How to sell property during a slowdown

If you want to sell an apartment, you may find it a challenging task in the current scenario with the real estate market in India is passing through difficult times. But there are ways you can improve your odds.

Advertise locally first

When you are trying to sell an apartment, as a first step, localise your search. People who have lived on rent in the area and like it, or those who have relatives living in the neighbourhood, are more amenable to a purchase. If you live in an apartment complex, put up an ad on the notice board in the lobby or on the walls near the entrance. If you have to, pay a fee to the residents’ welfare association for the purpose. Also, advertise your decision to sell the apartment on online groups run by residents.

Then reach out to a wider audience

If a local pitch does not work, broaden your search. Experts say that you are better off informing a couple of brokers who have experience in the residential market and whose business comes largely from that area. “If you inform a lot of brokers, you may get enquiries from many of them for the same clients, causing confusion and wastage of time,” says Sajid, manager-residential services, Silverline Realty, a Bengaluru-based realty consultancy. Adds Sanjay Sharma, MD, Qubrex Realty, a Gurgaon-based real estate consultancy: “When you inform only a couple of brokers, they have greater incentive to work hard at finding clients on your behalf.”

When all else fails, list your property on realty portals. The advantage of this move is that you may find a buyer directly and save on brokerage fee. The downside is that you may be flooded by calls from many brokers, including the unethical ones.

Be flexible about pricing

First survey the prices of similar properties online. Beware that these prices can at times be misleading, as S G Raja Sekharan, a lecturer of Wealth Management at Bengaluru’s Christ University, found out when he was trying to help a friend sell his flat. “We first quoted a price based on what other sellers were quoting online. That turned out to be a mistake. We wasted six months before we realised that the actual price was 10% lower,” he says.

A good broker will help you arrive at the right price. “A professional broker will arrive at a price based on recent transactions and any improvements you may have made to the flat,” says Sajid.

A slow market calls for competitive pricing. Remember that prices in the secondary market are usually lower than in the primary market, so you must set your rate lower than what the builder is quoting for similar apartments. Past transactions may not always be an accurate guide. “You can’t always go by prices in deals that happened three months ago. The market may have moved further down since then, so you need to be flexible,” says Sharma.

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Make the apartment presentable

Spruce up the apartment before you let a buyer walk in through the front door. Have it painted. It should be clean and should smell good. Take care of small flaws such as leaking pipes and faucets. “First impressions do count. If the buyer steps into the flat and finds it in a shabby state, he could get turned off,” says Sharma. Sajid warns that flaws within the flat will give the buyer a handle to beat down the price. If defects exist, inform the buyer about them early on. “At a later stage, they could turn into potential dealbreakers,” says Raja Sekharan.

Sourse ET 16-02-15