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Selling privately – a recent experience

By AG Canberra - 19 July 2011 32

allhomes screenshot

We recently found a new house to move to – so that meant selling our current place. Being reasonably confident people who were aware of the current market we decided to give selling it ourselves a go. Our decision was reinforced when an agent we spoke to quoted a flat fee of three percent (in our case equalling more than $12k in selling costs).

We had a fair idea of what our place was worth and luckily we were able to access a professional valuation (not agent appraisal) for our place through our bank that came to within 5k of that estimate.

So where to, once we made the decision to do it ourselves?

We contacted the building inspection people for the combined pest, energy efficiency and building report.
We then had the solicitor draw up the contract (which has to be prepared before a property can be listed for sale in the ACT). Within the contract is the building report.

Photos we did ourselves but did get a quote from a group (that only does real estate photography) for around $350. If you are not confident in taking pictures then this is probably money well spent. We also used one of the many free floor plan websites to do up a floor plan of the place but if you are desperate you can use the grainy one that will be in the building report.

Coming up with the flowery words took a couple of hours – though I was conscious to try and emphasise the property’s assets while not to sounding like just another real estate tosser!

Listing on AllHomes took all of 20 minutes. Register, load up the words, add the pics, pay the $995 fee and a couple of minutes later it is up there. Approx 12 hours later the property had been viewed almost 300 times. We chose to list inspection by appointment initially then listed a Saturday open house the following weekend. We had two offers that were a bit low for our liking and then following the second open house we had an acceptable offer.

So with a bit of organisation, a few hours work and a price to sell we have saved ourselves a fair chunk of money.

Some tips from our experiences:

    — Do get good pictures – in a listing everyone checks pictures first, then they read the details.
    — Do sell the place – upgraded insulation, painted recently, ducted gas heating, near a school or park, mention them all.
    — Do get people’s contact details (do up a simple registration sheet). We didn’t contact people just because they visited but stayed in contact with those that requested the building report.
    — And if someone asks for the building report – tell them up front about any unapproved structures or any other issues identified in the report.

Would we do it again? In a heartbeat. Know the market, price it to sell and then be open and honest with prospective buyers.

[Photo: Allhomes screenshot unrelated to the property being discussed]

What’s Your opinion?


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Selling privately – a recent experience
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fish 6:07 pm 11 Aug 11

Holden Caulfield said :

I have used Mark Tigwell for conveyancing a couple of times now. He’s very good.

thanks mate

Holden Caulfield 9:59 am 11 Aug 11

I have used Mark Tigwell for conveyancing a couple of times now. He’s very good.

fish 7:00 am 11 Aug 11

thanks AG!

AG Canberra 8:27 am 09 Aug 11

We used Conveyancing Canberra and have been happy with the service they have provided.

They will arrange discharge of your mortgage, change of title etc and then find out from you where you want the balance sent. They will need a contact at your bank to get the final pay out figure details. They also hold in their trust account the deposit provided at exchange of contracts.

We didn’t do a “For Sale” sign but if it hadn’t sold as quickly would have done so. And I did get a couple of coments from people viewing the house during inspection that they expected to see the “open for exhibition” sign out the front when we had the place open.

I reckon there could be a decent little business printing up cheapish for sale signs and then renting open for exhibition signs….

fish 6:38 am 09 Aug 11

Hi AG,

Thanks for the great write up. I’m at the stage of selling my place and after meeting with a couple of real estate agents and reading up on selling private, I’ve decided to go it alone. I have guessed the value of my place based on what similar places are currently on offer around the same area, mainly through Allhomes. Hopefully a more truer value will be reveal later when offers are provided.

I do have some concerns though so any help would be appreciated. I have only just organised a building inspection for my place. I have not organised a conveyance/solicitor yet. The solicitor I went with when I purchased the place 4 years ago proved to be a disappointing experience. The whole affair dragged for another month before I finally got the keys. They were recommended by the real estate broker at that time. This time round, I will be asking friends to see if they can recommend one but if anyone or yourself can recommend me one this would also be appreciated.

