Tag Archives: Buyers Market

FSBO vs Sale by Agent..(For Sale by Agent)

By Rhea-Simone Auguste

©MoonLight Rental Ltd.

If you are thinking about selling your property, it may be a tempting idea to bypass use of an agency and sell your home solo. In fact, there are many For Sale By Owner {FSBO) properties on the market. However, the reality is if you lack the experience needed to close a real estate sale – your property may end up stuck on the market for months with no real offers. It may seem pricey but having an agent especially during a buyer’s market can make the difference between “For Sale” and “Sold”.

A good agent can help weed out the curious callers

FSBO sellers may have to sift through hundreds of calls – some from curious buyers who cannot afford your asking price, others from your neighbours who may want to know what improvements you’ve made so they can match their property price to yours.  A seasoned agent can easily identify these calls and can sift through the leads to find you more qualified buyers. Instead of a hundred people coming to your house to view without even making an offer, an agent may narrow the traffic so only genuinely interested buyers make it inside your home.

A good agent networks with other good agents

A good agent usually has strong networking skills and inside their network, they would have a list of agents they work alongside in their company and in other real estate companies.  Agents usually have ready clients interested in purchasing property in specific areas. If your area is on a wanted list, your buyer may come from your agent or another agent’s network.

Your agent absorbs the advertising costs

This one is a big factor and a lot of people don’t realize this. The average FSBO sellers in Trinidad and Tobago may have to spend a small fortune on advertising their property using typical print media. While this may be an effective solution for some FSBO sellers, many end up with a big bill and no real buyers. An agent absorbs the cost of all advertising for your property. It is in their interest to make sure your property is marketed attractively not just in print but now online and if necessary, on TV as well.  Advertising is expensive so when you factor in how much your agent will be paid from the sale of the property, bear in mind they may have spent as much as 35% of their commission in ads for your property.

Your agent handles viewings so you don’t have to interface with buyers

Buyers come armed with lots of questions ranging from practical to perplexing. An agent helps streamline the question process to ensure the focus remains on the value of the property being sold. A professional agent will know how to subdue the fears of a prospective buyer, assuring the buyer of the true property strengths and its key selling points. They know not to make the sale too personal or reveal private information about the sellers. Some FSBO sellers reveal too much when interfacing with clients eg. “I got my cousin to do the kitchen cupboards and he didn’t charge me much,” or “We have to sell this place fast because my wife and I are divorcing and she wants the cash now,” (both real examples, by the way).  In doing so, they may unwittingly open themselves to having to negotiate well beneath their original asking price.

Your agent will have the legal forms and paperwork hassle

Getting a property sold requires lots of paperwork. Purchase agreements must be made and banks require a lot of documents from sellers. Instead of having to drop documents to the bank for the buyer and pay legal fees for drafting purchase agreements, a seller using an agent can relax knowing their agent will handle the follow-up with the buyer to ensure a successful close.

To some, the process of selling a property may seem simple.  In reality, it is a challenging task especially when it is a buyer’s market or when the economy is stagnant. Having an agent handle the toughest parts means you get to focus on the most important parts of the process.

Selling your home? Tips to get more from your sale!

By Rhea-Simone Auguste

(c) Moon Light Rental Ltd.


If you have decided to sell or rent your home, one of the first things you should do is walk the perimeter of your premises and critique your property. Imagine you are a prospective buyer/renter looking at the place for the first time. Is your property clean, well-maintained and free from defects? Is the yard clear of “junk” and debris and inviting to buyers who may have children and want the yard clutter-free?

Sometimes it may be difficult to see your home as anything but your home. It has been your sanctuary and all of the quirks and eccentricities that you added gave it the personal touches. However, prospective buyers/renters are less interested in personal touches and more interested in getting the best property for their money. They are looking for a perfect solution to their housing problem or an investment in a property that will yield a profit in years to come. The less problems they see with the property upfront – the better.

Most sellers are not interested in spending pre-sale of a house because they think it would cost too much to do so. But there are untold benefits of sprucing up your property before prospective buyers see it and topping the list of benefits is – your property can be soldfaster with minor improvements.

