unequivocally will let the agent know. Poor presentation will be factored into the price and more probably, the property will be looked over completely. It’s that simple. What was acceptable in The Boom won’t get to first base today.
The best news is this is curable. A property can always be presented better. Yes, it might cost, but in all likelihood, the cost is really just the cost of deferred maintenance that should have been done over time anyhow. And the real cost of poor presentation in this market can be much greater, not just a low selling price but perhaps no sale at all.
The most unappetising cure-all for no sale, is pricing the property correctly. A seller relies on their agent for accurate feedback. This relationship is crucial to a successful sale (please employ an agent who you trust implicitly and has strong local knowledge!).
And remember “the market” is not forever. It is a moving feast of statistics, fear, greed, innuendo, rumour, and media hype. The only real things are a willing buyer and a willing seller. This is the backbone of every transaction. Sales are not driven by “the market”, but by real human problems that require real estate solutions. Tap into this reality and the selling of residential real estate becomes a very intuitive and hopefully, easy reality.