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Should I stay or should I sell? Five tips if you're thinking of selling your home

Financial Wellbeing Coach

2023-09-25 00:00

Estimated reading time
15 min

In this article

  • What to consider when selling your home
  • Working with agencies
  • Getting prepared early

Spring is here and with it comes home selling season – though it may feel a little different this year. After a year of rate rises and corresponding uncertainty in the property market, you may be on the fence about whether to sell up now or sit tight and see what happens.

Should you sell now and aim to capitalise on buyer demand despite relatively high interest rates? Or wait to see if the dust settles around rates or cost of living pressures ease and you may be able to reach a broader pool of buyers?

They’re valid questions and if you’re not sure, you’re not alone. We asked Senior Economist, Adelaide Timbrell, for her expert insights.

“Despite a 400bp increase in interest rates since May 2022, housing prices are rising. The tight rental market, strong population growth and construction setbacks have added to pressure on housing prices – and we’re seeing prices rising both in capital cities and regional areas. Added to this pressure is the effects of flexible work, which mean some households want more space, or fewer people, per home. Based on current data, while we expect that rate of property value increases to slow in 2024, we do expect housing prices in most capital cities to continue to grow,” said Adelaide.

“We expect further increases in housing prices through to Spring 2023 as strong population growth, rising rents and lower-than-average listings feed competition for residential property.”

It’s safe to say there’s a lot to weigh up. You may want to consider chatting with your local agent or broker to hear their insights and discuss your options.

When you do decide the time is right to sell, check out our 5 tips for selling your home:

1. Find out what your property’s worth

Getting an idea of the value of your property can help you figure out where to pitch it in terms of price, identify your target buying audience and (if you plan to buy back into the same market) crunch the numbers on how much your estimated sale price can contribute to your next property purchase.

Getting an estimate of how much your property could sell for is a great start. You can also request a formal property valuation through a licensed valuer who can give you a more detailed valuation based on your property’s location, condition and other factors. These valuations can have an associated cost. Find out more about getting a property valuation.

Once you’ve estimated where your property stands in the market, you’re ready to start preparing it for sale.

2. You may need to spend money to make money

There are a few different ways you can go about selling your property. Whichever you choose, you’ll probably need to spend a little before you can cash in on the sale – whether it’s in styling or marketing expenses, auctioneer costs or some touch-ups that will make all the difference to your property’s value.

Check out some of the typical costs involved in selling a property and make a list of the costs you expect to pay to prepare your home for sale. Does your well-loved home need a fresh lick of paint? Would some minor renovations and landscaping in the garden bring it into a new potential price bracket? There are handy cost-saving hacks to consider, like renting some lush furniture to put on show during home opens and help sell the dream to your potential buyers.

Before you blow your budget on beautiful home styling, make sure you’re across the less exciting but necessary costs involved in selling a property. These could include things like an agent’s commission fee, advertising costs, an auctioneer’s fees if you decide to sell via auction and fees for a conveyancer or solicitor. You might also consider arranging a pest inspection to avoid any last minute nasty surprises. A building report giving the all-clear on pests would be appreciated by potential buyers.

Also, check with your lender on any fees you may need to pay when you sell your home, like mortgage discharge fees, early repayment costs (may apply if you have a fixed rate loan), and settlement and government fees.

These costs will vary depending on how you go about selling your property, but budgeting for them in advance means you’ll know what to expect and where you can add the most value to your property.

3. Negotiate on the negotiables

Negotiables are there to be – well, negotiated – so use them to your advantage. One of the first things to negotiate is the agency’s commission. Arm yourself with information by talking to two or three local agencies and asking exactly what’s included, such as any advertising. Ask questions about when they expect payment (upfront or after the sale) and whether they have a ‘no sale, no fee’ policy.

When it comes to the sale price, be open to negotiating even if the starting point is different from what you expected or wanted. If an offer is lower than your selling price, don’t disregard it straight away. Think of it as confirmation that the buyer is genuinely interested in buying your home and treat it as a starting point for negotiation. A potential buyer may have more financial wiggle-room than their initial offer suggests.

You should also be willing to negotiate the settlement period. You may want the sale done and dusted ASAP but if the buyer needs more time on their end, it could be worth coming up with a compromise that benefits both parties to help land the deal.

4. Know your audience

As with any sale, it helps to know your target audience. Before you hit that list button, do some sleuthing and investigate your local neighbourhood. What types of households live there? Is it full of growing families, kid-free couples or downsizing retirees?

Play to your audience by staging your home’s look and feel to suit them. The more a prospective buyer can imagine themselves living in your property, the closer they may get to making an offer. For instance, if your target market is young families, consider staging your home to include a playroom and a fun kids’ bedroom. If you’re selling to recent empty-nesters, showcase why your pristine home is perfect for tranquil, child-free living. By staging relatable lifestyles to your buying pool, you can appeal to their home-buying needs in an authentic way.

5. Get prepared early to keep stress at bay

Ask any experienced home seller and they’ll tell you it doesn’t come without its stresses. Our biggest tip? Start preparing early. The more time you have up your sleeve to do everything you need to do, the more manageable it will be. Start by deciding whether you want to do any renovations, landscaping or touch ups to the property so you can allow enough lead times to get tradies in or DIY.

When it comes to showcasing your property, it can be stressful trying to keep your home clean while you’re living in it. Start by decluttering so there’s less mess to make. Mobile storage units might come in handy if you want to minimise what’s left in the house for the sale, without throwing things out. If you have the option to move out while your home is on show, it could make life even easier.

When it comes to the big day… try and remember that if your sale price isn’t met right away, it doesn’t mean you won’t end up with a deal with you’re happy with. There are several ways to sell a property and they don’t all happen under the hammer. For more tips, tools and insights to help you feel ready and confident to sell your property, check out ANZ Sell Ready.

And finally…selling your home can be hard on your emotional wellbeing, especially if it’s filled with happy memories. Remember that it’s people who create memories, not properties. So whether it’s just you selling up and moving house or you’re taking friends or family with you, the memories will come with you to wherever you end up.

Should I stay or should I sell? Five tips if you're thinking of selling your home
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The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.