Considering putting your house on the market? Congratulations! Selling your residential property can be a rewarding experience. Whether it’s a gorgeous free-standing home, cosy apartment, lock-up-and-go sectional title, or a luxurious holiday unit, you can make the most of your decision. Your house is an investment and with some practical advice, you can get the best price in the shortest time.
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Seeff’s seller guide is designed to help you put your best foot forward in the property market. We know that selling your house is one of the greatest financial decisions you will ever make. To help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes, keep reading on.
Here’s what this guide covers:
If your home is no longer a fit, understanding your reasons is an important first step in the seller process. Selling isn’t easy, but having a clear motivation will give you the drive to continue on your journey. Here are reasons to consider putting your property up for sale.
Your financial situation has changed: Personal finances are a common reason to commit to a sale. Whether you’ve come into money or need extra cash for expenses, selling your home can help. You can fund a larger home or keep afloat during a financial hardship.
You’re downsizing: If you’re divorced or have lost a partner, value affordability, or have children leaving the nest, you should consider selling. As part of your retirement planning, scaling down is also a smart decision. A switch to a smaller home that’s easy to maintain, has lower utility costs, and specific amenities can help you make the most of your new situation.
You’re upsizing: You want more space. Perhaps you’re getting married, have a growing family, or bringing in a pet. Selling helps you jump to the larger space you need to live your best life.
You’ve inherited a property: If you’ve inherited a property that doesn’t fit your lifestyle or needs, sell it. It also takes away the stress of deciding who gets to live in it if the property is a shared inheritance.
You’re making career moves: Work can factor into a seller decision. You could have a promotion, find your employer switching offices, be transferred to a different department, or lose your current position. You could even be transitioning to remote working and have the opportunity to move to a more scenic location.
You’re relocating: Has another region captured your eye? Or, perhaps, you’re emigrating to another country? Selling your house gives you the freedom to spread your wings.
You’ve got market conditions on your side: In a seller’s market, properties are scarce and demand is high. Need a different investment opportunity? Take advantage of rising property values by selling your home at a profit.
You need a change of pace: If your neighbourhood is changing in ways you don’t like or feel like your house holds bad memories, getting a fresh start through selling can be beneficial.
Selling your home is a personal choice. Consider your finances, lifestyle, and future requirements. You should also weigh the pros and cons carefully to see if selling your home will give you the desired outcome.
Like everything in life, selling your house comes with benefits and drawbacks. While selling and packing up can bring you joy, there are some real challenges you will need to think through. This section will help you make an informed decision and give you some alternatives to the seller process.
Selling your home frees up equity you can use for expenses or to fund a new venture. If you’re selling to move, this opens up your world to better living spaces, career opportunities, and an improved lifestyle. Just being in a new area helps you step out of your comfort zone and grow as a person. It’s the ultimate reset button if you’re looking to get a new perspective on life.
The costs of selling from compliance certificates to mover fees can be tough on your budget. However, a good real estate agent can guide you through the seller process and help to minimise expenses. Selling can also be stressful, especially for children and pets. However, taking precautions ensures everyone gets through the process smoothly. Selling up and moving to a new neighbourhood can be challenging but, again, your agent and online guides can help you transition with as few bumps as possible.
If you’ve weighed the pros and cons, and can’t bear to part ways with your property, you still have options. Renting out your property can help you generate income which you can use to pay off your mortgage each month. If you don’t want to lock your property in for the long term, you can opt for a short-term rental. This works best if your property is within an area that appeals to tourists or business travelers. On the flip side, you can consider keeping your property and renovating it to make it your ideal living space.
Selling your property has its advantages and disadvantages. The key is to think carefully about your goals and see if putting up that “for sale” sign will help you reach them. And remember, if you decide to keep your property, you still have the option to let it out or renovate it.
With knowledge of the process and a positive mindset, selling your house can be a pleasant experience. Your understanding of the property sale period, transfer process, and seller costs will ensure everything progresses effortlessly.
Step 1: Decide whether you are selling privately or using a real estate agent. Selling by yourself cuts costs and puts you in control of the process. However, a real estate agent will use their time, effort, resources, negotiating skills, and knowledge of the sales process to help you succeed.
Step 2: Set a price for your property that offers a fair market value. Do research by searching for property values online or have a real estate agent do a comparative market analysis.
Step 3: An attractive property will be easier to sell. Take time to repair, clean, landscape, and upgrade your property to create a good impression on buyers. Home staging can “dress up” your home in ways that will highlight its best features.
