Selling a property is not something you can make up as you go along, all the more so given that the Luxembourg property market is very active. How to have your property valued, how to present it, and what commercial strategy should one adopt? Advice from Didier Postal, manager of the IDEmmo agency.
Valuation is an important stage that must not be glossed over. “It will enable the verification of key information on the property for sale, such as its cadastral/land registry status, the existence of easements that are attached to the property, etc.”, explains Didier Postal, manager of the IDEmmo agency. “Its main objective is to target buyers to optimum advantage, who are increasingly well-informed of the realities of the market and have an increasingly firm grasp of how it all works.”
Furthermore, in order to set a fair price that will enable the targeting of a maximum number of prospective buyers, two major principles govern valuation: establishing a price that may be referred to as the “theoretical” price, and establishing price that can be referred to as “competitive”. “While the first of these will enable one to determine a price based on quantified data and a weighted average value, the second will enable this price to be measured against the reality of the market, particularly in relation to other competing properties at a given moment in time”. There are always significant variations between the theoretical price and the competitive price.
In general terms, a proper valuation will enable a sale to be made within an average of 3 months. To determine the “fair price”, many parameters will be taken into account: the location of the property, its state of repair, and its amenities. “So an apartment located in Esch/Alzette with a surface area equivalent to one located in Luxembourg ville will not have the same estimated price. Furthermore, the year of construction will also have an influence on the price: older properties will need to be examined in relation to their co-ownership charges: are there replacements or are there one-to-one interviews to be had? This budgetary envelope will influence the sale price”.
In order to optimise the sale, it is essential to present the property well. “In this respect, we believe that three points are important: the first consists of being able to present the administrative aspect of the property”. The future vendor must present to visitors the energy passport, the plans of the residence, the cadastral/land registry status, and, as appropriate, a series of invoices that substantiate the internal design décor or exteriors of the property. “In the case of co-owned property, it is necessary to consider the last 3 General Meeting reports in order to have an understanding of how this all works. And in the case of a sale involving a property newer than 10 years old, it is necessary to think about being able to provide evidence of the existence of the ten-year/decennial guarantee”.
There is the question of the fitting out and décor of the property: does this have an impact on price? “it is therefore necessary to find the right compromise between a high quality décor and a luxury décor, as there is a cost difference, this will not necessarily be reflected in the valuation”. During visits to the property it is important to present it in its true state through a décor of quality, with a maximum depersonalisation of the interior living spaces. “We are thinking here of “home staging” which, time and time again, has demonstrated its worth. For example, consider smells, lighting, the accessibility of the rooms, and the presentation of the rooms should be as uncluttered as possible, as the vendor (should) have “nothing to hide” from the prospective buyer”. Also, should one “renovate” before putting a property on the market? “We think not. On the one hand, the outlay on the works will not necessarily produce a result that meets the expectations of the buyer’s tastes. On the other it is always more “appropriate” to have the property seen in its “normal” state in the sense that if there are apparent defects, such as traces of damp, it is important that the prospective buyer can see them!”
When creating advertisements it is a good idea to have good-looking photos of the property. Here too, the right balance must be struck between a standard photo and a high quality professional photo. “The idea is to be able to convince the prospective buyer to visit the property, while retaining further nice surprises for them when they do so”.
Finally, the vendor needs to configure “the background” for the potential buyer by providing them with a set of information on the environs of the property: the existence of a crèche nearby, or a school, bus routes, or public transport in the district, the presence of shops/superstores, etc.
One should not expect to sell “from one day to the next” without having considered a plan! “If you own a house, it is a good idea to set the date for the launch of the sale during the good weather, because in spring the market for this type or property starts to take off again, and your external spaces are shown off to better effect at this time of year”.
In addition, it is necessary to consider how to present what you are selling. What will your distribution channel be? Our view is that the internet is not the answer to everything and that one should diversify the methods used. A presentation in a commercial brochure therefore makes complete sense, as does detailed information on the district which places the property in context”.
There is another burning question: should you present your property via a professional intermediary? “The answer to this is a big YES, but there is a “but”! One needs to be clear about the term “professional”. There are many parameters to be checked: is my intermediary properly qualified to fulfil their mission? You can ask them to demonstrate their credentials at the first meeting. Do they have the necessary tools to fulfil their mission? Is their property agency correctly referenced? Are they good in their field? In order to find this out: watch them in their commercial approach and you will see how they intend to proceed in order to earn your confidence. What will they promise to do for you? After all, the sale is still dependent on a third party! All one can do is to promise to do all one can in the hope of success… ”
In conclusion, putting a property up for sale is quite an adventure, and one cannot improvise. “What one must be able to offer the vendor/owner is a combination of methodology and talent”. It all comes down to mastering the rules of the game and being able to use them with conviction in order to achieve success!
From Emilie Di Vincenzo