It has been about ten years since the first wave of individual foreign owners bought property in Istanbul in meaningful numbers. Of course, those that bought ten years ago, have seen dramatic rises in their property value, often out performing the Western equivalent and in some cases well over doubling in value over that time, even taking into account the weak lira. As property investment is often an active form, many are reconsidering their options at this point. With the loss in value of the TL, many owners are feeling that, much like in a stock market scenario, that now is a good time to sell up and lock in the profits that, until selling, have only been on paper.
Of course, there are many reasons for selling up. Perhaps the owners have moved on from Istanbul. Many may have bought smaller properties and are seeking to upgrade to a larger and more luxurious property, using the large equity that they would have built up to bolster a new purchase. Others will have discovered potentially new, fertile areas within the Istanbul property market that they would like to exploit.
Naturally, selling your Istanbul real estate requires some forethought, and there are some basic principles that both make it easier and quicker to sell, particularly in these times.
Below are a few tips that should help owners get the maximum (though it should be in line with the real market value) price for their property:
- -properties that are vacant sell easier than those that are tenanted. This is generally the case, unless the buyer is seeking a rental income property. In that case, a property with a stable tenant paying a reasonable rent may be attractive. However, for purposes of access and viewing, a property that is vacant is much easier for the estate agent to show. Often it can be difficult to work around a tenant’s schedule and many times clients show up at the last minute, looking to view and perhaps even buy on impulse.
- -It may seem obvious, but keeping the property well-maintained is a must. There should be no broken taps, damaged flooring, and the utilities should be functioning and the power on. It is surprising how many owners neglect to ensure that these basics are in order while selling their property.
- -Keeping a file of all the documents related to the property that give as much information as possible is always a good idea. You can pass them on to the agent, who would have them on hand for any potential inquiries.
- -In most cases, I feel it is best to price the property in TL. You may adjust the price if there are any large swings in value versus another currency. Many buyers are turned off by items priced in foreign currency, as they feel properties should be sold in the local currency. Many high end properties are sold in USD or Euro, but if you are selling a property under 1 million TL in value, I highly recommend putting the figure in TL.
- -If you have decided that the time to sell has come, be pragmatic and look to the business side of matters. Although home ownership may involve many complex emotional bonds, by the time you have decided to put the property on the market, you should have resolved those internal qualms, or hesitations you may have about selling. Do all the thinking/hand-wringing/vacillating prior to actually putting your property on the market. Indecision can lead to time/financial loss. Most likely the decision has been months, maybe years in the making, so it is not really a snap decision.
- -Now that you have made the decision to sell, properly research the current state of the market. Do not just go on the internet and search current ads, which inevitably show properties at inflated values. Go out and ask agents, neighbors, whoever, about any properties that have been sold recently and try to determine a fair value and the real market rate.
Consult with two or three realtors and tell them the time frame that you have for selling the property. If you want the full value and then some, expect a very protracted sales time. If you agree to the market price, you should be able to sell within 3-6 months.
- -It is worthwhile remembering that there are lost opportunity costs. Especially if you are considering upgrading to another property, hanging on for that extra 5K may not be very practical. Remember, you have made the decision to sell, most of the time, with free will. If there is a serious buyer at the plate, engage with them and let them know of your willingness to sell. I have seen potential buyers walk away from deals because they do not really feel the seller has true intent (even if they do). You can still be a tough negotiator, while signaling clearly that you intend to sell your property. Buyers will often pay a bit more when dealing with a transparent owner. This is the business side of it, and people appreciate doing business with someone who is open and honest.
Finally, It’s worth noting that we have made a good few sales this year, not a lot but more than the current economic/political situation would have you believe. This is because, contrary to the chattering in Istanbul that bemoan the dearth of buyers, we have found that there are buyers around. However, as opposed to previous years, ’investment’ is the primary driver and ‘the love of Istanbul’ following, buyers therefore need a clear view to profit before considering. Put yourselves in the buyers position and consider whether your property is priced for the upside…