“It’s All In The Preparation”
Before placing your property on the market, it is advisable to check on values of homes actually sold locally so that you are realistically priced. Overpricing a property deters the best buyers from making an offer or even viewing. This is a guaranteed way of turning your prized asset into a “white elephant.”
Ascertain beforehand that the property is indeed correctly registered in your name/s at the Israel Land Authority or the Tabu, whether you have been granted freehold tenure and if there may be any taxes to pay on the sale so that there are no surprises later on.
Staging your property properly can often help you obtain a higher price. Most buyers will reject an apartment out of hand within the first few seconds of a viewing, so you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Making your property more attractive to buyers needn’t be expensive, as even some basic changes can make a huge difference. Remember that water ingress problem you fixed years ago but forgot to finish cosmetically? Why lose your best buyer over something dumb like that? If you’re planning on moving anyway, clear the clutter now before you invite the first buyer. You’ll be surprised how much bigger the place looks!
Advertising the Property
· If you’re going to take photos, clear up the area to be photographed and stand as far back as possible.
· When selling yourself and relying only on free email list-serves, be willing to invest a bit of money to promote it more widely. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys!
· Don’t use cheap handwritten signs. You wouldn’t sell your car that way!
· Retain details of all applicants even if they don’t seem serious.
Showing the Property
When possible, show during the daytime with the blinds open. At night, turn on the lights before the interested party arrives. Ventilate and remove any noxious smells, especially cigarette smoke, for at least one hour before viewing. Friday viewing may also provide the opportunity of an inviting aroma of Shabbat cooking.
Don’t walk into a room first. Give buyers a little space to breathe when viewing. Don’t overwhelm the buyers with relatively trivial details. Better that they connect emotionally than be bombarded or feel cornered. Where you have tenants, arrive early so that you can adequately prepare the apartment yourself. Hopefully, you will have ensured your ownership right in your lease to show the property at any time by giving 24 hours’ notice.
The first offer you receive is often the best. Don’t dismiss it too quickly. Holding out for “your price” is an illusion usually only borne out when the market has risen in the interim. However, whatever you are going to buy is likely to have risen by at least as much if not more.
Don’t keep a good buyer hanging while you rush off searching and trying to negotiate a separate purchase, only to discover that your buyer has evaporated in the interim. You are setting yourself up for disappointment. Better to sell first with enough time before closing to search, negotiate & execute the best possible deal.
Keep your cool and try not to get offended when buyers start “tire kicking,” saying the property needs work as a means to lower the price as much as possible. This is quite understandably the goal of every buyer. These are legitimate tactics in their eyes and they might actually have a point. Such conflict scenarios are one of the main reasons sellers use real estate agents to minimize friction and make the process easier.
Don’t accept an offer without receiving a clear assurance that the buyers actually have the funds, or a clear path to receiving such funds, to proceed.
Avoid signing a Zichron D’varim wherever possible, as they cannot legislate for all eventualities. Always use a specialist property lawyer and avoid hiring a relative doing it cheap or, even worse, for free. Where they may be negligent, you will hardly be able to sue them.
Keep showing the property until contracts are signed. Over the years I have seen numerous properties withdrawn from the market only to come back on because the buyer was not pre-qualified, or got cold feet due to avoidable delays in preparing the contract.
The above information is intended as a general guide only and not intended to be an exhaustive compendium on the subject. Accordingly no warranty is given on any information herein. The writer, Ilan Rubinstein, UK born, is a licensed Israeli real estate agent with 15 years’ experience in Israel. Ilan is the C.E.O. of I.L.A.N. Estates & Investments. Ilan specializes in assisting olim acquire new and existing property, investments and businesses in Israel.