By Sharina Ahmad
SELLING a property during the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging and stressful especially during the social distancing period. To avoid hassle, simple strategies can be devised to help home buyers to make better decisions.
Although the demand for housing is relatively low and not a lot of homeowners want to put their homes on the market in the midst of a pandemic, some do need to move, and it’s not the worst time to sell.
Property insights and consulting firm Living Space Ventures Sdn Bhd director Ikhram Merican told FocusM that the best way to sell a house is by creating a perception of value.
“Buyers need to perceive your property as a good buy. The easiest way is to make it the cheapest. But there are other ways to create value. One of the best ways is a good presentation.”
He noted that sellers need to include great photos by staging the property, focusing on three to five benefits of owning the property, and ensuring their agents know every detail about the property.
“Think about why you bought the property. Use those reasons to market it to the next buyer. Ensure your agents are marketing those reasons correctly. You should also select about five good agents to market your property for you. But, don't take on too many,” he said.
Charles Tan, founder of independent property blog kopiandproperty.com, opined that it is important to understand the reason to sell in the first place.
“Are you selling because you need the money to settle some financial difficulties? If this is the reason, then it’s best to get opinions from both the real estate negotiators as well as auctioneers and see who can help you sell faster.”
Tan said the property price would also have to be adjusted to be lower than the previously transacted prices. “If the price we want to sell is close to the previously transacted price, then our property will be in the market for a very long time.
“If we are selling because we just do not want to hold it any longer, then do go ahead and price the property at below-market transacted prices,” he said.
However, if the sellers are selling solely because the sentiment is negative, then it is best to just hold on and rent it out instead, he noted.
“Even if we look at the current situation as dire as the 1997/98 Asean financial crisis, note that property prices started rising again in 1999. In fact, it continued its slow climb and has never been negative again until today.
“Now, no one knows what will happen but based on history, the market should turn positive again once good news starts. Perhaps when the vaccine is found?” said Tan.
Challenges in selling a home during a pandemic
According to Ikhram, it may be a little harder to sell your property during this period. “A house is a big purchase and people may put it off until they're certain about their employment.
“At the moment, many people in the job market are taking pay cuts or getting laid off. They will be reluctant to think about property purchases. There is another type of buyer now and that is the buyer with good cash flow. This buyer would want to take advantage of the lower interest rates now but I don't think these buyers are in large enough numbers,” he opined.
Moving forward, Ikhram said most people are fairly confident that the property market is resilient. “If you look at the large malls like Mid Valley, for example, it looks like consumer sentiment is getting better.
“I'm seeing more than expected activity in retail in the last week. In China, some stores have seen record sales after the lockdown. I expect Malaysia to be the same. This would spill over into the property industry provided unemployment was arrested.”
Kopiandproperty.com’s Tan stated that the current property market sentiment reflects the current sentiment on the economy which has now been hit badly.
“Businesses have started to reopen but the normalisation will take some time and what we will continue to hear would be how bad the business is, how few customers there are every day and how businesses struggle to pay salaries and other factors,” said Tan. - May 18, 2020.