Getting ready to sell in 2021: what you need to know

By Samantha Thorne

All things considered, the property market is about to enter 2021 in pretty good shape. But for those looking to sell, you need the best possible advice before you list your home.

We’ve pulled together some key information which should help you to navigate the process more easily. 

Market forecast

First of all, what’s happening in the market? Well, across the country, the property market tides have certainly changed. With the virus in remission, state borders opening, and restrictions continuing to lift, consumer sentiment is rising. 

Over November, national dwelling values rose +0.8 per cent, being driven by all capital city and rest-of-state regions recording a rise in values. In fact, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra have all recorded new record highs.

According to a report by SQM Research, Australia’s capital cities prices are set to surge by between 5-9 per cent. The report states that interest rate cuts, government stimulus and the winding back of responsible lending laws will be the main factors driving price rises. 

And according to ABS data, it looks like we’re well on our way, with data showing that demand for property is growing rapidly. 

The data shows that the value of new home loans has climbed to a record-high of $22.7 billion in October, up +23.3 per cent compared to the same period last year, so in many regions around the country, it is certainly a good time to sell. 

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Know your local market

While property data and forecasts are helpful for understanding the lay of the land, you really need to go granular when looking at property market performance. Because regardless of what’s happening at a national level, locally, markets can behave differently. 

So make sure you look out for new listings, look at what’s sold, keep tabs on important data and metrics, attend open inspections and auctions, and get to know the agents who are active in your area. 

Some helpful resources below:

Don’t just choose any agent, choose the best gent

Remember that the best agent isn’t always the cheapest - finding the best person to sell can actually make a huge difference to your bottom line. 

There’s no doubt about it, it can be very costly in the long run to choose an agent simply because they have the lowest fees. The truth is, if they’re not experienced enough, don’t have the best network or the right negotiating skills, you stand to lose way more than a few thousand dollars in commission fees. 

This is why it’s important to interview at least three agents before choosing who to go with. You need to ask each agent the same questions so you can compare them like for like. You’ll want to know about their commission structure, sales history, past experience, knowledge of your local market, how they work with sellers and buyers, if they have a large buyer database, what they charge for marketing fees and more. 

You can download an agent interview guide here. 

Don’t be deterred by an agent who says they have high fees - you need to remember that the best agent is the one who gets the best price for your home, not the agent who charges the lowest price. Remember that a commission is an incentive for an agent to work harder, and get the best price possible. An agent who works for peanuts isn’t exactly incentivised to work hard for you. 

Ask your agent what they would change about your home

Before you put your property on the market, you’re going to want to spruce it up a little so you can get the best possible price. Even if your property is in fairly good condition, there are little things that can make a big difference to the sale of your home.

The agents you speak to will be able to give you an unbiased opinion of what you need to do to get buyers interested in your home, because buyers will often make a split-decision about your property in as little as a glance. 

Ask your agent point-blankly, “what needs to be done to my home to attract more buyers?”

And don’t be offended by this - as owners, we have a tendency to look at our properties through rose-coloured glasses, but when your bank balance is at stake, you need to get an objective opinion. 

Simple jobs to increase your home’s value

You need to know your point of difference. While refreshing a property before a sale is key, we definitely don’t want you to over capitalise. However, the property needs to look immaculate. 

The bare minimum includes:

  • Boosting the street appeal of your home: fixing fences, tidying your yard, cleaning the exterior and tending to any repairs

  • Decluttering your home and giving it a deep clean

  • Keeping the styling minimal and removing any personal objects and photos so buyers are able to imagine themselves living in the property.

  • Making sure there are no lingering odours in the property for smoke, pets etc.

  • Make sure that kitchens and bathrooms are bright, tidy and clean - as these areas of the home can make or break a sale. You might want to even consider a small cosmetic renovation to make these spaces more attractive.

  • A good coat of neutral interior paint to freshen the entire home. 

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How to price your property

Each agent you interview will give you an appraisal, and if the appraisals are all similar, then you can generally trust the prices the agents gave you. Before you gather appraisals, you should also do your own research, by looking at sold properties on listings portals, or using an online estimation tool

Many banks and online real estate services will also offer free suburb reports. These can be invaluable for pricing your property. You can find out how many homes are on the market and how much these properties have sold for. 

How do I know if it’s the right time to sell?

There’s really no ‘best time’ to sell a property; it all comes down to your own individual circumstances and the movements of your own local market. 

While buyers have returned to the market, they are being quite selective, so you need to make sure that your property is presented really well. Agents that we have been speaking to continue to note that well-presented properties will sell. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as slapping a for sale sign on your front lawn. Your property needs to appeal to people. 

If you own an inner-city apartment that is a dime a dozen, really do your research to ensure it’s the right market to list in. The inner-city high-density apartment precincts of Melbourne and Sydney are doing it tough right now, and they are poised to get worse. 

Investors have left these markets due to degrading rental returns, so selling right now might not be the greatest idea. However, if you own a unit in a small character block that’s close to the city, your experience could be entirely different. 

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Lastly, avoid listing a home yourself

It’s one of the most common mistakes - trying to sell a property yourself. We’ve seen it time and time again, where a vendor has put their property on the market, only for it to languish for months on end, until they eventually find a local agent to take over the sale. All that time and money wasted. 

Sure, it might look simple, but there’s a lot going on under the hood. Selling a home is more complicated than placing an ad on a real estate listings website. 

A great agent will price your property correctly for the market, have a database of buyers raring to go, be a master negotiator, and will be able to tell you what your property needs to achieve an amazing sale price. 


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Peter Kosmina

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