Selling a property is easier than you might think, largely because the demand for real estate remains high. However, if you rush things or don’t proceed as planned, you won’t get the best possible price. We’ll show you what really matters when selling a property. 

Young couple are handed the keys to their new flat.
Many private individuals rely on the support of a professional real estate agent. (Photo:

Today, a used laptop or an old iron can be quickly sold on one of the online marketplaces. However, selling a house or apartment is a very different proposition. After all, a lot of money is at stake in the world of real estate. It’s also true that private individuals don’t sell properties very often. From the preparation of the sales documents and marketing of the property to the price negotiations, a lot can go wrong.  

Anyone who has ever gone through a property sale knows only too well that selling a house represents a unique challenge!  

Tip 1: Create good sales documentation 

An informative presentation can play a big part in achieving a successful property sale. Anyone who wants to sell effectively knows that the first impression counts! With this in mind, you should describe the house or apartment clearly and concisely.  

There are certain key facts that should be front and centre in any advert. The buyer should see at a glance whom the property is aimed at and the price. Equally important are the earliest moving-in date, location, size, number of rooms, as well as precise details of the net living space and the ancillary areas. For a freehold apartment, prospective buyers will want to know which floor the property is on, what condition it is in and whether it includes a garden, balcony, terrace and adjoining rooms. The room layout and the floor plan should also be included in the presentation; for example, this will enable families to begin planning the furnishings for the children’s rooms. In other words, buyers want to know in advance how they might arrange their furniture. 

When selling, also think about the emotional aspect – after all, it’s not just about X square metres of space. You are selling a new home!

Tip 2: Powerful, professional images 

Strong images promote sales and arouse interest. Take photos of brightly lit and tidy rooms. Avoid kitschy images. Under no circumstances should personal items be visible (no family pictures on the walls, no pets or people). Good pictures convey a sense of the available living space as well as the room layout, size and condition of the property. Specific details such as self-made furniture, the bathroom mirror cabinet, etc. are irrelevant and may even discourage buyers. 

Selling properties successfully also means having a visual concept. As we all know, pictures say more than a thousand words. It’s a good idea to show the exterior and interior views first in your presentation, and leave the floor plan and maps until the end. Modern technology makes life easier for sellers – a smartphone or digital camera is all you need to enhance your advert by adding a virtual tour or video clips of the property. Incidentally, professional estate agents typically invest money to ensure an elaborate presentation! If you really want to present your property perfectly, you should have it stylishly furnished (“home staging”). To do so, browse the Digital Services offered by newhome and book an all-in-one package.

Tip 3: Be honest and objective 

Private individuals who are selling their own property often act emotionally. However, it’s always better to refrain from describing the property in glowing terms or divulging stirring personal memories.  

Instead, be factual and honest. After all, more serious defects – such as in the roof or cellar – will be discovered by attentive prospective buyers sooner or later anyway. Every property has certain drawbacks. Do you really think you can hide the fact that the house is located on a noisy road? Of course, there is equally no need to communicate certain features in a way that devalues the property. Ultimately, the old adage “honesty is the best policy” applies here.

Tip 4: Define the target market for the property 

A small flat on the outskirts of town is very different to a luxury apartment with a lake view. Think about the type of buyers who might be interested in the property. Who are the target customers for your sale? By providing clear information you can avoid attracting interest from unsuitable parties. 

Accordingly, the title of your advert should also be focused on the target market. Here are three examples or tips: 

  • “For sale: exclusive penthouse in the old town” 
  • “New-build freehold apartment: 160 m2 with all-round views” 
  • “Family-friendly property in the countryside” 

If the sale involves a condominium (freehold) apartment, there are some special features to consider. For one, when buyers purchase a property with other co-owners, they also become part of a community of owners. Prospective buyers will therefore not only put the apartment through its paces, but also their future neighbours!

