This time a knowledge blog from my own working area as a real estate agent: Haarlem and surroundings. Selling your house in the Haarlem area, what is involved and do I have any tips on this as a Haarlem real estate agent?
Of course I have tips! Here we go:

Buy first, sell later

In most situations, the advice is to buy a new home first and only then sell your home. The average selling time in Haarlem is very short. Short of selling, it’s not much of a problem here. Well to buy something new. Don’t make the mistake of later selling your home without having already purchased a new home. I also recommend in most cases to have the entire home presentation ready even before the new home is purchased. So the photos sales text, floor plans, etc. Immediately after it is successful to buy a new home, then the “old home” can be immediately put live on Funda. This will ensure that you have 2 houses and double charges for as short a time as possible. It also limits the risk of any sudden drops in value.

Choose a real estate agent that suits you

There are an awful lot of real estate agents in Haarlem. (And yes, we at VK real estate agents are 1 of them.) Ask yourself these questions:
– Are you looking for a large firm who are market leaders in the region or do you prefer a small firm with a more personal approach?
– Are you looking for the very cheapest real estate agent in the area or do you value quality and sales experience?
– And most importantly, do you have a click with the realtor (the person themselves)? That’s why we like to show a lot of photo and video of ourselves to give a first impression of us as a person.

At my office (VK Makelaars) we have chosen to be very much on the quality of service through personal guidance. So not an inside sales force and/or a different broker every time the client has to deal with. As a result, sales results and customer satisfaction are better than average. For example, we are not a price fighter and simply charge fair and transparent rates.

Preparing for sale

It really pays if you invest time and money to make your home completely fit for sale. Repair the defects, do the overdue maintenance, clean up clutter, clean well, take care of the garden, etc. I created a separate blog about this on getting your home ready for sale. Have the photos taken preferably on a bright or sunny day.

Activate your VvE

Are you selling an apartment? Then make sure your Owners Association is active.
A dormant owner-occupied home will not get buyers financed, or will have a very hard time getting them financed. Don’t worry, in this blog I’ll explain exactly how to activate your dormant PLC and give you all the handy files that will help you do it.

Do not set the asking price too high

Do NOT set the asking price too high. With an asking price that is too high, you run the risk of attracting too few or no viewers and the house being for sale for too long. If a property is not sold quickly in Haarlem, people think there is something wrong with the property and interest fades.
What you want is to attract a lot of viewers to a home who become excited. This effect actually drives the price up. We do this by accurately determining the realistic market value of a home and then just under that with the asking price.
An example: are we going to sell a home with a market value of approx. €380,000, then we will recommend that the asking price be set at €375,000.

Do not set the asking price too low

I regularly see a property being marketed unnecessarily low by a real estate agent. Think of a home worth €550,000 that is then put on the market for €500,000. As a result, all available viewing spots are fully booked within a day. This seems like good news, but you want as many viewers as possible with an appropriate budget and a willingness to bid as high as possible above market value. Consequence now is that you may have all these people coming by who are looking in a lower price range than the true market value of that property. And on a waiting list are all the people who were just WELL prepared to pay the market value for it.
So unwise and also not fair to all those who took time off work to come and look at a home above their budget.

Bidding strategy

There are many brokers who want to use a “tender” as their bidding strategy in advance. This includes telling all viewers any interested party can submit a one-time final offer before a certain date and time. I recommend against this in most cases.

Suppose your home has a market value of approx. €475.000. The asking price is €465,000. The buying agent of the first viewer immediately makes an opening offer of the asking price (this happens quite often, by the way). Anyone who comes after this is told by the selling broker that an opening offer has already been made and one can only make a one-time final offer. This effect often “tricks” buying agents with their client into making a very good final offer. Sometimes even a ‘knock out bid’ with a ‘time lock’. This means that an exceptionally good offer is submitted far above the market value with the condition that the offer is valid for a short period of time (e.g. only that day).

One does this because the Amsterdam bidding system gives this possibility and often “provokes” it. The bidder’s exceptionally good bid buys away all possible competition. He is willing to pay more than the market price, as long as other viewers don’t get a chance to do anything on the days after. A very hard and for the other viewers annoying approach, but it often results in much better sales revenues.

If you sell a home with a registration, you’re less likely to get this price boosting effect. You also can’t make it if you tell all parties that it is a registration and everyone has until next Friday 12.00h to bid and then suddenly the house does sell earlier.

I would always start with an Amsterdam bidding system and then you can always convert it to a tender during the sales process if it turns out that knock out bids fail.
In ‘knock out bids’, homes easily go for more than 10% above the extreme market value.

Sales presentation

Always provide:

  1. Professional sales photos without unnecessary close-ups
  2. Floor Plans
  3. A measurement report
  4. 360 degree photos
  5. A home video
  6. Good sales texts

We always have 1 through 5 taken care of by Object&Co.

No close-ups

It irritates me when I see homes on Funda where the photographer has taken close-ups of styling details. Such as a Buddha statue or a decorative piece. I then wonder what is for sale: the house or the Buddha statue. People who want to buy a home know full well what they want and consider important. These kinds of close-ups don’t put the focus on the house, but on the stuff, and I think that’s very unwise.

No sweetness

We always write the sales text in a clear no-nonsense format. We do NOT do sweet lyrics. Regularly I read something like this:
“Can you see yourself sitting here already? Delightful with a glass of rosé on the roof terrace with your loved one watching the sunset…’.

Terrible! Don’t do this. When a realtor describes a property with things like this, I immediately think that there is something wrong with that property because it is so “slick. Think about what you look for when you search for houses on Funda. What do you click on first and what do you look at? The photos, the floor plans, the video and you first scan the text for outlines. This one should read well and be enjoyable. This should already give you the most important information about the property within a few seconds.

Go for reliable buyers

Nice when someone wants to pay you €50,000 above market price for your house. But can he afford it? If he bids without reservation of financing then probably yes. But if he offers this with a full funding reservation, then this becomes tricky. Chances are, the appraiser is not going to value the home at this exceptionally high purchase price. Consequence is that an application for financing of this purchase price at a bank is refused and the purchase is dissolved.

But even if it’s without reservation of financing, as a selling broker I also want to get the confidence that the buyer can pay for it. If he is completely unaware of what he is doing and later gets into trouble so that he cannot pay for the house, then we may be entitled to 10% compensation, but you can’t pluck a bald chicken.
We always scan the prospective buyers very carefully and give our clients comprehensive advice on which party is the best buyer in our opinion.

More tips?

Planning to sell your home and need more tips and info, feel free to call or app me. It is also possible to use VK Makelaars as your sales agent in Haarlem. We are happy to take your worries off your hands!

Floris van Kuijeren, Chartered Surveyor at VK Makelaars