Step 4: When your property is in good shape, put it on the market. An agent will advertise your property in print through magazines or digital platforms like their website, property portals, social media, and paid advertising.
Step 5: You or your agent’s marketing and negotiating skills will be put to good use as buyers pop in to view your property. Once a buyer has confirmed interest, they will sign an offer to purchase. This is a sale agreement or deed of sale that acts as a binding contract between you and the buyer.
Step 6: The transfer process begins. Generally, your buyer will obtain a home loan or apply to a bank for financing. You can appoint a transferring attorney (conveyancer) who will obtain FICA (ID and proof of residence) for you and then apply for the seller’s bond cancellation figures. Your bank will then send the original title deed to the bond cancellation attorneys.
You and the buyer will then sign transfer documents. The transferring attorney will request figures from the municipality to ensure your rates and taxes are paid up before lodging a clearance certificate issued by the municipality.
Your buyer will pay transfer duty to the South African Revenue Services (SARS). The transferring attorney will request a transfer duty receipt on SARS e-filing and the payment of the transfer duty on behalf of the purchaser.
Finally, the transferring attorney will lodge all the required documents, together with the new bond and the old bond cancellation, with the Deeds Office. If the Deads Office approves, the property is registered in the new owner’s name.
Being aware of the costs of selling can make the process less daunting. Making provisions for them can help you price your home correctly.
Repairs and maintenance: Although not compulsory, you can get your home inspected, repair any faults, and keep it in good condition. This will increase your property’s value and give you more negotiating clout when selling.
Bond cancellation fees: If you have a bond on your property, cancelling it could incur a cost. This varies with each financial institution so be sure to enquire in advance.
Rates and taxes clearance certificate: Your conveyancing attorney will need a clearance certificate indicating that all rates and taxes are paid up to date.
Levy clearance certificate: If you’re selling within a sectional title complex or estate, you will need to ensure your levies are fully paid to receive this certificate.
Compliance certificates: You will need to get certifications for electrical work, electric fencing, water installation, plumbing, gas, and to show your property is beetle free. This depends on the area you live in.
Estate agent’s commission: If you’ve taken on the services of a property professional, you will need to pay them a percentage of the purchase price for their work done to sell and assist you through the sales process.
Getting through the process is the key to a successful sale. Take time to understand each stage and the costs involved. Of course, having an experienced agent on your side can make all the difference.
It can be tempting to cut costs by selling your house by yourself. However, a real estate agent will save you time, money, and stress in the long run. They are invaluable in getting you through the sales process from start to finish. Here are some of the ways real estate agents can assist you.
Get an area expert on your team: A good real estate agent has insight into your neighbourhood and the local market. They can use this to help you price your home correctly and market your home to prospective buyers.
Reduce your admin work: The seller process has a lot of documentation involved from sales agreements to certificates. A real estate agent helps you work through this paperwork promptly and correctly. They also attend to potential enquiries, freeing up your time.
Have a handle on property law: Without the guidance of a knowledgeable real estate agent, sellers run the risk of contract breaches, fraud, negligence, and even being scammed. Your real estate agent will help you navigate complex property laws and prevent legal ramifications.
Market your property perfectly: A real estate agent will help your property stand out from the crowd and attract interest by using a number of tactics. This can include professional photography, home staging, persuasive listing copy, open houses, and a range of print and digital advertising.
Tap into a vast network: A good real estate agent knows service providers in your area who can help you bring your property up to scratch. They may even have a list of potential buyers ready or source them through referrals from other agents.
Seal the deal: A savvy real estate agent will vet potential buyers and pinpoint serious offers. They will then use their negotiating skills to ensure you get the best possible result from the sale in terms of price and timing.
Anyone who has tried selling a house by themselves can tell you how it becomes a full-time job. However, with the right agent in your corner, you can match a buyer to your property without the stress.
By being smart and taking action, you can ensure your property attracts buyers and secures a sale quickly. From hiring a property professional, making home improvements, to being an accommodating host, you can show why your home is well worth a sale.
Hire a good real estate agent: Yes, you can sell your home by yourself. But, a good real estate agent brings their skill set, local market and area knowledge, marketing resources, and determination to the table.
Sell at the right time: The property market goes through various phases so it’s important to track the economy closely. Certain times of year (such as the December festive period) are tougher to make a sale as buyers are less active. Timing your sale well will ensure your home doesn’t stay on the market too long and create a bad impression.
