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How long does it take to sell a house?

By George Hadgelias

To sell or not to sell? That is the question.

From market trends and interest rates to lending criteria and personal finances, there are many factors to consider when deciding whether to sell your house – especially in a changing property landscape like the current one.

We take a look at what to consider, and offer some tips and advice.

What are the key things that make people sell?

Ric Serrao, principal and licensee at Raine and Horne Double Bay, says there’s a myriad of reasons why people across the country look to sell their home. They include:

  • desire for a change of scenery – to the beach, country, or simply somewhere different
  • a wish to upgrade to a bigger, better property
  • a relationship breakdown
  • financial considerations
  • a change in employment location
  • moving overseas.

What signs should I look for in the market?

When weighing up whether to sell or not, Serrao says owners should focus on the supply versus demand equation, as well as broader market conditions, like what’s happening with recent sales and interest rates.

“The supply and demand question is key. Is there much competition that’s equal to your property on the market at the moment?” he asks.

While many people think the cooler months are a bad time to sell, if there’s less stock on the market, competition for properties is fiercer and results are better, Serrao explains.

“At the moment, stock levels are generally down. A lot of clients are thinking they’ll wait until spring to sell, [because] we all have this herd mentality – that the garden’s beautiful in spring and that it’s the best time to sell … but there’s also a lot more supply then, so it’s worth thinking about.”

Potential sellers should ensure they’re across how much local houses are typically selling for, as well as other broader trends, like interest rates and lending criteria, which have an impact on how much money buyers have to spend.

What are interest rates doing?

Post-election, the market is expecting a drop in interest rates, which will be good for property sales, Serrao says.

“Since the election, I think there has been a big shift, a positive one. Everyone is talking about a potential rate cut at some stage this year and APRA (the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) has released advice saying they are relaxing certain funding criteria.

“If funding starts to be a little bit more relaxed, then their borrowing capacity is going to be better.”

And if people can borrow more, they can spend more on houses.

What your agent should know …

Serrao says a good agent will research all the key facts about a property, like land size, zoning and previous renovations, but those looking to sell should be as open as possible.

“Transparency is always a good thing,” he says.

“If, for example, the client has a timeline to work towards, they should discuss this, because then the agent can advise them [on] what would be best from a strategy and process point of view.”

Serrao adds that it’s also important to let the agent in on any “local intel”, like when the street is busiest for traffic, or what the light is like at certain times of day. That way, they can schedule a time for the open for inspection that shows the property in its best possible light, and provide detailed, useful information to prospective buyers.

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