November 24, 2022 by Dymphna

Revealed: Agent’s tips for selling in a softer market

It was an ugly duckling, but there’s still money to be made in duck.

The AFR was reporting on an interesting property sale the other day, and I thought it was an interesting case study on how to sell in a softer market.

So this property was a bit of an ugly duckling to begin with. It was unrenovated… and located next to a cometary!

Morton Road was a deceased estate. This one was also metres from the cemetery in Burwood. This was a big no-no for Chinese buyers due to feng shui considerations.

It was the original home on the block and the first time it had been sold. It was an incredible original timber mid-century 1950s home. It was on a very steep block that felt like it was dropping four to five metres away from the street. Everything was original. There were nicotine stains on the walls.

But the selling agent, Greg Bowring, from Woodards Camberwell, says that the state trustee wanted to set the price too high. They were working off boom-time expectations.

This was a sale overseen by the state trustee. The state trustee can be very controlling. They like to see the property marketed in a certain way by way of price.

It’s quite funny. The reserve price for the auction arrives in an envelope, in a secured document the day before. It’s a bit like [1960s TV show] Get Smart.

They basically tell us how to go about our job. A lot of the time it doesn’t seem to work. They go against our advice in how to pitch. Sometimes it backfires.

The phone was not ringing. The market was not responding. I proposed that we do a drastic price revision and rip the Band-Aid off. I proposed $1.1 million to $1.2 million as a guide.

They came back with a price of $1.2 million to $1.3 million, in the second week of the campaign. We got no enquiry at all.

He reckons that this hurt them.

His preferred strategy would have been to start with a more realistic price, and then slowly cultivate some interest.

If you’d done a lower guide earlier, would it have sold for more?

Yes. I firmly believe that. If we’re promoting value you’ll get buyers there. If no one’s coming through we’re not bringing value to the table.

It’s a simple rule of selling. All the first engagement is done in first week on You’ve got to look good in that first week. If you don’t, you end up chasing your tail like we did.

We priced the property at $1 million to $1.1 million, and we sold in the middle of that. There would have been a lot more buyers if we’d done that earlier. It could have resulted in better results

I think he’s probably right.

You’ve got to meet your market. You’ve got to know the value of what you’re offering and how it compares. And when you’re working with an ugly duckling, you’ve got to cultivate an interest in a property.

It’s not a phase in the cycle where someone’s going to come in on the first weekend and make an incredibly strong offer.

You’re going to let interest build and let people get excited about it.

So meet the market, know where you are in the cycle, and work with someone with local area expertise.

That’s my takeaways.