Here are some quick and inexpensive tips to improve the look of your home for prospective buyers/renters courtesy Moon Light Rental Ltd:

  1. De-clutter your yard! The first thing prospective customers see is your yard. If you have a lawn, have it trimmed before showings and ensure all walkways, drains and concrete areas are free of mould and dirt by power-washing or scrubbing with a solution of bleach and water. A clean yard is an inviting yard.
  2. Front porches/galleries should also be cleaned and made to look inviting to people who enjoy entertaining. If you have a nice patio set or simple chairs and an outside mat – arrange them as though you were expecting company. If the house is being sold/rented unfurnished – consider touch-painting so all surfaces look fresh and new.
  3. Inside the house: Two areas of a house can make/break a potential sale/rental – the kitchen and the bathroom(s). These areas MUST be cleaned thoroughly and the kitchen cupboards should be inspected pre-showing to ensure no insects have made your cupboards their home. The last thing a prospective customer wants is to open a cupboard and have a cockroach jump out and greet them. If your home has had problems with ants, invest in a simple TERRO liquid ant bait solution and place baits a few days before showings. Remember to remove all baits and dead insects before you show your place.
  4. Check your bathrooms and toilets thoroughly before you let prospective customers see your place. Make sure toilets are scrubbed clean and bathroom surfaces look clean to touch. Essentially your prospective customers should feel like the house is in move-in condition immediately.

You would be surprised to know the value of your property could go up by simply painting, power-washing and preparing it prior to a valuation or a sale.

Thinking about selling/renting your property? Give us a call at 221-8550 or 773-5468. Looking for a place to buy/rent, give us a call and let’s see if we could match you to your dream home.

The Best Time to Buy is NOW!

By Rhea-Simone Auguste

© MoonLight Rental Ltd.

For those of you unfamiliar with the way the real estate market operates, there are two terms you should get familiar with: Buyer’s Market and Seller’s Market. At present, it is safe to say it is a Buyer’s Market. What this means is there are many houses for sale on the market leading to better prices for buyers. Sellers looking to move on want to SELL and FAST for less than the actual value of their property. Instead of listing a property for sale and waiting for a long period (over a year in some instances) to get it sold, sellers are more open to negotiate the selling prices of their house/land. If you’re thinking about buying a property for residential use or as an investment – now is the best time to buy.

As a buyer, you now have more choices within a price bracket. Let’s say you are looking for property under 1.2 million in East Trinidad, you can choose from a number of new developments including gated community properties where the starting price for some of the houses is $825,000 (Coral Park, St. Helena) or some hovering closer to the 1.2 maximum in The Crossings, Arima.

Areas close to St. Augustine have maintained steady prices with properties closer to the University of the West Indies commanding higher prices with sellers demanding well over $400 per square foot in some instances because of the commercial possibility of the area. It is a highly sought-after location for student housing and renting a one-bedroom apartment in the area can cost between $2500-$4000 depending on the furnishings and amenities offered

A must-watch area for investors is Trincity. Old-fashioned homes close to the Mall can be bought for under 1 million but with minor improvements – roof changes and aircondition installation together with minor infrastructure adjustments – properties can be resold for over 1.5 million in this highly demanded area

Also on the rise is St. Helena. Roughly 10 minutes drive from the Piarco traffic light, the area is rapidly developing into a townhouse and apartment complex hotspot.  The area will likely see an increase in properties being built by year end with the value of properties likely climbing higher in years to come.

In the San Juan/Santa Cruz area, a number of new developments may well be in the plannings. Vast stretches of residential land is on the market for sale at present – opening the way for investors to buy and build residential communities. Santa Cruz offers properties on par in terms of land structure to Maraval  however the prices are much more reasonable with land being sold around $100/sq.ft compared to Maraval where $130/sq.ft is the on the lower end of the price scale and not necessarily in the best areas.

In the Western end of Trinidad, prices continue to be on the higher end for houses – think multiple millions for a three-bedroom flat in Westmoornings. However, if you’re open to the idea of building – you can get land between TT$65- TT$95 per square foot in Glencoe with all the conveniences of a West property including a shorter commute to Port of Spain.

Central Trinidad is rapidly gaining popularity among buyers as the new overpass constructed by Grand Bazaar has helped to ease the traffic woes of those heading into South-bound lanes from Port of Spain after 4PM. Additional changes to road infrastructure including newly paved areas in some parts of Cunupia and environs has opened areas for development. Although buyers can access more land for their money in Central Trinidad, caution must be exercised when buying in and around areas prone to flooding including parts of Caroni, Freeport and Gasparillo.

Thinking about going down San Fernando to live? Southern home prices continue to climb with homes in Palmiste climbing to supremacy with sprawling mansions with asking prices crossing 8 Million and up.  More affordable homes can be found in Vistabella from as low as $1.5 Million. Buying land and building is the best for the under 1.5 Million buyer interested in San Fernando and environs but locating land under $100/sq.ft. may present a challenge unless you have a diligent real estate agent looking for spots as they come up.

It is an excellent time to buy and if the economy continues in its present direction, more properties will likely be put on the market as homeowners battle with rising costs of living and the decision to sell property becomes more enticing.