Sellers, stop making these five mistakes
Selling a farm: Five mistakes sellers should avoid
No matter what the reason for selling a farm (or house for that matter), it is of utmost importance to get the best possible price.
Sellers often forget that selling is as complex and potentially emotional as buying. It’s important to get expert advice to ensure that the farm is positioned at a market-related price, effectively marketed and that the sale is managed properly. This should be done timeously and with as little stress to the seller as possible.
After more than twenty years in the industry I have noticed that sellers are prone to making one or more of these five mistakes, which can result in their property stagnating on the market for months. In some cases, this may force a lower sales price. These mistakes can be easily avoided.
Five selling mistakes:
The value of a property is determined by what the market is willing to pay, regardless of alterations or improvements made to the farm or house by the seller. At the end of the day a property that is priced higher than similar properties in the same area will not sell. These days buyers are savvier and more informed than ever, largely due to the information available on property portals like Property 24 and Private Property as well as WINDEED or Lightstone search. They quickly pick up if a property is unrealistically priced.
It is imperative to look at similar properties within the same area when establishing an asking price – something a qualified estate agent will be able to assist with once they’ve done a professional assessment of the property and the area.
2. Sloppy Staging
It may seem like common sense but ensuring that the farm's veldt, irrigation areas, orchards and yards are all well managed and at least alien free. It is extremely important that the house is clean and well presented for photography; most buyers will struggle to see a house's potential if it is untidy and cluttered.
Sellers might not realise this but pets are another issue. You’ll likely get at least a few potential buyers who are either allergic or afraid of your dogs and cats. A strong animal smell can also be really off- putting to a would-be buyer. Rather have the pets stay with a friend for the day or outside if need be. A good estate agent will be able to assist with staging the property properly for show days.
3. Not working with a Professional
Selling a property is a complex process. Significant time and potentially money can be saved by working with a knowledgeable and professional real estate agent. I think the best way to know whether you’ve got the right agent is to find out whether they know the area: Is he or she on top of the latest property trends, sales prices and the optimum potential of the agricultural products produced in this specific area? Does the agent understand your farm's unique selling points, carrying capacity, yield of the crops etc?
Sellers also need to ascertain whether their estate agent is registered with the EAAB (The Estate Agency Affairs Board) and has a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate. It’s also important to see what kind of marketing the agent provides - they should be able to show examples of properties listed online by them with excellent photos and property descriptions. They should also be able to detail a comprehensive marketing strategy for your farm. Does the agent fully understand your farm? Do they make use of a Certified drone operator? At the end of the day an agent needs to properly understand all aspects of your farm to present it to a potential buyer.
4. Neglecting necessary repairs
Everyone has repairs around the farm or house that they put off for another time. When putting a property on the market these should all be taken care of. A leaky pivot, sprayer, tap or water damage on the ceiling can lead buyers to wonder what else may be wrong. After all lack of maintenance likely extends beyond what’s immediately visible.
Buyers will often use obvious defects as leverage to decrease the sales price, so it’s in a seller’s best interest to sort out these issues before showing the property.
5. Failure to Disclose
This issue is closely related to repairs. If, for whatever reason, the seller cannot rectify an issue, it’s imperative for sellers to declare patent defects (in as far as they’re aware of them) or servitudes of family matters to the estate agent. Being honest about defects or other non-obvious matters builds trust with potential buyers and declaring these issues can well save time and money down the line as the sales negotiation will be built on honesty and good practice from the get go.
A property that’s been priced correctly, staged and marketed properly – complete with the necessary disclosures – has a much greater chance of selling for the asking price in a timely fashion.
Author Jannie Fourie, Agrisell