1. Be Informed/Be Ready
Be sure you have all of your documents for the sale. This mean you should have a bound packet of documents showing the property has been properly registered at time of the purchase. It is beneficial to have scans and copies of your Escritura, current Cedula Catastral, Plano Catastral, passport and residency card. Most importantly, have the originals ready to be delivered to the notario of the buyer at time of offer.
Several months after you close on your property, you should have received the documents of your house. If you did not, stop reading and call your Notario office. Currently it takes about 4 months to get this packet of documents.
Know your property. If you do not know, how is your agent going to know. Has your roof been sealed regularly? Where is the septic tank? The age of the renovation?etc… You as the seller should know your home. If you do not know, ask a professional contractor to assist.
Have a plan in place for when the offer is made. Be sure you know what the next step is after your sale the property. Have a rental, movers, etc… lined up.
And know the closing process. You bought the house, you should know what is going to happen when you go to sale it. If not, ask a professional. You do not want any surprises.
For a seller, you want to move fast to get the property under contract once an offer is made. Being prepared means you will not be slowing down the purchase.
2. Value of Your Property
Your goal is to get a fair market value out of the property.
Selling a property can be very personal and emotional which can leads to an unfounded opinions of what your property is worth. Ultimately your property does have a market value. Seek professional assistance to determine the value of the property.
Size of the land, the amount of construction, quality, location and amenities all are factors to consider when determining a value of a property.
Know what your potential Capital Gains Tax situation is. This is a good conversation to have with the Notario office who assisted you with the purchase of the property. Unfortunately agents can not calculate your capital gains tax bill. But we can advise you on the different strategies to exempt or reduce your Capital Gains Tax bill.
Sellers should have an understanding of Capital gains before listing the property.
4. Prepare The Property!
The condition of the property directly affects the value.
Two most common questions from buyers. “Has the roof been sealed” and “has the septic been cleaned out”.
Remember, The Yucatan is very affordable, but in other places, hiring someone to do a small repair can be a huge expense. New coat of paint, small repairs, and cleaning can add so much value to the property. From the perspective of a a foreign buyers, take the cost of the repair and multiply by 10 or 50 or even maybe a 100. That is what a buyer is thinking. They are thinking how expensive repairs are back home. Repainting the house may cost 20,000 pesos, but the market value could be 100,000 pesos. Unsealed roofs, broken doors, etc.. can really lower the value of a property.
Be sure everything is operating properly. Lights, Fans, A/C etc… No wobbly fans and no burnt out light bulbs. These are the most common problems and give the buyers an immediate sense the house is not property maintained.
If the property is an unrenovated home or just a piece of land, clearing it of debris and overgrowth can greatly assist with the sale.
5. Stage The Property
Sellers should declutter and stage their homes. The furnishings should enhance the home, not devalue or distract. Personal photos, and excessive decor should be eliminated. Give the buyer the ability to see the property as their own.
The house should be bright, clean and appealing. Remove anything that does not achieve this goal.
Odd but important details, all light bulbs should be the same color. Do not mix cool lights, with warms lights and fluorescent in one space. Eyes and cameras can not adjust which can cause odd lighting situations.
Have some kind of air freshener for showings. This really helps as well.
6. What should be included?
Buyer’s have expectations of what should be included with the home. A high end home should include appliances, washer/dryer, A/C, fans, filtered pool, pressurized water and water softener all from known and trusted brands. High priced homes should not have cheap appliances and off brand A/C units, but products that match the quality of the house.
Do not have damaged, rusted or broken appliances of any kind in the home, no matter what the price point of the property.
Educate yourself what should offer with your property. Agents can help you with this.
7. Give the Buyers Space
Do not attend showings. Do not engage the buyer. This is the most important thing a seller can do. If there is nothing else on this list that a seller does for the sale, disengage from the buyers should be the one thing they should follow.
Many sellers are thrown off the fact that I as an agent do not speak much as a showing. Therefore, they feel the need to speak on my behalf. I have never sold a property where a seller engaged the buyer. So there must be a good reason. All successful sales have come from showings when I can do my job without the interruption of a seller.
Sellers should have a plan of what to do during a showing. Go sit in the car or go for a walk. If a seller can not leave the property, then they should find a quiet spot out of the way to sit. Refuse to engage the best you can without being rude.
