Could you sell your own home?
POSTED BY Adam Jordan ON 27 Oct 2017
When you calculate that your real estate agent’s commission is around 2-3% of the sales price plus GST, you can see the temptation of trying to sell your home yourself. However, you have to ask yourself whether you have the skills and experience to navigate the legal and financial maze of the real estate market and whether the time you spend working at selling the property is worth the money you will save. Many home owners who have tried selling their home privately end up with a greater appreciation of the value of a professional real estate agent, in attracting buyers and setting a fair and realistic price.
So what is involved in selling your home privately?
Talk to your solicitor about conveyancing
Usually, your real estate agent would oversee the legal aspect of the selling process, so if you are selling privately, talk to your solicitor or legal advisor to ensure you keep on track of all the paperwork and legal requirements of conveyancing. This includes preparing a contract of sale, changing the deed title, arranging the payment of stamp duty, booking building inspection reports and attending settlement.
Set a fair price
Establish the sales price by arranging a valuation, and do your own research by looking at how comparable properties have sold in your area. While it can be tempting to aim for a higher than market price, when you are selling privately, when you will do better to stick as close to the market price as possible. Haggling can be a hazardous business, and you could lose a potential buyer or lose out on a good price if you are inexperienced at negotiating and don’t have a real estate agent to act on your behalf.
Promote the sale
One of the biggest disadvantages in selling your house privately is that you don’t have a long contact list of people looking to purchase in your area; nor do you have an online profile designed to attract people to your property. Your real estate fees would cover your advertising costs, so if you are selling your own home privately, you need to pay these costs directly.
Mainstream real estate sites such as Domain will only feature agency listings, but there are a range of websites such as realestateyourway.com.au or forsalebyowner.com.au which provide a website listings for DIY property sales. Look carefully into their fee structure, as they generally require pre-payment before listing and you want the listing to stay active until your property has been sold. Check whether the fee is refundable if you have no responses on their site within a certain timeframe.
Order a professional sign for the front of your house, to catch the attention of any potential buyers driving past on their way to a high profile real estate listing. Print up some brochures for potential buyers, including your asking price, contact details, a convenient summary of the local area (proximity to schools, shops and public transport) along with photographs of the house. Plus staging the property for maximum value.
Arrange your showings
With a DIY sale, you can arrange the open houses and other viewings at your convenience. However, to remain professional, you should ensure that it is convenient to show your house at any opportunity. As you don’t have a list of houses to show potential buyers, they will quickly lose interest in your home if you are not available to show it at their convenience.
Take the names and contact details of everyone who comes to view your home, so you can follow up if necessary. Give each person a brochure so they have a copy of your contact information and some photographs of the home to help them remember what they saw.
Once you have an interested buyer, you also have to be available for second viewings and inspections as required.
You will also want to spend time having a follow up system. Calling any intersted buyers and starting the negotiation process with them.
Written offers only!
Once you have accepted a written offer, contact your conveyancer to set the paperwork in motion. The next step is to exchange contracts and then settle.
As you can see, you are not simply paying a real estate agent to sell your house – you are paying for the convenience of not having to manage a difficult and precarious sale on your own.
Regardless of whether you sell privately or through an agent, you are still responsible for the essential advertising fees and legal costs and you have the additional challenge of attracting interested buyers, presenting your property in the best way to maximise its value and securing a fair price for your property.