Price your home correctly: Pitching your price at a fair market value will help you attract maximum buyer interest. Remember, an overpriced property will remain on the market; don’t let your pride cloud your judgement.
Get your home in order: Make your home as welcoming as possible for potential buyers. You can declutter unneeded items and depersonalise your home to help a buyer envision their own lives in your property. Even just basic cleaning makes a difference. Applying quick fixes and smart upgrades will boost your property’s value.
Make time for visits: Showings are an important part of the seller process. Be as accommodating as possible for scheduled meetings and give the buyer and your agent the space to view your property. You should also ensure your home is presentable and children and pets will not get in the way during the process.
Be open to negotiating: With unrealistic expectations, you will wind up being disappointed. Keeping an open mind to reasonable offers will help you sell so don’t be afraid to meet buyers halfway.
Get feedback from buyers: Talk to your buyers or ask your real estate agent what buyers are saying about your home. You can use their opinion to find out what changes you can carry out to make your home a winner.
Selling your home can feel like the luck the draw. However, by following these tips, you can take chance out of the equation and make your home any buyer’s dream property. You have the help of your seller agent and a world of print and digital resources at your disposal to get your home into shape.
Before you place your house on the market, you should look for simple ways to increase its value. This will help you receive a higher return on the property when you sell it. Because you may not want to invest heavily in a property that you plan to sell, the good news is that there are several low-cost methods to improve your home without breaking the bank.
Clean up and organize
Consider yourself a buyer: wouldn't you be drawn to a tidy and well-organised home? Clutter and filth may lower the value of your house substantially. If your house is too large to clean on your own, call a professional or ask the assistance of a friend. Begin by cleaning one room to the next. Particular care should be paid to the kitchen, bathrooms, and living room. These are some of the areas that can make or break a sale. At all times, try to keep your home clean, decluttered, and smelling nice.
Optimise your lighting
You'll want to make sure your home's lighting highlights its best features. It may even make your home look larger. Check that all of your lightbulbs are working and that they are the proper bulbs for each room. Your kitchen light, for example, should not be dim.
Natural light will also help to brighten your home. Allow sunshine into the room by opening the curtains and blinds. Don't forget to clean the windows so that adequate light may shine through, emphasising the home's excellent characteristics.
Improving your outside lighting may also add value to your house. It will not only enhance the attractiveness of your house but will also provide buyers with a sense of protection and safety.
Add a splash of paint to common areas
You can increase the value of your house by applying a new coat of paint to high-traffic areas. When a prospective buyer walks through your house, he or she is bound to pass by the common spaces several times. Hallways, kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms are the most appealing to purchasers. These spaces will spring to life after a fresh coat of paint.
Remember not to overdo it when painting your house. The colours should be neutral and warm. Also, don't forget about your front door.
Focus on simple fixes
When selling your property, repairs and maintenance are necessary. Buyers can easily detect flaws that may make your property difficult to sell. Simple repairs with cost-effective materials can help you compete with other homes on the market.
If you are unsure about any flaws, hire a property inspector to identify and repair any potential problems that might lower the value of your house. Buyers will be relieved to learn that there are no big maintenance concerns that they must pay for before moving in.
These easy tasks will assist you in increasing the value of your home without spending a fortune. This will allow you to ask for a higher selling price while remaining certain that purchasers will recognise the worth of your house.
Home staging is the process of preparing your home for sale in such a way that it appeals to potential buyers willing to pay the highest price. This phase in the home-selling strategy was created to highlight the property's finest qualities, impress purchasers, and sell it quickly.
These staging tips will help your sell your home quicker:
Clutter can blind buyers from seeing the beauty of your home's features and selling points. It might also give the impression that your home is smaller than what it actually is. Declutter and tidy any places that might turn off potential purchasers.
Things you don't require on a daily basis should be boxed up and stored neatly in the garage. Decluttering your home also allows you to get rid of items you no longer require. The more spacious your home looks, the better.
For the buyer to envision themselves in your home they should not see your personal items in the house. Items such as clothing, children's toys, and family pictures should be stored away. Make certain that your daily used items are not displayed on the bathroom countertops either. Instead, go for a stylish liquid soap and hand towel.
