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PropertyHome sellingHow to prepare to sell your home
Selling a home

How to prepare to sell your home


There’s a lot to consider when selling a property, so employing an estate agent is usually a wise move. Source: istock / DragonImages

Maybe the children have flown the nest or you just fancy a new home or a new location. Whatever the reason, if you're putting your property on the market – whether luxury villa, farmhouse or apartment – you need to be well prepared. 

Estimating the value of a property and achieving the best price when selling is often quite a challenge. These are the points to look out for when selling your home:

1. The advantages and disadvantages

Depending on who you are targeting with your property, a disadvantage may suddenly turn into an advantage. Making a list of your home’s features will help you keep them in mind and automatically prepare you for the next steps.

2. The price

Most property owners find it hard to make a realistic estimate of the market value of their property. If the price is too high, the selling process will drag on; if it's too low, you are giving money away. Looking at the price of similar properties and using statistical tools can help you come up with a price. can assist with estimating the value of your home and provide information on sold property prices in your region.

3. Timing

A villa with a pool looks much more inviting in summer than it does in December, when there are leaves in the pool and ice on the patio. Seasonal fluctuations on the real estate market also mean a property may go for a greater or lesser amount. If you put your home on the market during a quiet period, you may be throwing away tens of thousands of francs. It can be useful to seek professional advice on the best time to sell.

4. Renovation

It is worth fixing small things that are conspicuous. This has a positive impact on perceptions. If the outside lights and doors work, this shows that the property is well looked after. If it is unclear whether major or minor renovation work is worth it for the impact on the selling price, an estate agent will be able to provide an informed opinion.

5. Sales pack

Any serious buyer will want to find out as much as possible about a property before deciding to buy. So keep all the paperwork handy. A proper sales pack will include high-quality pictures, plans of the property, floor plans, an excerpt from the land register and a description of the surrounding area and infrastructure. An estate agent will help you put all the information together and identify potential target prospect groups. Agents are also helpful when it comes to corresponding with notaries and authorities and organizing viewings with interested parties.

6. The sales channel

What channel should I use to sell my house or apartment? Should I put it on several websites or only use one selected agency? Addressing a wide target audience does not necessarily mean you will achieve a better price. An estate agent can advise you on selecting the sales channel and propose the most suitable solution.

7. The estate agent

Unless you are a real estate professional, it makes sense to use an agent. But how do you spot unscrupulous agents, the ones trying to rip sellers off?

You can first check whether they are a member of a Swiss real estate association. works with various estate agents via its partner service BeneCasa (website in German and French only). These agents are all members of a recognized association and have at least three years of experience in the field along with recognized specialist qualifications in the real estate business. If you genuinely intend to sell, you will be given a free, non-binding estimate after a visit. If the client instructs an agent, the agent undertakes to market the property and to assist the seller even after the transaction has been completed. 

There are a few signs of unscrupulous agents you can look out for. Be careful in the following situations:

  • You ask for positive testimonials from customers, but none are provided.
  • The agent cannot show that they belong to a professional association.
  • The agent demands additional fees for their services on top of their commission (which is about 3 per cent, depending on the region).
  • The agent offers to sell your home for an unrealistically high price, just to get the instruction to sell the property.

8. The financial aspects

Speak to your bank advisor in good time and find out what costs you can expect to pay in the event of a sale – if you will be repaying a mortgage, for example. Remember to ask about capital gains tax on property as well, as careful planning can save a huge amount in taxes.

9. Emotions

We often invest a great deal of emotion in our property, and this needs to be kept out of the sale as far as possible. Potential buyers are looking for a place that meets their own needs and ideas, so it’s important to show sensitivity and empathy towards them. You are looking to trigger emotions in the buyer, not in yourself.

10. The sale

Your arguments affect the price: making them clearly and rationally is the best way to win over interested parties and justify the asking price. When negotiating the price, always be prepared to deal with the possible downsides of your property. Once the buyer and seller reach an agreement, a contract is drawn up. If you are not familiar with the real estate business, it is highly advisable to ask a professional agent to support you through the negotiation stage and take advantage of their services right through to handover of the keys.  

Get a free estimation of the value of your home and access to BeneCasa– a Swiss network of qualified estate agents.

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