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Expensive vendor mistakes and errors

June 25, 2015

It should be happy days if you’re selling your property in our two biggest markets, Sydney and Melbourne.  Demand is remarkably strong, buyers are hungry and auction clearance rates are at a generational high. There’s every reason a vendor can expect to achieve a strong price and do so in a relatively short time frame.

So if you are a vendor there really isn’t an excuse for getting it wrong in these circumstances. But I’ve no doubt many vendors will.  Through their own sins they will collect fewer dollars for their property and more heartache and grey hairs than is necessary.

Drawing on some theological inspiration, let me outline seven seller’s sins. Note these are mistakes that I see at every point in the property cycle.

Greed. This is the vendor who wants too much for their property, regardless of market conditions. They can’t recognise when they have secured a great deal and are always wanting another 5 to 10% more than they are going to get.  Invariably, negotiations break down and they eventually agree to a similar (or worse) offer several weeks or even months later.

Sloth. This actually covers a couple of poor behaviours.  It’s the procrastination when key, time-sensitive decisions need to be made. It’s also being too lazy to present the property as well as possible when it is open for inspection.

Pride. An overly-proud vendor is one who treasures their privacy more than obtaining an optimal sales outcome. They want to dictate unreasonable terms such as only allowing a property to be open for inspection when it suits them, trying to exclude sticky-beak neighbours from attending opens, and selecting a sub-optimal method of sale because it doesn’t suit their lifestyle. They jeopardise a promising offer by refusing early access to the property for the putative owner to allow prospective tenants through or by being inflexible on the settlement period.

Wrath. This isn’t so much about vendors who fly into incandescent rage at the drop of a hat – though we’ve all met them! It’s more a lack of dispassion in their dealings.  It’s the vendor who takes every piece of candid advice from an adviser about their property as a personal affront. Rather than respecting the honesty and expertise of the professional, they become offended and obstructive. They end up being represented by the obsequious and mediocre, which rarely ends well.

As well as these four classic sins, here are three more modern ones:

Detachment. It’s the vendor who isn’t truly engaged in the process.  Their behaviour suggests they don’t really care if they sell or not.  Putting aside the money they could be wasting and the sheer inconsideration of not respecting the efforts of others, it often turns out that the detachment is more short-sightedness than insouciance. When self-inflicted failure finally occurs these aloof sinners are often jolted out of their fog of indifference and become quite upset.

Untrusting. We’ve all developed a healthy scepticism when interviewing potential candidates to undertake important work for us, and that includes engaging an estate agent.  It’s naturally right to test those claims and promises pitched to us in an interview and to thoroughly check credentials before hiring.  What isn’t healthy is to remain eternally mistrustful.  A successful sales campaign requires a vendor to empower their agent to do the best job.  Vendors who don’t listen to their advisers often fail.

Wilful ignorance. Whilst one should trust one’s advisers, it is incumbent on a vendor to have a reasonable grasp of the specific property market they are planning to engage with.  Without this knowledge one can’t establish a healthy partnership with the advising estate agent. It won’t be possible to ask the intelligent questions that will help the agent to shape the best campaign.  In the most extreme circumstances, wilful ignorance risks being shafted by an unscrupulous operator. In this day and age it isn’t hard to become enlightened.  At a minimum, keep track of recent sales of similar properties in your locale. Richard Wakelin

Planning to sell? Talk to Wakelin Property Advisory about how we can help you with the process. Click here to read the process we undertake. Note, for those outside Victoria, we have associates in other states we can recommend.