By Kishor Pate
Sooner or later, you will find that your ‘starter home’ no longer meets your family’s growing needs for space, comforts and conveniences and that the time to upgrade has arrived. At that point, your first concern will usually not be finding the new home, but selling your existing home for the best possible price. After all, it is the proceeds from this sale that will fuel your next home purchase.
This brings up the very sensitive topic of right pricing. In most large cities of India, what we currently have is still very much a buyer’s market. In other words, buyers have a sizeable degree of control and are also spoiled for choice – especially on the resale market, which has taken a big hit because of the government’s demonetization move.
You will need to address the issues of:
# Attaching a good selling price to your home
# Positioning the property favourably on the resale market
# Navigating away from non-serious inquiries and focusing on the serious ones.
This is where you can take some clues from top-ranking, reputed developers who are confident of their product. Such developers have no reason to shy away from the topic of price, for three reasons. The first reason is that they know they are selling a quality product and that a quality product must be priced accordingly. Secondly, they know how to bring out this value while discussing with interested customers. Thirdly, they know their market and will not price themselves out of it.
One-off developers with no real brand value, experience, expertise and established track record usually enjoy few or none of the advantages that reputed players have while selling their properties. This is why they will quote unnaturally low prices in a buyer’s market and are willing to negotiate even more on that price.
Whether the property you are hoping to sell is of high quality or not, you can still learn from the sales strategies that top developers use in order to sell your home at the best possible price in the prevailing market conditions. Here they are:
Know your market and price according to prevailing trends: As a seller on the resale property market, you do not have much scope for ‘experimental’ pricing. If you price your property too high, you will not get any inquiries. If you have placed a high price on it but choose not to reveal it in an online listing or via a broker, you may get some inquiries but they will not materialise into a sale once you discuss price. In other words, find out what the prevailing market rates are, price your property accordingly and do not hesitate to announce it. This is the approach that reputed, credible developers use with great success.
Understand the value of your property: You may have bought your starter home for certain reasons, attractive price probably being among the leading reasons. If you have occupied it for a period of at least 2-3 years, even with good maintenance and upkeep, the inherent property value may have depreciated to some extent due to the age of the building. However, the location will have become more valuable because of any number of reasons which are not immediately apparent to you:
# The arrival of better grocery shops, pharmacies, etc.
# Road development and better public transport facilities improving commutability
# A mall with a Cineplex or a couple of good hospitals opened up close to or within a few kilometres of your property
If you look at the marketing brochure of a top developer, the location advantages of the project will be among the first things you see. In other words, position your property in accordance with the new existing location advantages it gives to potential buyers.
Learn to differentiate between serious buyers and ‘window shoppers’: Top developers go to great lengths to train their marketing personnel in the fine art of distinguishing between serious and non-serious inquiries. You should be able to discern the difference too, especially since you still live in the property you are hoping to sell.
An endless parade of people inspecting every nook and cranny of your family’s personal space is not a happy thought. While reputed developers will obviously not see the inspection of new, empty flats a personal intrusion, having to deal with too many frivolous visitors is still a waste of their time.
To eliminate at least some of such ‘window shoppers’, ask for an initial discussion over the telephone and be up-front about the financial terms. Also, ask the caller exactly what they are looking for, and evaluate whether they will find it in your property.
Obviously, if they are firm on wanting a clubhouse and swimming pool and your project does not have such features, the inquiry will not translate into a sale and is not worth an inspection visit. The same principle holds true if they are hoping to negotiate extensively and you are more or less confident and firm on your asking price.
Finally, be ready to have your property up on the resale market for at least 3-4 months with a stated price tag before considering a downward revision of your price. Avoid posting your property on multiple online aggregator sites, as this will result in countless brokers trying to involve themselves and wanting to show your home to prospects. Utilise the services of one property agency specialising in your particular location, and establish a good level of trust with them.
(The author is CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd)