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My neighbour is selling. When should I sell my house?

By Craig Sharp

Have you ever noticed that sometimes a property comes on the market and then very soon after another one or two in the same street or nearby suddenly have for sale signs on them? Activity breeds activity and all that jargon…

In the days when I was selling luxury apartments, it was easy to explain to sellers the benefit of holding off until after certain other properties were sold. An apartment building is somewhat like a suburb and the agent with the most stock can dramatically influence prices. Ideally one property would be on offer at any time.

In housing where we live around Chapel Hill, Fig Tree Pocket, Kenmore and Indooroopilly, the market is vast. So when several similar properties come up in the same street, I do sometimes shake my head and wonder what on earth the sellers are thinking. Particularly so when the properties are comparable and they’re using different agents on each listing. If the properties were obviously differing by numbers of bedrooms and other features such as pools and tennis courts it would not be an issue.

“My neighbour is selling. When should I sell my house?” should be the question to ask.

When the properties are very similar it doesn’t take Einstein to tell you that it’s not a smart idea. If the one agent was marketing all the homes in the street then she/he would be able to sell the benefits of all and find the best buyer for each and increase the prices. The agent would also be able to stagger the sales. When the properties all have different agents there’s a chance that the agents are running down the other houses in the street and working against the other property owners to get their listing sold. This would not be good for anybody.

Exclusivity, great marketing and skilled negotiation techniques are what gets the highest possible price for sellers.

I expect real estate agents to not just do the right thing by their current sellers. Agents are potentially effecting the valuations of a whole suburb so shouldn’t be in a rush to list at the detriment of values. It sounds dramatic, but it’s true.

A couple of Myths debunked

Sellers may think that if one home is on the market now and overpriced then it’ll make their home more attractive. Wrong. One stale house on the market doesn’t help anybody.
Sellers think that they can piggy back off another listing in the street that’s being properly marketed. That means the first owner advertises an open home and the second owner holds open homes at the same time – basically freeloading off the first seller and agents’ hard work. Wrong. The law of supply and demand doesn’t say that more available homes makes the houses more attractive.
Unfortunately there’s a real risk that buyers are going to wonder why so many people in the street are selling.

The only times I can think of that it could be prudent to sell at the same time as your neighbours might be when you are both aiming to sell to a developer.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

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