This applies to caretakers, property managers, friends with the keys, etc… As a seller, you should inform those assisting you to not engage the buyers. This includes renters as they will certainly complain about something during the showing.
Pets should be taken out of the property as well. Cats maybe ok, but dogs definitely should be taken on a walk or go for a car ride. They can distract from the showing especially the agents who might be dog lovers..
8. Turn everything on!
When there is a showing, everything should be turned on. Includes fans, light, accent light, indoors and out, pool filtration and A/C. This is the time to show that the house works. Sellers should not follow the buyer and agent around turning everything off as they leave each room. The buyer is there to see a product and if it works.
Even on the sunniest day, it is important to have all the lights on. The bright sun of the Yucatan can actually make a house look dark. The eyes can not adjust. Having all the lights on will make the house look bright and functional. This goes back to having all the lights operational and the same color bulbs installed.
If no one lives at the property, everything should be turned on before the showings even if it is hours before. Then the agent can turn everything off at the end of the showing.
9. Be Patient
The real estate market here in the Yucatan is not know for speed. While occasionally a house may quickly sell, most will take time to receive an offer. A competitive price should result in a quick sale. But time of year, location, and other factors can cause the property to take longer to sell. If the property is not selling as fast than the seller would like, a review of the price and offer should take place.
10. Be Focused
Besides being patient, keep focus. Do not suddenly decide to add a third bedroom, or change the colors, etc… Why, because you can not show the property while these changes take place. Do not do anything that changes the offer or takes the property off the market unless it is a very quick improvement such as new refrigerator.
Most importantly do not RAISE the price. Present your property to the market and stand behind it. Stay focus on the sale. Temporary pricing, Black Friday sale, constantly changing the inclusions etc… creates difficulty in promoting the property. The only acceptable change to the offer is a permanent price reduction.
Also do not take the property temporarily off the market, just because you are leaving town for a week or some other reason.
11. Never Miss a Showing
Sellers have canceled or refused a showings over headaches, day at the beach, dog grooming appointments, etc… I have gotten every excuse imaginable for not showing a property. Most common is traveling. Not much is needed to say what results from missed appointments. Missed appointments mean no offers, which results sitting longer on the market.
Agents have less incentive to promote a property that can not be shown. Why should an agent do paid advertisement for a property that can not be shown or encourage buyers to be interested in a property that can not be shown?
There is always a solution that can be found to show the property. Sellers must accommodate the buyer as most are on a tight timeline. And that is how real estate works. A house is for sale, a buyer goes to visit the home at their convenience.
Also sellers should consider what happens to the agent for refused showings. It makes them look unprofessional and creates distrust with their client. Buyers can not imagine why they can not see the house. They begin to wonder is it the seller or the agent. A missed appointment could cause an agent to lose a client. The repercussions of a missed appointment to your agent can be quite costly to them professionally and financially.
12. Be Positive. Have a Good Attitude
Doing business successfully in Mexico is always about kindness. A pleasant disposition in the interactions with agents, attorneys and other professionals who are assisting with your sale will get you much further than trying to aggressive approach. Make sure you are a client that people want to work with.
Most appointments are not going to result in an offer, but it only takes one. Being overly negative about showings not resulting in an offer only makes your agent job more difficult.
And remember, it is just business, no reason to take someone not liking you home to heart. Not everyone will want to buy your home, but it only takes one.
13. Be Honest
Be upfront and honest to the professionals who are trying to assist you. Oddly enough, sellers will lie about taxes, documents, being the actual owner, the last time a roof has been sealed, etc…
The most common white lie from sellers is “I have another offer…” How original, no agent has every heard that one before. This ploy creates distrust between the seller and buyers.
Truth will come out at some point. Agents are here to help, not judge or discipline. Lies will scare off buyers and eventually agents and attorneys.
A dishonest seller can put an agent’s reputation at risk. It will be hard for them to continue to work with you if they feel at risk on being put into a situation that makes them look unprofessional.
14. List Your Property
Get referrals of reputable agents to represent your property.
An agent should be honest and professional, offer well written listing with excellent photography, have social media presence, have a professional website and have a marketing plan in place to attract buyers. They should have an outstanding reputation among the community.
The home should look well represented by all the agents you list with. If one agent has the house looking spectacular, bright, spacious and another has it looking like a dark and small, a potential buyer could be confused and turned away from the property.