I was also wondering how my current mortgage is ‘managed’ during this sale. Is it simply I sell the place and use the money to pay the mortgage plus the extra charges for paying early? Or is this handled by the conveyance/solicitor?

The other thing I noticed that you didn’t have was a ‘For Sale’ sign. Part of my planning was to get a sign done up but after reading your experience, it may not be necessary?

Thanks,

AG Canberra 5:19 pm 21 Jul 11

We used a well known building inspection company though given what I’m about to say next, I won’t name them.

Essentially these documents are only good to see what building works have been approved/unapproved.

The energy rating stuff is next to useless. Our rating went from two stars when we bought the place down to half a star now and that is after we bettered insulation, and internal and external window treatments! For more info on this issue check out the ABC 7.30 ACT (the old Stateline) story on it from about 6 weeks ago.

The building bit is ok at highlighting possible issues that are easy to see. The guy literally spent 20 minutes at our place including a ‘glance’ under the house and into the roof cavity. Anything else will be missed.

The pest stuff again only highlights easy to see stuff.

When you see the report there are only about six pages of info and then about thirty pages of disclaimers.

Either way – any of the local companies will do the job and provide some independent info for prospective buyers. A smart buyer will go over the house themselves and/or bring along a trusted tradie to quiz you on any points that they identify.

Good luck!

self1 10:54 am 21 Jul 11

Thank you so much for the detailed info. You’ve inspired us to sell ours privately! Who did you use for the building/pest/energy report?

djk 10:35 am 21 Jul 11

Rex Banner said :

Just a quick question – does it make a difference in terms of receiving a deposit? Who handles that? When we purchased out house (sold through a real estate agent) we paid a $1,000 deposit when our offer was accepted and a 10% deposit bond when contracts were exchanged. We were under the impression that the seller’s real estate agent was responsible for managing and holding the $1,000 deposit, and we can’t really recall who managed the 10% deposit bond until the sale was finalised. Any chance you could please shed some light on the process for private sellers? Thanks!

The $1k “holding deposits” that agents take are more or less pointless anyway, as they have to be returned if the sale doesn’t proceed and most buyers know this.

If you are really keen on getting some sort of financial committment from potential buyers, you can still take their $1k and put it in your solicitor’s trust account. This is the same place the 10% deposit will go once it is exchanged, to be held until settlement.

AG Canberra 9:03 am 21 Jul 11

Rex – we agreed with the buyers that the small financial deposit wasn’t required. If you did want to request one to re-assure yourself before exchange, then the appropriate place would be your solicitor’s trust account. This is where the main 10% one will also be deposited to.

Rex Banner 8:27 pm 20 Jul 11

Thanks for this detailed description of the process AG, it’s really helpful. We are seriously considering selling privately ourselves, so a step by step guide for doing it in Canberra has helped to answer a lot of our questions (and saved hours of trawling through other forums….).

Just a quick question – does it make a difference in terms of receiving a deposit? Who handles that? When we purchased out house (sold through a real estate agent) we paid a $1,000 deposit when our offer was accepted and a 10% deposit bond when contracts were exchanged. We were under the impression that the seller’s real estate agent was responsible for managing and holding the $1,000 deposit, and we can’t really recall who managed the 10% deposit bond until the sale was finalised. Any chance you could please shed some light on the process for private sellers? Thanks!

Fashion Queen 12:16 pm 20 Jul 11

A great post! Thanks for the info as I have often thought if I ever sell my house I would do it myself. It would be lovely to speak to the owners about a potential purchase you are about to make. I have always been my own property manager too with rental property which also saves the ridiculous % a real estate agent takes for doing virtually nothing and issues are solved quickly and developing a relationship with people who are living in your investment is ideal. The only bad side I would see is if you get some crazy having your contact details after you had sold the home…

djk 9:12 am 20 Jul 11

MissChief said :

Would recommend care with bank valuations. My Bank Manager told me recently that banks will generally value below market price.

Bank valuations are generally on the conservative side, I would not say they are below market price.

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