Fill your home with pleasant aromas
Walking into a pleasant-smelling room can have a long-lasting impression on a buyer. Stage the scent of your home by placing a diffuser in bigger rooms. Use vanilla or strawberry-scented candles in the kitchen. A batch of freshly baked cookies will also do the trick.
Place a vase full of fragrant flowers such as jasmine, lilac, or roses, in living rooms. In the bathrooms and bedrooms, use plug-in air fresheners.
Focus on the kitchen
Kitchens, as you may know, sell houses. When it comes to kitchens, buyers seek storage, durability, and design. Pack away unneeded dishware and kitchen appliances. Clear clutter off the countertops.
Paint your cabinets to give them a new look; go for traditional white or a dark neutral like grey or slate blue. Changing the cabinet handles is an affordable method to update your kitchen.
Home staging benefits sellers since potential buyers don't want a house that needs too much work done once they move in. They will subtract the cost of any problems they discover from their asking price. If they see too many faults, they may decide not to buy the house at all.
Curb appeal is just as critical as arranging any other aspect of your property. Buyers are not only interested in the interior of a possible house, but they also want a beautiful exterior to welcome their guests.
Selling your property entails setting a realistic asking price for it. There are several ambiguous ideas surrounding property assessments, values, and pricing. A property valuation is used by the municipality to calculate the amount of property taxes to be paid. A valuation is also used by a bank to assess how much money it may lend to a prospective buyer as a home loan.
The property price, on the other hand, is the price that a seller would assign to the property if it were to be listed for sale.
These factors will help you determine the value of your property:
Location of your home
When it comes to determining the value of your home, its location may be more significant than its size. The selling price of other homes in the neighbourhood and the price at which the property was previously sold are the major criteria that specialists use to evaluate a home.
Your home may be lovely, but if it's in the wrong neighbourhood, you may have difficulty agreeing on a fair market value. Crime in the neighbourhood has a significant impact on property prices, especially when it comes time to sell.
When you reflect on your experience as a buyer, you will remember what drew you to this area. Consider the following:
Buyers will indeed ask you, or your agent, these questions to see whether the location of your property meets their demands.
The value of your home will be influenced by whether we are in a sellers' or a buyers' market. South Africa is currently in a buyers' market, which means that the supply of property outnumbers the demand. In order to compete with other homes in the neighbourhood, you as a seller may be compelled to price the house competitively, sometimes much below the perceived worth.
The present buyers’ market gives the ideal chance for buyers to secure homes for below-market value.
The real estate industry is extremely competitive, especially in a buyers’ market. Buyers frequently do a more comprehensive comparative market research of nearby houses than sellers. A well-priced home will not last long on the market. Buyers are more likely to look at properties in their price range. Your home's pricing must be competitive with similar homes on the market. This will provide the impression of good value and increase buyer response time. You may even find yourself with many prospective purchasers who may compete for the sale, resulting in more money for you.
Online valuation tools
Seeff provides a variety of methods for sellers to appraise their properties. In addition to having a property specialist visit your house, we can do it for you online through our Virtual Valuations.
Our local experts can help you with a virtual valuation, which uses cutting-edge technology to offer a valuation for your house without requiring access to it.
Fill out a simple form to get started, and one of our professionals will call you to discuss how we can create a virtual value for your house. Once you are happy with your valuation you can list your property for sale.
Seeff also offers a range of tools for buyers that can make the home buying process easier. You can determine what you can afford by using a bond calculator. Finally, when you’re ready, you can apply for a home loan.
For any homeowner, a negative equity mortgage may be both financially and emotionally stressful. It is less difficult if you can afford to make your mortgage payments while waiting for the real estate market to recover. When you wish to sell your home, it becomes a problem unless you can afford to repay the difference between the property value and the mortgage.
What is negative equity?
Your property is in negative equity if the value of your home is less than the mortgage secured on it. For example, if you bought the property for R1 500 000 with R1 200 000 mortgage and your home is now worth R1 000 000, you would be in negative equity.
Can you sell a house with negative equity?
It is possible to sell a home with negative equity but you should have a strategy in place for repaying the difference in value between your home and the current mortgage.
If you have negative equity in your house and need to sell it, the proceeds will not be enough to pay off your debts. Your lender will charge you for the deficit. If you do not work out a repayment plan with your lender, you may face legal action.
What happens when you sell a house with negative equity?
Selling a house with negative equity is a violation of your mortgage terms. This is an expensive option that should only be considered if you are experiencing difficulties making your mortgage payments. You must first seek permission from your mortgage lender before selling a house with negative equity.