More tips: When marketing a house or apartment, the ideal approach very much depends on what kind of property you are selling. A detached house in the countryside must be described and advertised differently than a property in the city. Freehold apartments are often purchased by people who were previously the tenants. When it comes to the wording of your advert there are many other aspects to consider: is the property suitable for owner occupation? Or is it more of an investment, i.e. a rented flat? Depending on this, the buyer may request information on the existing tenancy agreement.  

Tip 5: Set the right price  

One of the most difficult aspects to “get right” is the price. It’s no coincidence that professional estate agents use this as their starting point – they typically offer a free valuation and promise to advertise the property at the best possible price.  

However, this is often difficult to assess at first glance. In what price range should the house or apartment be listed? Is now the best time to sell? 

While top-of-the-line properties will often be virtually snatched out of the seller’s hand, what about those that are somewhat older and have some blemishes? If you want to sell effectively, you will need to be realistic in terms of your asking price. 

If the price is too low, you are giving money away. Conversely, if you aim too high, this will put off some prospective buyers. Even a good estate agent will often only find out what serious prospective buyers are really offering during the sales negotiations. 

Seriös wirken Sie, wenn Sie eine professionelle Schätzung vorlegen können (von einem anerkannten SYou will appear reputable if you can present a professional valuation (from an established local valuation expert). It’s also important that you don’t rush this process – take your time and make sure you gather all relevant information. If there are many similar properties nearby, you might be able to find out what prices other sellers have achieved recently.  

Tip 6: Should you sell with or without an estate agent? 

This has almost become a philosophical question: should you sell your property with or without an estate agent? In Switzerland, about half of all property sales are carried out without professional support. 

Estate agents can offer comprehensive services, experience and market knowledge. They usually offer a complete package that includes the creation of a good sales dossier, the adverts, viewings, negotiations, etc., as well as preparation of the purchase contract. All the relevant services, rights and obligations are usually set out in a contract (the “brokerage agreement”). Make sure that the promised services and the agent’s fee are clearly described. Request references and enquire about their prior training – as is well known, “estate agent” is not a protected professional title that requires professional qualifications.  

Traditional estate agents or property trustees usually charge a performance-related fee of two to three per cent of the price achieved on the sale. However, a growing number of digital agencies and fixed-price brokers are shaking up the market – by promising a sale at the best possible price, but with lower commissions. 

Many private individuals think that, thanks to the various online platforms, they can also advertise their properties publicly or online themselves. However, the time involved and the risks associated with poor preparation should not be underestimated.  

Tip 7: First renovate, then sell?

If you are selling a house, the first impression of the exterior must be right. Do the house (both inside and outside), garden and surroundings appear neat and tidy? Experienced sellers know that it’s often worthwhile at least sprucing up the garden and improving the property’s external appearance with a fresh coat of paint. On the other hand, a property that looks run-down from afar will attract no buyers – or the wrong ones. 

Will you achieve a higher sales price if you renovate the property first? As a rule, major building alterations are not worthwhile as buyers usually prefer to take care of this themselves. The same applies to freehold apartments – to increase the chances of a sale, the property should appear neat and tidy from the outside. However, investing in major renovations just before you sell is usually a waste of money. 

Tip 8: Stay cool  

Selling requires good intuition about people and the ability to correctly read prospective buyers. Let’s take an example: the seller, Mr Meyer, has already conducted 10 viewings, but the prospective buyers have shown little real interest. “Are these people serious or just ‘hobby house-viewers’?” he wonders. Some even make disparaging remarks, badmouth the apartment, etc. In this case, it is important to stay cool – especially if you are selling your own property. You must always negotiate in a level-headed and objective manner.  

It takes a certain amount of nerve to continue negotiating in the face of adversity and eventually reach a purchase agreement. 

Conclusion: You will only sell your property successfully if you proceed systematically and take your time. You will also need good sales skills as well as both persistence and patience. 

If you would prefer to entrust the marketing of your property to a professional estate agent from the outset, you will find your local real estate professional listed in newhome’s Provider Directory.

For more interesting articles on the topic of selling property take a look here: Buying – Selling property

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