You should be signing a listing agreement with the agent/agency to define your professional relationship with your listing agent. Defining the commission, price, contact information, terms of service and ethics.
Do not list your property with someone you never heard of that can not provide referrals and a current website. Ask around about agents who maybe unknown to you.
Do not over list. Work with a small group of agents/agencies. Inviting a huge amount of agents to represent can invite problems. You may find that your property is being advertised at the wrong price, or someone dishonest could find their way into your home. Also over exposure can be a negative.
Keep track of the agents representing your property and keep in touch with them. Ask to see their listings of your property and save the links.
Keep an eye out for agents/agencies representing your property to whom you never gave permission to list the property. You should take action if this does occur. It is important to keep control over your property on the market.
15. Renting while the property is active on the market
Do you want to sell or rent? It is really hard to do both successfully. Renters normally do not accommodate showings which again result in missed showings. Plus renters are messy, distracting, rude or overly friendly and many time end up engaging the buyer which interrupts the showing.
Renters also many times complain about things that are true about any home. Neighbor dog barking, car alarm, traffic noise, occasional insect, etc… or they point out something that may not be working 100%.
“The tile in the guest closet is cracked.” Yes that was said in a real showing before by a renter.
I once had a listing which the house had two adjoined apartments. It was clear the tenants in the apartments did not want the sale to ever take place as they always managed to wash their under garments on the day of the showing and freely hung up the undergarments around the apartments. 100% true story.
16. Only Accept Clean Deal
Ultimately you will receive an offer.
When you do get an offer, the terms of the deal should be clean and simple.
1. Offer 2. Contract 3. Deposit 4. Closing.
No promises, do not agree to “I will be back in two weeks, please wait”. Someone wants to buy your house. A contract should be signed and a nonrefundable deposit of 10% of the purchase price should be made.
Within a day or two a draft of a contract of sale should be presented. Within a week of the contract it should be signed following with the deposit which should be received in 5 days after.
Sometimes a property can be put under contract in a few days, but it could take about 10 business days. A little patience is needed. If there is an expected delay, sometimes a small earnest deposit will be given until the contract can be executed.
And buyer should have a experienced, reputable Notario office representing them. Poor legal representation of the buyer will result in a bad experience for the seller. As part of the offer. Who is representing the buyer should be asked? And possibly who the Notario will be should be negotiated if there is a lack of confidence in the legal representation of the buyer.
A very important concept I tell buyers about the market here in the Yucatan is that they are buying property “AS IS”. Seller should be offering the property “AS IS”. This goes back to preparing. Do not promise to paint something or fix something at time of offer. What will you do it you paint the whole house as a condition for the sale of the property and the buyer does not find the work satisfactory and the buyer refuses to close? Do not put yourself in risk of being in this situation. Either do the repairs before the house is listed or price the house to reflect the current conditions of the property.
17. Common Mistakes
– Over Pricing the property.
Being greedy, desperate for money or just out of touch of the market.
A seller has financial loses in the renovation process or with the purchase of the property and tries to recover those cost with the sale.
Comparing homes through internet searches. It is impossible to compare homes through the internet. There could be reasons a house is priced significantly more that can not be seen in the listing. Also a listing the seller is using to compare could be overpriced.
-Being overly negative or rude.
-Attacking the real estate industry publicly on Facebook or in general.
– Not being prepared, therefore they can not accept an offer in a timely manner. Sellers can not expect buyers to wait a week for a acceptance. 24 to 48 hours max.
-Purposely dragging their feet in hopes a better offer will come in. Slow moving sellers can cause nerves to rattle and deals to fall apart.
-Accepting verbal agreements to remove a property from the market. Only 10% deposit should be acceptable reason to remove a property from the market. A courtesy of a few days after a verbal agreement is given is normal.
– Holding out for a better offer when a good offer has be received. This offer is just a little below expectations, yet the seller refuses.
– Neglecting the property. Locking and leaving a property on the market with no one around to maintain it. Property should be maintained at the condition as it was in at time it was listed.
Thank you for reading my blog!
Yucatan Beach and City Property is your trusted professional in real estate no matter if you have a house for sale or you are buying a house. We provide the top real estate services in the Yucatan including Merida and the surrounding coastal communities.
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