Singapore’s property market is more affordable than ever. This is a problem for one group of people: sellers. Because according to our survey, “one day I’ll sell it at a low price to someone who really needs it” is the motivation of no property investor ever. Don’t worry though – there are still ways to sell your house fast, without losing your children’s inheritance in the process.
Work out a time plan
Wanting to sell your house “soon” is not a plan. You need to be more specific, such as “I need to sell by March 2017”. Being specific takes emotion out of the question.
Speak to your property agent (or wealth manager) about how much you can afford to lose. Compare this amount to how much the property costs you each month, and some semblance of a cut-off date will appear.
There are many different approaches to this, but here’s a simplified example: if you can stand to lose $50,000, and the property is costing you $3,000 a month, you can hold out for around a year before slashing the price ($30,000 in costs over 10 months, and the remaining $20,000 will be the discount you give on the property if you can’t sell your house by then).
It really gets more complicated than that, and the method has to change based on your personal financial situation. So again, speak to a qualified wealth manager. But you get the picture: crunch the numbers, and set a specific date before which you discount the property.
This isn’t just about money. It’s to stop you waking up at four in the morning, to down seven different anxiety medications. When you have a fixed plan, you can be dispassionate and stick to it.
(If you need tips on how to cut your losses, you can read our previous article)
Make sure your property agent(s) grasps the time plan
You can have two to three agents working to sell your house, if you find that reassuring. I’d like to tell you this speeds up the process, but that would be a lie (sometimes one agent manages to sell it faster than three, because she happens to have the right contacts).
The only important thing is that the agent understands your time plan, and is on board with it. If you can only hold on for 10 months, you don’t want the agent to be stubbornly pushing for a price that’s above market valuation on the ninth month.
Maintain, don’t upgrade
The Return on Investment (ROI) for renovations is seldom 100 percent. In other words, if you spend $10,000 on building a kitchen investment, your house is not automatically worth $10,000 more. So now you have a bit of a conundrum:
You need a good looking house in order to sell it, but you don’t want to compound your losses (which is why you’re selling your house in the first place).
The solution is to maintain, not upgrade. Fix the broken bits, but don’t bother spending on a new feature wall or redoing all the flooring. I’d suggest you have the property agent with you while talking to the contractor – most agents know what you can and can’t get away with.
In general though, the list of things you do want to fix are:
- Broken faucets
- Sagging or discoloured shelving
- Peeling paint
- Any kind of leak
- Broken air-conditioning units
Those are not too expensive to fix, and tend to be first thing a buyer notices. Think twice about going any further, even if the contractor suggests it. You’re trying to offload a liability here, not rebuild the Versailles palace.
Check out the price per square foot of surrounding properties
Check the prices of surrounding properties, in order to get a sense of the price per square foot. That’s more important than the total price of the unit. You can check out the map based system on 99.co to get some sense of nearby unit pricing.
If you want to sell your house fast, a common method is to price your unit at 10 percent below the prices of surrounding properties. But remember point 1: only start slashing your asking price when you are past your holding power.
You also need to factor in amenities, which can act as a “discount” attraction. For example, if your home is closer to the mall or MRT station, can point out that your unit offers these amenities at the same price as others in the area.
Repaint and depersonalise before you sell your house
If the walls aren’t white, paint them white. This is doubly true for old units, because blue or off-white makes an old apartment look like the set of the next Ju-On movie. Save yourself difficult decisions and just repaint all of it white.
Depersonalising means removing your family pictures, works of art, pet equipment, etc. from the unit. This helps the buyer (who is better able to envision what the place will look like for them and their family), and helps you (because you will feel less emotionally attached).
Most property agents will request you do this anyway, before they stage the house for you. So be prepared to find temporary storage space, rather than just leaving all your stuff lying around.