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How to make your property stand out in the 'crazy' spring rush

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Restrictions are easing in lockdown states, the market is already surging in others, and it's full steam ahead as the spring selling season kicks into top gear across the country. 

Buyer demand is still at peak levels, but with so much new stock coming onto the market, how can sellers maximise their property's visibility and chances of securing the best result possible? 

We'll take a look at how things are likely to play out between now and the Christmas holiday shutdown and get some expert agent tips to make sure you're in the best position to achieve a top sale this year. 

The delayed spring market is 'on fire' as the year winds down

"It's crazy at the moment," says Shiv Nair of Harcourts Hills Living in Sydney's Hills District. "The spring selling season is on fire this time around. I've never had a stronger month, I've never seen anything like it."

Lockdowns in Sydney and Canberra have just ended and Melbourne is on the brink of reopening too. That's led to a flood of listing activity as open inspections return, buyer mobility increases and sellers gain confidence. 

Even though new listings are up by +28.2 per cent in the month to mid-October, total stock on the market is still way down, driving serious competition across the country as the delayed spring season kicks into overdrive. 

Auction clearance rates are high across the board, up to +81.8 per cent nationally over the past week which was the busiest since June according to CoreLogic

REA Insights data also shows that new home enquiries on realestate.com.au are at record highs, demonstrating the feverish rates of demand this spring season, and first home buyers and investors are both leading the charge.

Mr Nair says that "now that vaccination rates have hit target, the everyday seller is coming on the market," adding that "prices are strong, it's definitely a strong seller's market."

As Westpac's latest housing outlook shows, though, the stunning price growth we've seen throughout 2021 is expected to wind right back in the coming year, and the favourable selling conditions today may have shifted in 2022. 

Getting in early will give you the best chance for success

Things continue to heat up at a rapid pace and there's little time for hesitation if you're seeking the best result, Mr Nair explains. 

"My first bit of advice to the sellers in the market at the moment is speed, it's how quickly they can come onto the market," he says.

That means locking in a real estate agent and come up with a plan to get a campaign up and running as soon as possible. 

Often that will mean arranging about a week of off-market viewing so the agent can target key buyers within their database, get some quick market feedback and perhaps even receive offers on the property. 

From there, it's a matter of going live on the market strong to get ahead of the curve as much as possible. 

Shiv Nair, Harcourts Hills Livng
Shiv Nair of Harcourts Hills Living in Sydney's Hills District says making a move early can make all the difference when it comes to getting the result sellers want.

"[Vendors] really need to be listing on the market by mid-November to be able to have a successful three-week or four-week auction campaign and achieve a sale end of November, early December," he says. 

"Otherwise, from the second or third week of December, the market does start to come to more of a close period where there's no activity for two to four weeks.

"So my recommendation to sellers is basically to start listing now. Secure your agent now, prepare your home for sale in the next one to two weeks, and then launch to the market definitely by the second or third week of November."

Presentation is key to cutting through the noise

With so little time between now and the end of the year, when real estate activity typically goes dormant for a few weeks, how do you strike the balance between getting your property prepared and getting it to market with enough time to sell while conditions are scorching hot?

"My first recommendation to people is let's not waste time, let's take the minimal time required to get the property ready," Mr Nair explains.

He suggests that more substantial renovations like redoing kitchens and bathrooms would push listing back into early 2022 when these strong selling conditions may have passed, and it's better to move quickly and capitalise on the market while it's there. 

"[Vendors] may spend $100k today on renovations to then make $200k, but let's say it takes six months, or by the time they come to the market they're not getting that $200k back anymore, they're only making $100k. They've just wasted time and effort."

Instead, his advice is to prioritise any smaller cosmetic jobs that can be done quickly and focus on home styling and photography instead of larger-scale projects. 

"Let's just target the presentation—staging, styling consultations, just to improve the actual look of the property for the property shoot and for open homes," he says.

You can read more about how to make the biggest impact with home styling and staging in OpenAgent's guide to selling in a hot market

Investing in marketing is essential to achieve a top result

Once your home is in its ready-for-sale state and you've secured an agent, Mr Nair recommends going all in on marketing to ensure the property is being seen by as many buyers as possible. 

"Invest in marketing—the photos, the videos—and really do a proper launch to the market," he says.

Tapping into an agent's off-market database means they can match the right buyers to your home, while online coverage on the key listing websites is also especially important once the property is live on the market to make sure nobody misses the property. 

"That way they can walk out of the market knowing they've exhausted the whole buyer database and they've exhausted each and every dollar from the marketplace, because the prices that sellers are getting are life-changing at the moment," Mr Nair says.

While getting a quick sale in that off-market period may be enticing, he usually encourages his clients to see the full public sale campaign through to be certain they've got the best offer possible. 

"Why go off-market and sell for market value when you can launch it to the market and sell for well over market value and achieve a special result?"