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  • Top agent advice: how to get ahead this spring selling season

Top agent advice: how to get ahead this spring selling season

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It's been a turbulent year for the Australian property market, but there are early signs that things are stabilising in time for the spring selling season. 

The shock and uncertainty of sudden interest rate rises have made way for a more grounded outlook from both buyers and sellers, and one of the country's top agents is confident that the rest of 2022 will present some strong selling opportunities — as long as vendors prepare correctly. 

We spoke to Shiv Nair, Director of Sydney's Ray White TNG, about what's in store and how he's still able to achieve peak market prices.

The spring market is beginning to look like a strong opportunity

From April onwards, when the threat of rising rates quickly became a stark reality, the Australian property market shifted momentum as both buyers and sellers held back in uncertainty. 

As people have become more used to the new environment, though, Mr Nair has seen things begin to steady in recent weeks as the spring selling season has approached. 

"What I have also noticed which is promising for both buyers and sellers is over the last month there is more stability in the market," he said. 

He's been seeing the number of buyers and auction bidders increase, an anecdote that's backed by rising auction clearance rates moving into September. 

"There is definitely more confidence in the market from the buyers' point of view. They realise that increasing interest rates are a thing that we all expect now, and sooner or later they will stop."

Another reason Mr Nair is optimistic about the springtime is a fresh urgency from buyers who are eager to capitalise on their pre-approvals before having to be reassessed at a higher rate, which could severely reduce their borrowing power. 

"I'm seeing more buyers now purchase and transact because they're nervous that they might wait three months and the rates will go up a touch more. Our market may correct another $50,000 or so but their borrowing capacity could reduce by $200,000, so they'll be priced out of the market."

Total listings on the market remain unseasonably low, and Mr Nair doesn't expect there to be the same degree of influx that spring typically brings. Considering all of these factors, it could be a strong opportunity for sellers in the current climate.

What are buyers looking for in this market? 

While Mr Nair noted that buyer confidence and activity are on the up, he also pointed out that buyers are significantly more picky than they were during last year's FOMO-driven frenzy. 

"Buyers right now are purchasing, but they are being more selective. They're paying fair market value or higher for homes that deserve it. But then there are other homes in a poor location, they're not well presented, they're dirty — those have seen corrections of more than 10 per cent," he said.

Shiv Nair, Director at Ray White TNG in Sydney's Hills District. Source: supplied

Every property will have unchangeable aspects like location and school catchment zone that can work for or against the vendor, and it's important to highlight the positives and present a unique selling point to buyers. 

Then there are the elements that can be controlled, and they account for a huge amount. A clean, well-presented, ready-to-move-in property will be vastly more appealing than a home that isn't presented in its best possible light.

"Every now and then I sell a completely original home with no renovations, but because the owners have kept the home in such a nice way, it's super clean and it feels good – those properties are still getting strong prices," Mr Nair said. 

"Then you might get a newer property but it's unclean, it's poorly presented, and that's affecting the buyer's view of the perceived value of the property."

When buyers are able to be more selective, making a stellar first impression is critical, and that means a strong focus on preparation and presentation.

What do sellers need to do to achieve a top result this spring? 

In terms of preparing the property for sale, Mr Nair said the basics of top-to-bottom cleaning and decluttering are non-negotiable. 

"I also recommend, depending on the time it takes, some minor renovations to improve presentation. A quick paint of the property, new carpet – small improvements that will add a lot of value to the property," he said. 

Landscaping is another serious consideration to ensure the property appeals to buyers from the moment they see it from the street. 

Marketing is also especially important to stand out in the spring marketplace. That involves top-quality photos and, where possible, home staging

"I have an in-house stylist who consults all of my clients before they come on the market so they can get that professional viewpoint of what they should do rather than what they think they should do for the property shoots and the open homes," Mr Nair said. 

When it comes to the business end of things, choosing the right method of sale could make or break in today's environment. In his area, Mr Nair generally opts to take things to auction. 

"The reason for that is that there can be a lack of urgency from buyers with a private treaty. It does give more leverage to buyers because it's more of an easy, comfortable sale," he explained. 

"I believe the first four-week period is your key time to sell. Any longer than that time period and the property is no longer viewed the same way to the buyers who viewed it week one and week two.

"An auction creates urgency with the buyers, especially in this non-urgent market. There's a deadline in place and from a vendor's point of view, it's an unconditional sale either pre-auction or come auction day."

Working with a top agent is more important than ever

"In an easier market, of course all you need is a half decent agent and the property will sell. But right now there's so much that's involved with getting the right buyers there and negotiating," Mr Nair said. 

For those aiming to sell in spring, getting the agent decision right could mean the difference between a dream result and disappointment. 

Mr Nair advises sellers to look for somebody who is a genuine local expert and has a strong track record in the area.

"From the vendor's point of view they should be more focused on that than those overpromising on price or lower fees. From a bigger picture point of view, it's money they can walk away with when they get a higher sale price.

"At times the cheapest agent ends up being the most expensive agent because the vendor loses the most when it comes to the sale."

Getting in touch with a top local agent to begin strategising is the best first step to make towards spring selling success.