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8 ways to maximise returns on property in a down market

House for sale

In times of property glut, it can be difficult for investors looking to sell up to differentiate their property from the next.

Nest Egg spoke with Sydney-based buyer’s agent Arjun Paliwal to find out eight simple steps investors can take to ensure their property sticks out from the rest whilst still achieving maximum returns.

  • Contacting buyer’s agents

Mr Paliwal recommended savvy investors consider reaching out to both buyer’s agents as well as real estate agents, as licensed agents seek to differentiate themselves to clients by offering access to off-market properties.

Depending on your circumstances, he said utilising the off-market space can see your property snapped up quickly as investors see such properties as unique opportunities.

“With that, it just opens another avenue of customers that want to feel like they’re getting ahead of the game as investors by buying off you, off-market,” Mr Paliwal said.

  • Fix outstanding repairs where possible

In saturated markets, Mr Paliwal said it is very common for prospective buyers to attempt to negotiate clauses, such as pest and building inspections, in order to decipher between one property and another.

This could result in a reduction in your returns or even an investor pulling out during the negotiation phase if an issue is detected.

By staying ahead of the curve and fixing any outstanding repairs, Mr Paliwal said landlords are, “more and more likely – when they’re going from contract exchange to settlement – to have a smoother period, without any price decreases, allowances or fix-ups.”

  • Owner-occupiers buy off emotions

Mr Paliwal highlighted that in owner-occupier led markets, playing to emotions are key.

He recommends utilising spaces with natural sunlight and adding little touches such as fragrance in the home and a tidy garden to ensure “curb appeal”.

“These are such important things that are often forgotten because you’re just in that rush to, hopefully, get a quick sale but the little things do matter,” he said.  

  • Give in to conditions

In flooded markets, Mr Paliwal said potential buyers look for opportunities where they feel like they have achieved a win during the negotiation process.

He said sellers can effectively present buyers such “wins”, without losing anything in returns, by being lenient towards conditions of settlement.

Examples included lowering the deposit rate, allowing a percentage of the deposit to be refundable for a five-day period, offering a cooling off period and slightly extending settlement periods.

  • Staging costs

While he understands why sellers would be hesitant to spend on exhibiting costs ahead of the sale, Mr Paliwal said adopting the advertising and clean-up recommendations of sales agents could be the difference between your property selling quickly or remaining stagnant on the market.

“These little expenditures may add up to you not having to discount as much, or you standing out from the crowd,” he said.

“It may be a better time now, than other periods, to look at investing into staging costs.”

  • Host a mock review

Mr Paliwal said regardless of where an investor is in their selling journey, be it at the listing phase or just in the consideration stage, it may be worthwhile to host a mock inspection with those in the neighbourhood.

“That way, you’re able to get their opinions and speak to them about it as a buyer audience,” he said.

It is important that investors invite people from further afield than just family and friends, Mr Paliwal said, to ensure that the opinions they are receiving are reflective of the market.

“You want to create a room that doesn’t have too much bias, so you don’t just invite your friends,” he said.

“It’s OK to have the neighbours you know, but when you start inviting people from many doors down, that bias starts to disappear and you start to get some honest opinions.

  • Price fair up front

Mr Paliwal recommended that prospective sellers do their research and understand what comparable properties are being offered for in the current market.

He said, depending on one’s circumstances, it can be effective for sellers to undercut market pricing slightly to ensure they stand out to interested buyers looking for a good deal.

“Instead of putting it up for $500,000, you can just go in straight away at $480,000 and if people are searching using that lowest filter on the real estate website, your property will be the first one popping up,” he said.

“That can mean your dwelling shows first up front, rather than the traditional ways or bringing the listing higher.”

  • Information-heavy listings for investors

If you are in a market where you think investors are considering as well, Mr Paliwal said it may be useful to provide an information-heavy listing.

“There are many people who are just extremely time-poor, and as they’re going through the process of looking through listing information, looking through property suburb data, etc.

“They may opt in to call agents first who are displaying more information.”

He said by offering investors such information as the outgoings of the property or the rental range, sellers are able to answer many of the buyer’s likely queries up front and promote investors to envision themselves running the property.

“If you’re giving those numbers to people ASAP, they can start budgeting and they start looking at the numbers in their personal life and how it impacts them to see if it’s worth it.

“You effectively take away all those extra calls and barriers someone may have to do that could be uncomfortable for them, when all they want is the information up front,” he concluded.

8 ways to maximise returns on property in a down market
House for sale
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