The ultimate goal is to make your Caribbean home attractive for the specific requirements of the potential buyer, thereby facilitating a successful sale. How to make that goal a reality? Here are some insider tips for selling your Caribbean home.
Setting the right price
As a seller, it is important to price your property according to the present real estate market. Asking too much—especially during a slow market—could scare potential buyers and the longer the property is on the market, the more negotiable the price becomes. Therefore, it is wise to price accordingly, especially if interested in a quick sale. The alternative option to lower the price could attract several offers.
Talk to how real estate agent and ask the right questions. How is the real estate market in general? Are things moving quickly or is the market sluggish? Does the home still require a lot of work and what are the possible costs for the buyer? All of this is important to consider in setting a price. Now, it’s time to prepare your Caribbean home to increase the chance of success in selling it.
Creating curb appeal
The first consideration in preparing a property for sale is ‘curb appeal’ – when approaching a property, how does the exterior look? Is there debris in the yard? Is the landscaping overgrown? Does the doorway and front of the building need a coat of paint? Sometimes the cost of improving a property is minimal and just requires some effort. When arriving at a property, a potential buyer develops a first impression, so let it be a positive one. A property with attractive curb appeal will definitely assist in facilitating a sale because it immediately instils confidence of the interior’s appearance in the potential buyer’s mind.
The next step is to create an interior that matches the allure of the exterior. There are many aspects to this, ranging from paint colours to furniture positioning. Review your home and begin with the less costly adjustments.
To start the process, eradicate clutter – throw away items that are unnecessary. If you are unable to part with certain objects, store them – preferably off premises. Clear surfaces and counters in all rooms, especially in places where clutter accumulates easily such as the kitchen, family room, bathrooms and closets.
Clutter makes a home appear smaller and can be a primary deterrent to a potential sale as many buyers cannot visualise the residence properly when items from the previous owner are in the way. A buyer should be able to envision themselves in the home, so depersonalise the residence as much as possible while still giving the home island character and charm.
Using the right paint colours
Take a look at the interior and exterior paint colours. Are any of the walls painted an overly dark or vibrant colour? Most buyers prefer to see neutral colours such as pastels with off-white tones. Occasionally, dark or vibrant colours give depth to a room, but if you are not sure, get a professional opinion from a trained interior designer as this seemingly simple visual element can change everything, from the appearance of the size of the room to altering the buyer’s decision.
Making the necessary repairs
It is wise to check for structural defects and if necessary, to get professional guidance. In the tropics, some structural defects that often need to be addressed are adequate hurricane clips, rusty bolts and brackets, mould and mildew, peeling paint, leaking cisterns, grass in gutters, drainage issues, and rotting wood, especially on decks and siding. If you want the best price for your home, rectifying and repairing these issues is a must. Every potential buyer should leave the home with a feeling of security and safety.
Staging the home
Once the above issues are addressed, the final step is to stage the property. Think of staging as preparing your property for a photo-shoot. Furniture may need to be arranged in a specific way and sometimes accents such as plants, pillows and vases with flowers are added for balance. Peruse interior design magazines for some ideas. You may need to hire a professional to help with this aspect as some agents do not like to give their input for fear of offending their clients.
Once these changes have been made, have a thorough look at your home from an objective standpoint. View it as a potential buyer to see if there is anything else that would help with the presentation of the home.
Choosing a real estate agent
In the end, it all comes down to matching your home to a potential buyer. Choose a real estate agent that has an international reach and clientele, as often the buyer will come from abroad. Choose an agency that you feel comfortable with and provides honest and direct advice. Remember that an agent works for you as a seller, and not for the buyer. Their job is to sell your Caribbean home for the best price possible and assure a smooth process.
You have the option to go with multiple agencies through non-exclusive contracts. This could increase your chances of reaching the most potential buyers. But often, real estate agents are inclined to give preference to their exclusive listings. This is also true for their marketing efforts. Non-exclusive contracts provide more risk for the real estate agent as the sale might not go through them and they get no commission.
Creating visuals for marketing
High quality photography and video are integral to a successful sale. Especially, as most potential buyers in the Caribbean will do their research online. You put so much effort in preparing your home, you don’t want to diminish that by having average photos and video. Also, if you have great visuals, the real estate agent is more likely to use the home in their (international) marketing efforts.
Often, we find that these photos and video also serve as a memento for the seller, providing an extra value to the investment in professional real estate photography and video.
The decision on at what price to sell a property is subjective. The focal concept is it has to work for you. Nevertheless, it is always best to come from an informed position with a thorough consideration of the entire scenario in order to make the wisest decision.
When an offer does come in and it is lower than the asking price, do not be deterred – the potential buyer may just be investigating the situation and your response. Come back to the table with an offer close to what you would accept as your bottom line and see what happens; it may be surprising how much the potential buyer may raise the offer.
A very astute real estate methodology is simply, “Let’s meet in the middle and you’ve got a deal!” after both buyer and seller have presented their offers. This concept works well and places finality to the negotiating process.