Selling your house without a real estate agent

Selling your home privately, without a real estate agent, could save you thousands in commission. But what are the risks?

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Let's say you sell your home for $700,000, and your real estate agent gets a commission of 2%. That means the agent gets $14,000 of your property's sale price, plus GST.

Selling your own home privately, without the use of a real estate agent, could save you thousands of dollars.

This is a huge amount of money to save, but you have to be prepared to work for it. Selling your house without a real estate agent really requires you to become your own agent, which takes a lot of time and effort.

Here's what you need to do to make it work.

Get the property ready for sale

First impressions count! This is something you have to do whether you have a real estate agent or not. To leave the best impression with potential buyers you should do the following:

  • Cleaning. Clean your property thoroughly from top to bottom, including entry ways, weeding the garden and cleaning all the nooks and crannies.
  • Painting. Consider giving the place a fresh coat of paint if you have the time – it really freshens the space up.
  • Repairs. Fix anything that's broken, from appliances to cracks in walls or windows. Noticable issues make buyers wary about what else could be wrong.
  • Renovations. If you think a renovation is necessary, or will add appeal, make sure it's a renovation that will actually boost your home's value.

Decide on the right selling price range

Research the market thoroughly to arrive at a realistic idea of your property's value. You can do this by looking at recent sales prices in your area.

Make sure you compare similar properties to your own. This means looking at:

  • Number and size of rooms
  • Overall space
  • Land size and yard space
  • Street location and proximity to neighbours
  • Quality of fixtures and features
  • Age and quality of building
  • Aspect and view

Having a solid idea of the market value of your property helps you advertise your property correctly, attract the right buyers and gives you an advantage when it's time to accept offers from buyers.

You can also get a professional property valuation conducted.

This is really where having a real estate agent can help you, because they work in real estate every day. They know the ins and outs of the markets and can advise you on the best price range for your property.

Without their guidance, you risk pricing the property too high (and the listing goes stale and fails to attract offers), or pricing it too low (and missing out on profits).

Prepare your property listing

Once you're ready to sell your property you will need a way for buyers to find your property.

You can order a professional sign and put it out the front of your house, but you should also get your property listed online.

There are many websites and businesses that will list your property for a fee, or organise listings for you. These include:

  • Buymyplace.com.au. It offers various packages, including listing on its site and other property portals.
  • Noagentproperty.com.au. It lists on the biggest portal sites and lets buyers search its own listings.
  • Realestateyourway.com.au. You pay one listing fee and nothing more until the property is sold.
  • Sellmypropertynow.com.au. List your property on 10 property sites including the biggest ones.

It may be difficult to get your property added to larger property sites, like realestate.com.au and Domain, because they don't allow individual members of the public to list properties on their site.

To make your listing stand out you will need some high quality photographs of the property and a clear, detailed written description of the property's features and benefits.

Depending on the market, you may also want to advertise in the local newspaper.

Organise open inspections

Hopefully, your property listing will attract interested buyers. You will need to organise times for people to come and view your home and see it for themselves.

You should:

  • Reply to enquiries quickly.
  • Make sure the house is clean and tidy.
  • Decide whether you're having an open house for anyone or if you will set times for specific interested buyers.
  • Have information about the property ready to answer any questions.
  • Follow up with all interested parties after each open home.

Negotiate with a buyer

Eventually, hopefully, an interested buyer will offer you a price. There may be some negotiation involved. This entire process will be easier if you have a clear idea of your home's value and a firm minimum price in mind, but again, this is where a professional real estate agent can really be worth their weight in gold.

Get a lawyer to finalise the contract

Once you've found a buyer and agreed on a price you need a solicitor or conveyancer to organise the contract.

The conveyancer draws up the contract and makes sure everything is legal when settling the property and exchanging the title.

Nothing is legally binding until the contract is signed, and there is room for negotiation.

As this is probably the most crucial part of the process (the conveyancer usually holds the deposit and makes sure the contract and the sale itself is all legal), it's vital to get professional legal help.

Conveyancing fees range from $500 up to $1,500 or even more.

All sounds too hard and complicated?

Adam DownesWhilst it is possible to sell your home yourself, engaging a professional and experienced real estate agent will save you a lot of time and stress – and often, result in extra profits.

Ray White's chief performance officer, Adam Downes says you working with a real estate agent will give you the ability to achieve the premium price in the marketplace.

"It's relatively easy for agents to secure a price for you and your property particularly in this market where there is a surplus of buyers looking to purchase real estate," he says.

"However, you want an agent who can demonstrate their process and their ability to secure the premium price for their clients – one who can create competition and draw out the best buyer in the marketplace, not just any buyer. In considering this, it's important not to select your agent on fees alone. Take the time to hear out each agent you interview and consider if they will achieve you the best result."

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