Thursday, 30 June 2016

How to sell your house for more

Find out how to get more for your house in a sluggish market where the buyer is king

The housing market is still looking grim. A report by Mumbai based property research firm Liases Foras estimates that the unsold inventory in eight top cities rose by 22% in 2015-16 (see graphic).In the Mumbai Metropolitan Region alone, around 2.26 lakh apartments are lying unsold. In the National Capital Region, the unsold inventory rose 12% from 322 million sq ft in March 2015 to 361 million sq ft in March 2016. Assuming a flat size of 1,200 sq ft, that's more than 3 lakh units lying unsold in what was once regarded as the hottest real estate market in the country .

While this may be heartening news for prospective buyers, it spells trouble for those on the other side of the table.With builders saddled with so many unsold flats and demand not picking up, people who wish to sell their property face an uphill task.

However, there is a silver lining. With increased concerns around delays by developers in handing over possession of new properties, buyers are increasingly looking at ready-to-move-in or resale properties. Interest in the lowand mid-income housing segments has picked up recently. Liases Foras found that in the top eight cities, the sales of budget homes--priced between `25-50 lakh--rose 13% from a year ago. If you are struggling to find a buyer for your house, here are a few steps that can help seal the deal.

Spruce up your home to boost its value
Before you go hunting for a buyer, make your house attractive. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer: Wouldn't you be put off by cracks in the wall, peeling paint and washrooms that don't work? The prospect of putting in more on home repairs can be a deal breaker.You may have to shell out some money to spruce up the place, but it will add more to the value of your house and give you an edge when you negotiate the price. “Even a fresh coat of paint can add value to a house,“ says Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India.

Finding the buyer
Finding a buyer is not a straightforward task. How you approach the sale will influence what type of buyers you attract and how long it takes to close the deal.First decide if you want to use a broker or do it on your own. Brokers will charge 1% of the value of the house. If that is not acceptable, go it alone but be prepared to do a lot of running around, including arranging for the registration and legal paperwork. Experts recommend exploring both routes simultaneously . “The wider the net you cast, the better your chances of catching the right fish,“ says Gulam Zia, Executive Director, Knight Frank India.

Start in your immediate vicinity.People currently living on rent in your neighbourhood, or permanent residents looking out for a place nearby for their relatives would provide a ready catchment of prospective buyers.“Your first `interested' home buyers may very likely be generated from notices put up in your housing society,“ says A.S. Sivaramakrishnan, Head­ Residential Services, CBRE South Asia.

Online housing aggregators help attract buyers directly . List your house on at least a couple of portals. “The seller must be available on multiple platforms as this is where buyers are undertaking initial research,“ says Anurag Jhanwar, Head, Consulting a n d D at a I n s i g h t s, P ro p T i g e r.Jayashree Kurup, Head of Content and Research, Magicbricks, says, “Buyers are increasingly looking at individual listings on the portal, preferring to negotiate directly with the seller.“

However, a broker with local expertise would be the best placed to generate relevant leads and will also be able to help out with formalities.

Valuing your property
Pricing is critical for the deal. Make a reasonable assessment of the value of your property . A broker can help you here because he is aware of the market trends. If you are not using a broker, find out the sale price of similar properties in the area. Online property portals are helpful, but the information they provide can often be dated and therefore, misleading. A sluggish market warrants making a competitive offer.

Zia warns, “A fairly sizeable residential inventory will be hitting the market in coming months as developers release completed projects with the new Real Estate (Regulatory and Development) Act coming into play .“ Kurup also warns sellers against waiting for prices to inch up. “In many regions, it will take at least another two years to clear the excess inventory . With new stock coming in, the chances of getting the best price on your house look slim.“

If you want to sell quickly, give a discount of at least 5% to hasten things up. Be flexible in your negotiations and don't get anchored to a price point you may have seen some time ago. “The buyer must see the value in the deal.Sticking rigidly to your price may put off prospective buyers,“ warns Puri.However, you can insist on a premium in certain situations. For instance, if an existing flat owner in the same building or society shows interest in your flat, you are in a better position to demand the price tag you seek.

Do keep in mind that property should not be sold in a hurry unless you are in urgent need of funds. “Real estate is not a liquid asset. You need to give it a reasonable timeframe to close a deal,“ says Puri.