Selling your home and struggling to get a buyer? It is probably overpriced, so do this instead

Two major issues can hamper you from selling your property. Picture: Vernon Pillay

Two major issues can hamper you from selling your property. Picture: Vernon Pillay

Published May 20, 2024


If you are selling your property and finding it extremely difficult to hook a buyer you are not alone.

According to the FNB Residential Property Barometer and the Lightstone Residential Property Index, residential property prices are stagnant in SA.

The FNB House Price Index showed just 0.6% growth year-on-year in January.

In terms of the growth of house prices per province, Lightstone’s latest data from 2023 showed the highest growth was in the Western Cape, at 4.8%, Mpumalanga was also at 4.8%, Limpopo was 4.3%, while the lowest growth was recorded in Gauteng at 0.4%.

The South African real estate market is battling elevated inflation, economic uncertainty and slow house inflation, coupled with stagnant housing prices.

Moreover, the market is facing a repurchasing rate that is at a 15-year high.

National residential property price inflation was 1.6% in December 2023, according to Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). Essentially, property prices were 1.6% higher in December 2023 compared to December 2022.

What can sellers do?

You need to know the reasons why your property is not selling, Cobus Odendaal from Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty noted.

“Although we have no control over the interest rate and current state of the market, there are several key factors that are within sellers’ control which can impact a home’s saleability and by addressing them, sellers can enhance their chances of selling their home in a timely manner, even in these challenging economic conditions,” Odendall added.

One of the major factors so many sellers get wrong is overpricing your property when you place it on the market

Odendall said that homeowners, in a bid to maximise profits, will inflate their listing price beyond the market's tolerance.

He argued that this is usually counter-productive and the most common reason for homes languishing on the market.

"It's commonplace for sellers to enter the market with unrealistic price expectations, but it’s essential for sellers to price their homes in line with current market conditions if they want to secure a sale,“ he added.

Odendall advised that sellers need to conduct a comparative market analysis to accurately gauge their home's value and adjust the price accordingly.

Choose a good real estate agent

He finally advised homeowners that when you decide to sell your home, the selection of your estate agent can make a world of difference.

Odendall said that the best approach is to interview at least two or more agents in your area and make your decision based on factors such as their proven sales record and their experience in the local market.

He warned against picking the agent who promises the highest price – or the lowest agent fee, as, more often than not, this will prove to be a false economy as a good agent won’t massively discount their commission and won't over-value simply to win your business.

“It’s particularly important in current market conditions where uncertainty has grown, that you have a good agent working day in, day out to ensure your sale is progressing right the way through to completion,” he said.