5 tips for selling an unusual property

Selling a unique property can present its own set of challenges, but according to an expert, implementing a targeted marketing approach is crucial for maximising your potential returns.

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Scott Aggett, a vendors’ advocate and founder at Hello Haus property advisory, said unique homes require special selling tactics to get the desired outcome.

“If your property is a cut above others – or has an unusual or standout feature – then it can be difficult reaching the right buyers,” he explained.

While there is no definition set in stone, a unique property generally refers to a real estate asset that possesses distinct characteristics, features or attributes that set it apart from the typical or conventional properties in the market.

Notably, the uniqueness of a property can arise from various factors, including its design, architectural style, historical significance, location, zoning or any exceptional elements that make it stand out.

“It could be an amazing architectural home, a passive/eco home, have a rare zoning or a multitude of other reasons that separate it from a traditional sale,” Mr Aggett said.

The expert warned that unique property owners are “losing tens of thousands of dollars” by making one crucial mistake: choosing the wrong agent, adding “these types of properties can be underappreciated by buyers if an agent takes the wrong marketing approach”.

He added the challenge also lies in ensuring the advantages of a property’s unique elements are being “celebrated and promoted”.

Improperly selecting an agent to sell a unique home has significant repercussions, according to Mr Aggett.

Not only does it lead to the potential loss of obtaining the highest possible price in the shortest duration, but it can also result in property owners wasting their marketing budget without achieving any positive outcomes.

“Perhaps the biggest mistake we see sellers make in this space is simply selecting the cheapest agent. One with the lowest commission or who throws in free advertising,” he commented.

But Mr Aggett warned against prioritising lower costs, stating “a cut-price agent often means a substandard service”.

But how do you know your agent has the right skill set and network to secure the sale of your unique property? Here are five ways to check if they can walk the talk:

  1. Experience over locality

Unlike the sale of traditional properties where it’s usually recommended to choose local agents to work on your behalf during the selling process Mr Aggett recommended casting a wider net when it comes to selling unique assets.

He said simply choosing a local agent who’s active in the suburb could be a huge mistake if they have no experience selling unique homes like yours.

In this instance, the expert suggested talking to a minimum of three different agents before making any decision.

“Research potential agents by what types of property they sell rather than simply just where they sell. The best agent could be someone on the other side of town – or even further afield,” he explained.

Mr Aggett advised to seek an agent “with a lot of experience with selling unique property”, preferably those who have “through years of trial and error the best way to market unusual and special homes”.

“These agents know how to highlight any benefits that are particular to your property. They have been through the wringer and can explain to potential buyers why owning this special piece of real estate delivers added benefits over and above other more traditional homes.

As added due diligence, he also recommended asking to see marketing material from previous campaigns and to take note of how they present properties and highlight features.

  1. Consider several factors

Choosing an agent to campaign your property on the market should be based on several factors, according to Mr Aggett.

“Look past standard metrics such as days on market, marketing costs and even commission rates in the early stages of the discussion. Focus on agents who are achieving results and the highest sale prices,” he said.

He recommended comparing agents on how they assess a home’s price, the commission structure, marketing ideas and costs, plus any property presentation advice they offer.

In terms of fees, Mr Aggett advised seeking a performance-based fee structure instead of a flat fee for service, as it keeps agents focused on achieving the best outcome.

When choosing a lead agent, ensure they personally handle the sale rather than delegating it to a less experienced team member.

It is also recommended to steer clear of agents with a history of fast turnover or managing too many listings, as they may rush the sale, leading to potential financial losses.

  1. Understanding of special value

Mr Aggett said the traditional valuation approach of relying on three recent nearby sales just won’t cut it when trying to price a unique property, noting unique homes can achieve a premium due to their special features.

He underlined the importance of having an agent who understands how to price these special features” in the sale price.

The expert suggested looking for an agent who provides diverse comparable evidence during their presentation, including slightly more distant or slightly older sales that can be adjusted for market changes, and who can effectively articulate why your unique property has the potential to outperform neighbouring properties.

“These agents are also comfortable with more complex approaches to price assessment. For example, they may look at the added value of land and improvements, or even replacement cost as an indicator,” he said.

For the property owners’ part, Mr Aggett called for doing due diligence to ensure what the agent says “make sense”.

“You want to avoid agents who try to buy your listing by suggesting an unrealistic list price,” he added.

  1. Flexible marketing approach

Mr Aggett warned unique property sellers against working with agents that only stick to one marketing approach, calling it a “big no-no”.

“Each unique home requires a bespoke selling solution. Some home sales will succeed via auction, while others will require a best-offers-by-X-date approach. Others will need to be listed seeking ‘offers over’, while there will be some who respond best to a formal tender process,” he explained.

He advised choosing an agent who is comfortable with all these techniques, as they can quickly identify the best-selling strategy and even pivot between one or another when necessary.

“Flexibility – especially in response to buyer feedback – is essential ,” he added.

  1. Established networks

Finally, Mr Aggett said working with an agent with established buyer networks that fit your home’s purchaser demographic will be your “ace in the hole”, highlighting “pitching your property to the wrong buyer is a waste of time and resources”.

“Many times, the premium price your unique home should achieve will only be recognised by a certain pool of buyers,” he said.

“If an agent can demonstrate they have links to those buyers – whether through past marketing campaigns, their buyers’ agent network or their established contacts book – then they should be on your shortlist,” he added.

The selling agent must be able to articulate their strategy in reaching the target buyers who are willing to pay a premium price and should possess a deep understanding of the specific market dynamics, buyer demographics and nuances within your suburb, region and specialised market segment.

They should also demonstrate the ability to identify and attract the buyers, whether they are local, national or international, who will find your distinctive home most appealing.

“Agents who are great at broader media exposure will serve you well. If they have an in-house PR team or can demonstrate strong connections to property media and journalists, there could be some great editorial coverage for your unusual home.

“All of this means the widest possible exposure to the right target buyer audience,” he stated.

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