How serious is negative equity for a house?
Being in a negative equity scenario might put you in a difficult financial predicament. As previously stated, if you sold your house, you would not be able to repay the outstanding debt. You will also be unable to refinance the home since it does not provide adequate security.
Negative equity, on the other hand, will not necessarily affect your credit score unless you fall behind on your payments or need to relocate and are unable to make up the difference. If you are able to stay in your home and continue making your mortgage payments each month, negative equity may not have an impact on your daily expenses.
What can you do if you are in negative equity?
Consider using your savings to pay off your mortgage early if your contract permits it. If you can't afford to sell your home but need to relocate, renting it out may be the best choice. You may pay down your mortgage with rental income until your home is no longer in negative equity and you can sell it.
If the shortfall in value between your home and the existing mortgage is minimal, you might borrow to make up the difference. You may still apply for a personal loan because your credit score will not be affected by your negative equity mortgage until you opt to sell.
Make certain that you obtain a good rate and that you can afford the repayments. Remember that taking out a loan will raise your debt and should be considered only in dire circumstances.
When you think about real estate investments, the first thing that probably comes to mind is your home. But truth be told, you have lots of other options when it comes to choosing the right investment.
Let’s explore the types of real estate you can invest in:
While the goal of an investor is to profit and diversify your property portfolio, residential real estate allows you to be creative while doing so.
House flipping is a growing trend that is sweeping the country. Investors purchase properties with the purpose of owning them for a short length of time, in some cases fixing them up, and then quickly selling them for a profit.
Another alternative is to buy a house, renovate it, and transform it into a home. Renting out the home can provide you with a passive income.
Commercial real estate refers to properties that are utilised primarily for business or income-generating reasons. As an investor, you can gain a rental income as well as capital appreciation.
You may need a higher financial outlay for commercial real estate ventures than residential investments. Office space, multi-family rentals, and retail are the three primary types of commercial real estate.
Industrial real estate investments include any land and structures that house industrial operations such as production, manufacture, assembly, warehousing, research, storage, and distribution.
Industrial properties vary in size and affordability. Small to medium-sized industrial properties make it easier for you to start your property investment journey.
You have two alternatives when you intend to invest in agriculture. One option is farmland, often known as arable land, cropland, or cultivated land.
The other investment is in a company that serves the agriculture sector. Investing in an agribusiness involves dealing with agricultural products or services necessary in farming. These may include companies such as distributors of seed or fertiliser, lumber companies, tractor firms as well as processing or packaging plants.
It is essential to evaluate all your pros and cons before investing in any type of real estate. As the markets are unpredictable, investments are typically risky. However, real estate is an appreciating asset that will benefit you in the coming years.
Whether you’re a first-time seller or taking the leap again, putting your home on the market requires insight. Thankfully, the property industry is supported by a range of resources that can help you through every step.
FNB Property Barometer Report: Read about consumer and property economics.
Good Housekeeping: The iconic brand provides expert cleaning tips to prepare your home for a showing.
Care: This website’s cleaning advice articles are driven by experienced parents and caregivers.
Woman's Day: This website celebrates ‘home’ with a number of cleaning, organising, and decorating tips.
Architectural Digest: Enjoy a constant supply of renovation and decor tips to liven up your space.
This Old House: Improve the value of your home with projects you can do on your own.
House Beautiful: The website lives up to its name with lifestyle, room, renovation, and design ideas and inspiration.
Decor Tips: Get help to decorate your home with style, as well as advice for DIY projects.
Homify: The magazine gets your decor project off the ground with great advice.
SA Home Owner: This magazine provides an informed, innovative, and inspiring take on interior and exterior home decor.
Country Living: Get the best gardening ideas, expert advice, how-tos, and more.
House & Garden: This website is filled with fantastic advice and beautiful home and garden features.
HGTV: This website is your go-to guide for a beautiful outdoor space any buyer would love.
Bark: This innovative website can help you source a professional to whip your property into shape.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. A trip to your local bookshop, magazine seller’s rack, agent’s office, or a home improvement website provides an unending supply of advice and ideas. Be bold and take the next step.
Yes, selling your home is hard work. But, it can be less of a challenge by following the advice of this seller guide. After understanding the seller process, knowing the benefits selling will bring you, seeking the help of a real estate professional, and applying our best practices, you will be empowered to sell smartly.
Get in touch with Seeff for further assistance.