There’s no doubt that this Coronavirus pandemic will wreak havoc on the Thai real estate market for 2020 and, most likely, for years to come. Our small real estate agency has already had several sales fall through due to the economic fallout from the virus, and that was before things got really bad (back when people were still traveling and we were allowed to meet clients and view properties together). Now we communicate with buyers virtually. While many clients are committed to purchasing a property in Thailand once life regains some normalcy, realistically, the market will be a very different place than it was before this crisis.
Many Thais are having a hard time making ends meet. This is compounded by Thailand losing foreign investment to other Southeast Asian countries that can offer a lower cost of living, a lower cost of doing business, and/or easier or less restrictive visa requirements for foreigners. Thailand needs to be more competitive, both to attract new potential investors and to keep the existing people and companies who are already here from leaving to greener pastures.
REASSESS THE VALUE OF YOUR PROPERTY IN THE CURRENT MARKET
Let’s be honest, before Covid even hit the scene the Thai real estate market was already struggling. For various reasons—a lot of it having to do with the inflated value of the Thai Baht—sellers have been slashing their prices to entice buyers, especially for re-sale properties. It hasn’t been such a bad thing, as prices had become inflated with unrealistic sellers hedging their bets on an infinite increase in property values. Reducing prices could be a good thing, and this doesn’t just apply to the real estate market, but rather to the cost of goods throughout the country.
I know there’s not a lot that one individual can do to change a government or nation’s policies, but the good news is that there are some things you, as a seller, can do to improve your chances of selling your property. The first and most important step—in my opinion—is to get your property in a good condition and ready to put on the market. This is the most crucial thing you can do, as it gives you so much more leverage when negotiating a sale price with a potential buyer. No matter how much you reduce the price, a potential buyer who walks into a dirty, disheveled property will automatically devalue the property based on the real or perceived costs of repairs and maintenance.
Most buyers don’t want to purchase a home that requires a lot of work, especially if a buyer is older, not in great health, or is intimidated by the idea of undertaking a big renovation in a foreign country. There are, of course, some buyers who are specifically looking for fixer uppers, but these buyers understandably expect to pay a lot less for a home in need of repairs. For more tips on how to prepare your property for sale, check out our article: https://www.executive-homes-huahin.com/how-to-sell-your-home-in-thailand-quickly/
TAKE THIS TIME TO PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY FOR THE SALE MARKET
If you are a seller who would rather knock off 1-2 M THB from the asking price than put in the work required to get your property to a high standard, you might consider taking advantage of the lockdown to reassess your home. This is the perfect opportunity to tackle the unpleasant projects that you had been dreading or that you had hoped to pass along to the next owner. I don’t have the excuse these days of being too busy to do the boring tasks that I know need to get done at my house. I have a lot more time to take a good, objective look around the property. For most of us, we are so accustomed to the peeling paint, the piles of junk and clutter, the broken shower head, etc that we don’t even see it anymore.
However, you can bet that those potential buyers who walk through your door will notice all those things. The first thing you should do is go through your property as objectively as possible and make a list of everything that can be done to improve your home. There will be some big ticket items: maybe your kitchen is ready for a remodel, the swimming pool needs to be retiled or re-grouted, or the house needs to be painted. I understand that some sellers don’t have the financial means to repair everything, so they should choose 1 or 2 larger projects to undertake. Believe me, it will make a big difference.
The second thing you should do is begin on the smaller projects that you can do yourself. These may be as simple as clearing out the clutter in and around your property. There are so many Hua Hin Facebook groups for selling second hand items, running the gamut from potted plants and baby clothes to appliances, furniture and vehicles that you should be able to not only get rid of things you never use anymore but also make a little cash in the process. Something amazing happens when you start a project like this: 1. You realize that it feels good to get rid of stuff and 2. You find yourself motivated to take on more projects.
When we were planning our move to Thailand 10 years ago, we slowly began whittling down our possessions. And the more stuff that we got rid of, the freer we felt. There really is some truth to the cliche that your possessions can possess you. Even if the items are precious to you, chances are good that potential buyers will not appreciate your clutter and mess. It is a seller’s job to present his/her property in the best possible light, and if the property is crammed full of stuff—even if it’s valuable or sentimental stuff—most purchasers will not be able to see beyond the mess to appreciate the beauty and value of the house. So, take the advice of your real estate agent, and de-clutter your property. Not only will you have a better chance of selling your house, you will also feel better, cleaner and lighter because of it.
Once the excess belongings are out of the way, you have more room to work on your next undertaking: cleaning. Now is the perfect time for some heavy spring cleaning. Our family has already taken on a few of these tasks since we’ve gone into self-isolation mode. The first one was a deep clean of the house from top to bottom. This makes a huge difference to potential buyers. It was also gratifying to see how much better the rooms looked after our efforts. Once we started, we became addicted to improving our property. We cleared out our storage room and gave away nearly 100 stuffed animals. We power washed stone terraces that had turned black from mold after the last rainy season. We gave our daughter the freedom to choose the colors for her bedroom and helped her repaint all the walls. We planted a vegetable garden and dug out years’ worth of weeds. All of these projects have given us immense satisfaction, have greatly improved our property, and have not cost much at all.
Once your property has undergone a deep clean, has been de-cluttered, and has had 1 or 2 large ticket repairs or renovations, it is ready to list on the market. You may have a price in mind of what your property should be worth, either based on what you originally purchased it for or what your neighbor sold his or her house for. But coming out of this pandemic, the market may be a very different place than before. No one knows for sure what will happen, though we do expect prices to drop. If you are serious about selling, ask your realtor his/her opinion on setting a realistic asking price.
We are, as always, available to answer any questions from home owners looking to sell their properties, and we are happy to list your home for sale, either on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis. We would also love to work with any potential buyers to purchase a new or resale home in the Hua Hin area. Thanks for reading, stay healthy, and we’re looking forward to seeing you on the other side!