Selling your house without a real estate agent

Selling your home privately, without a real estate agent, could save you thousands in commission. But it's a lot of hard work.

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Let's say your home sells for $700,000, but your real estate agent gets a commission of 2%. That means the agent gets $14,000 of your property's sale price. Selling your own home privately, without the use of a real estate agent, could save you thousands of dollars.

This is a tempting amount of money to save. But be prepared to work for it. Selling your house without a real estate agent really requires you to become your own agent. It takes a lot of time and effort.

Get the property ready for sale

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.
  • Painting. Consider giving the place a fresh coat of paint if you have the time and the property needs it.
  • Repairs. Fix anything that's broken, from appliances to cracks in walls or windows.
  • Renovations. If you think a renovation is necessary, or will add value, get it done well in advance. But 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. Do this by looking at recent sales prices in your area.

Make sure you compare similar properties to your own. To do this, look at:

  • Number and size of rooms
  • Overall space
  • Land size and street location
  • Quality of fixtures and features
  • Age and quality of building

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.

Prepare your property listing

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

You could make a 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:

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

This can be the only way to get your property added to the larger property sites, like and Domain, because they don't allow individual members of the public to list properties on their site.

There are some listing sites that don't charge anything, but you might not reach as large an audience.

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.

Organise 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:

  • 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.

Negotiate with a buyer

When you find a buyer they 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. Don't go below this price in negotiation (if the price is realistic).

Other aspects of a sales contract can be negotiated later, such as the cooling-off period and settlement date.

Which brings us to the last point.

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.

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