The BresicWhitney offices were abuzz this week when an email went around about two separate customers who were advised not to proceed to market.
With photoshoots booked and contracts ready, both vendors had strict ‘bottom line’ prices of $2.1m. For those particular homes in this market, offers of around $1.9 million would have been the reality.
It may have been tempting to test the waters with these sales, but that comes at a price for everyone. It costs the sellers to list, it stretches agents’ resources, and it costs consumers in time hunting out-of-reach homes.
It’s a window into the current property climate that is testing emotions all over Sydney. At the heart of it, plenty of people have been, mostly unintentionally, set up for failure.
Their properties go unsold as auction clearance rates dip below 50%, and in a market of leftovers, emotions run high.
Senior agent Chris Nunn says the prices he sees promised from Annandale to Alexandria don’t come with enough careful research.
“There is a big difference between sourcing comparable sales to suit an owners expectations, as opposed to the most recent, or closest matched properties,” he says.
“That’s not honest for people who need to know what’s happening now, not six months ago. The two worlds can be vastly different.”
BresicWhitney Balmain director Adrian Oddi agrees citing a number of reasons these campaigns fail.
“Presentation and marketing play a supporting role, but price is the biggest issue,” he says.
“If you’re selling a home that’s underpriced of course you have buyers – all the wrong ones,” he says. “On the other hand, if it feels expensive, no one turns up.
“There is an audience out there, but you have to resonate with them.
“If you’re not getting anybody through open homes it’s a telltale sign you’re too extreme on price. And the people who do come to look expect to see more for the price bracket.”
Any agents working closely with buyers give sellers an edge here, because they understand the current pool of buyers. They are motivated to achieve an outcome – the highest priority for sellers.
In Balmain, we saw six BresicWhitney properties sell ‘off market’ in a week last month, all good results, all happy sellers and buyers.
That sort of activity is out of line with current patterns, and came from a group of buyers and sellers being in the same mindset regarding value.
“I personally don’t think BW had the magic answer to those quick sales; that comes from constant communication with buyers,” Adrian says.
“If you’re relying solely on ads and portals you’re going to get the same uncertain outcomes.
“Great photos go a long way but there are so many reasons for people not to click, not to inspect, to overlook it and go elsewhere.”
A recent campaign in Surry Hills saw a terrace that spent three months advertised elsewhere, passing in at auction for $2.5 million. With painting and presentation adding new foot traffic and the right buyers, it went on to sell for $2.7 million.
“Everything you do needs to be getting someone off their seat,” Adrian says.
“Remember 50% of Sydney properties have no buyers. The other 50% might have one buyer. That’s the reality.”
Sellers and homeowners still have an optimistic mindset after years of expecting buyers to line up, and pay the price. BresicWhitney director Shannan Whitney says the idea of ‘list it and they will come’ has evolved into a new dynamic.
“Pricing ethos has been mainly focused on finding a price in line with comparable sales. Now it’s about finding a price that ensured you will engage a reluctant buying market.”