Selling Your Overseas Property


Selling Your Overseas PropertyThere are two main reasons why your overseas property isn’t selling; either it is overpriced or you have chosen an incorrect selling strategy. In order to sell your overseas property you will need the best agent and most importantly, you need to be prepared to be realistic about your price. We all try for a high price at first only to waste six months and later reduce the price.  This adjustment period can take between 6 to 18 months.


  1. Price sensibly: Especially in markets such as Spain oversupplied with resales. Take your estate agent’s advice as they know the local market conditions. Don’t fall into the common trap of copying prices other properties are advertised for and using this as your valuation. If you are in a location with more sellers than buyers this is a waste of time as there is a big difference between the advertised price and the price properties are actually selling for. Assuming a buyers market, ask your agent at what price point will sell your property in the shortest possible time. Ask the agent to be brutally honest with you. Unfortunately some agents “talk up” the price in order to secure the instruction. Choose the agent who explains the reality of the market, not the one who tells you what you hope to hear.
  2. Speculate to accumulate: Throw out old furniture, update kitchens and bathroom. Spending, especially on older properties can give a spectacular return and makes a major difference to saleability. €5,000 can have a dramatic effect especially if you employ an interior designer who can dress up the property. It’s all about giving buyers a “wow” factor when they come to view.
  3. Power of the Internet: An online marketing presence is the key. Most buyers turn to the Internet at first before viewing any property. The Internet has always been important, but now having your property listed on the right user friendly, high google ranking website is a must. You also need to establish which sites you are listed indirectly via your estate agent as the agent may or may not be listed on the sites that will work best for you. If your estate agent isn’t listed on top ranking websites this will reduce enquiries. Take action and establish which are the top ranking sites and list your property with high resolution professional pictures and don’t just tell it ”sell it” put key selling points in large bold letters. Also don’t just restrict yourself to Irish sites; targeting a non-Irish website gives you a larger audience. Remember to check your own listing on a regular basis on each site you list to make sure potential buyers can find your property easily. Many sellers should be aware the Internet is a vast online library and finding your listing with hundreds of millions of competitor pages is quiet a challenge to potential buyers. To establish how others may find your advert you can perform a search using the typical keywords potential buyers may input. The results of your own test search are the same results your prospective buyers will come across when they search so if you can’t find your ad nobody else will either.
  4. Keep in contact with your sales agent and Solicitor: Keep in regular contact with your sales agent, ask about the number of viewings, if the property is slow to sell it is vital to ask for feedback to establish any problem quickly, preferably within days of the first few viewings.  If your property is slow to sell, act fast, lower the price or have a meeting with the agent to discuss any problems. The main thing is not to let things drag on, be decisive act swiftly making any changes to your strategy ahead of the competition. Once the deal is agreed you should be speaking to your solicitor weekly to ensure the buyer is progressing with the sale.
  5. Timeframes and keeping the deal together: Remember in reality you have no sale until contracts have exchanged. The period between sale agreed and contracts exchanged are a high risk period. Don’t underestimate your buyers’ ability to pull out. Ask for a non- refundable deposit, this separates time wasters from the real buyers. This is especially vital if you are selling in a buyers market and absolutely key if you’ve given the buyer a real bargain. If there is going to be a problem with the sale, better to find out in the early stages of the sales process, asking for the deposit to be non-refundable won’t put off any serious buyer. Agree a timeframe between sale agreed and contract exchange. Keep a close eye of progress by constantly reminding your buyer of pre-agreed deadlines in all communication both verbally and via your solicitor at every possible opportunity.

Henry Davis develops UK Commercial & Residential Property

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