1.      Choose the right Real Estate Agency & Salesperson

Choosing the right real estate agent from the start will save you time and money. Some people may attempt to first sell their home privately, or with a cheaper/set-rate real estate agency, before eventually paying for a good company and a salesperson who is a market expert.

Exploring cheaper-commissioned options may seem appealing, however the real price you end up paying depends on the time your property spends on the market. Not only will you be paying to advertise your listing, but you also risk over-exposing it to the market before eventually conceding defeat and deciding to invest in a company and salesperson with better brand exposure and extensive market knowledge instead.


2.      Shop around for the right solicitor

Conveyancers and lawyers are both qualified to help with property transactions. The difference between them is that lawyers also offer a broad range of legal services and can assist with more complicated property transactions, such as a relationship breakdown. Conveyancers on the other hand specialise in property transactions only.

Before choosing a solicitor/conveyancer, assess how complex your needs are and shop around. Enquire as to the fee structure. Is it a fixed fee? Or do they charge by the hour? How long do they typically spend on a property transaction? These are the questions you should be asking before engaging their services.

When you’re ready, engage their services early and supply them with all required documentation as soon as possible – agency agreement, LIM reports, council files etc. You want to supply them with everything necessary to do their job in a timely manner.


3.      Don’t sell within a bright line period

If you can help it, and it doesn’t impact your end goal, avoid selling a property within a bright line period if possible. The bright line property rule means that if you sell a residential property you have owned for less than 10 years, you may have to pay income tax on any profit made on the sale. Generally the bright line rule doesn't apply to a property that has been your main home, but is more likely to affect you if you have used the property as a source of income. 


4.      Marketing your property is essential

Don’t skimp on marketing. You may think you’re saving money by choosing to invest in minimal marketing, however you will quickly find out that your marketing efforts directly affect the sale of your property. Minimal marketing means minimal exposure. In order for your property marketing campaign to be effective, you need it to be exposed to as many buyers as possible, in the most suitable marketing channels. This can help reduce the amount of time required to advertise and maximise your sale price.


5.      Only make necessary improvements to your home

Necessary changes/improvements to your property can help it sell faster and assist in marketing it to the best of its ability. If there are minor cosmetic defects that are easy to remedy, for example – missing doorknobs on cupboards, broken light fittings or a cracked tile in the bathroom, it’s worth remedying these prior to selling. But be careful not to over-capitalise on improvements, you are not trying to recreate the entire home for a new buyer, only fix existing issues to help it sell well, and in a timely manner.


6.      Have realistic price expectations

As much as the property market has been booming in NZ in recent years, the market is changing and having unrealistic price expectations will do nothing except waste the money you invested in your marketing campaign. It will also waste money spent on solicitors’ fees for processing and counter offering agreements that will never amount to a sale. If you are buying and selling in the same market, you need to consider what you’re likely to spend on a new home, and make sure that the amount you need from the sale of your current property aligns with its worth.  


7.      Disclose any and all issues

When selling property in New Zealand, you are required to disclose any known issues and defects. If you request that your salesperson does not make these defects known to prospective purchasers, then they have an obligation to terminate their agency with you.

Being upfront and transparent about any known defects will allow the right buyer to purchase your home and will save you the legal risks and costs associated with lengthy court proceedings if you fail in your duty of disclosure.


8.      Prepare your home for the market

First impressions count, and presentation is key. Making your home ready for the market and presenting it in the best possible light to potential buyers, means that you are giving yourself the best chance of seeing it sold. It also will allow buyers to pay what the property is truly worth, as opposed to thinking they can give you a low-ball offer because there is visible maintenance and obvious remedial issues that need addressing. Make sure your outdoor area is maintained, your home is clean and tidy, and talk to your salesperson about the benefits of home staging to really highlight the best features of the property.


9.      Time your sale appropriately

Timing is everything when deciding when to sell your property. Different seasons can better suit the sale of your home. For example, beach side locations are best showcased in summer, when the local population will be booming and holidaymakers will be shopping around local real estate. Discuss with your salesperson the best time of year to list your property.

Timing your sale appropriately can save you time and money, as the longer your property sits on the market, the more costly it can become to maintain high exposure through the various marketing channels.


10. Sell surplus furniture and items prior to moving

When preparing to relocate, its normal to discover you have excess furniture and items when you start cleaning up and condensing your home contents. If you find you have some items to spare, now is the time to sell them.

Resist the urge to offer to leave them for the buyer to deal with, and don’t leave it to the last minute to deal with them and end up taking them to landfill. Instead, sell them on prior to moving day. Not only can you make some money for your efforts, but it can also reduce the time and money spent on packing and removal vehicles.