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Selling property privately – clever or crazy?

By Carolyn_G - 26 August 2012 41

Hi all

My husband and I are hoping to sell in the next few months and are currently looking at our options. We have met with an agent who was very nice but had a commission of almost 3%. We find it hard to imagine that the work of selling our house is worth over $12,000! A private seller ad on All Homes is a little over $1500 and it’s not much for a For Sale sign on Vistaprint or the like. Besides those and a few brochures to hand out I don’t think we would need for much more marketing.

We have a friend who takes property photographs for a living and I have already whipped up some words about the place (took all of 5 minutes).

I have read some other Riot ACT posts about selling privately and am thinking more and more than we could do it.

Would love to hear how other people went. Did it go terrible wrong for anyone? Also interested in suggestions for a great solicitor to help us through the process.

And just curious, would you think that an open house is the way to go, or viewings by appointment only?

What’s Your opinion?


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41 Responses to
Selling property privately – clever or crazy?
Carolyn_G 8:17 am 27 Aug 12

Very Busy said :

There are a few factors that should determine which way you should go.

1. Is your home an appealing home that will sell itself?
2. Are you sure that you know what its value is and that you won’t be underselling it or overpricing it?
3. Will you be available to show the home to potential buyers at a time that suits them? (For security reasons you should avoid the open house technique. Genuine buyers WILL look at private sales from Allhomes and make an appointment to view whereas sticky beakers will go to open homes.)
4. Do you have some basic negotiation techniques and experience?

If you can come up with YES to these questions you should definitely go privately and avoid an agent. You should do some ground work first including having a solicitor organised and draft contracts prepared. Good photographs are very important as is the wording in your ad. There may be a little additional work for your solicitor but the cost of this will be nowhere near what you’re saving on agents fees.

Also be a bit weary of responses you get here on Riotact because it is likely that some of the responses will be from real estate agents!!!!

Thanks for this very useful post, and I had wondered the same thing about who might be writing some posts! I am meeting with a few agents so I think once I have had a few valuations I’ll be confident with our asking price. The first valuation was pretty much what I was thinking so that was good to hear. Im not worried about getting top dollar, just a fair price that will allow us to move on.

I am not working at the moment so would have time to take calls etc. I have already decided though that I would not have people through without my husband home just for safety reasons. That would mean we could do private viewings any day after 4.30pm or anytime on the weekend. I would hope that would provide people with suitable options.

Carolyn_G 8:11 am 27 Aug 12

For a private sale I have budgeted
$100 signage and brochures (vistaprint do large lawn signs for $25)
$1500 all homes ad
$1500 solicitor
Building/pest/energy reports $1000

Forgetting anything?

2604 7:30 am 27 Aug 12

Carolyn_G said :

2604 – congrats on selling so fast. Just wondering if you found that people expected a discount due to a private sale?

Not at all, and if they had asked for one, I would have pointed out that I had done all the work that an agent would normally do, so the price should remain the same.

I also don’t think you should assume that an agent will automatically increase the price you can get for a house by $10,000. The fact is that many of them aren’t particularly smart, nor good negotiators. They also put buyers off – in fact, a couple of people who looked at my apartment told me how nice it was not having to deal with an agent, for once.

shauno 6:13 am 27 Aug 12

Not only that you have about $900 in building inspection and maybe a grand in lawyer fees for a bill of sale

enrique 11:05 pm 26 Aug 12
snoopydoc 10:53 pm 26 Aug 12

We sold our house in QLD in 2004 when we moved back to Canberra. We did it privately, rather than pay a real estate agent a very large sum for doing very little.

– Retained a solicitor for conveyancing $1,200
– Custom sign for the front yard $55
– Star pickets, etc., for abovementioned sign $20
– Listings on two different websites, with lots of photos we took ourselves $110
– Few page info pack I put together myself $[printer paper and an hour or so of time]

We ended up selling it within 3 weeks, costing around $1,400 all up and avoiding coughing up something like $14,000 to a real estate agent.

Carolyn_G 9:19 pm 26 Aug 12

Just thinking about your comment Sandman… If I go private sale I could discount the price a few thousand and I’d still be in front. Better deal for me and for the lucky buyer! I feel I’d be happier giving a buyer a few thousand off and keeping a few extra thousand for myself rather than pay an agent.

We have a figure in mind that we want to walk away with. Obviously if an agent sells it the sale price needs to be about $10,000 higher than if we do it ourselves. I guess a good agent could make that happen.

2604 – congrats on selling so fast. Just wondering if you found that people expected a discount due to a private sale?

We are meeting another agent this week… I’ll see if I’m convinced after that meeting.

Very Busy 9:13 pm 26 Aug 12

There are a few factors that should determine which way you should go.

1. Is your home an appealing home that will sell itself?
2. Are you sure that you know what its value is and that you won’t be underselling it or overpricing it?
3. Will you be available to show the home to potential buyers at a time that suits them? (For security reasons you should avoid the open house technique. Genuine buyers WILL look at private sales from Allhomes and make an appointment to view whereas sticky beakers will go to open homes.)
4. Do you have some basic negotiation techniques and experience?

If you can come up with YES to these questions you should definitely go privately and avoid an agent. You should do some ground work first including having a solicitor organised and draft contracts prepared. Good photographs are very important as is the wording in your ad. There may be a little additional work for your solicitor but the cost of this will be nowhere near what you’re saving on agents fees.

Also be a bit weary of responses you get here on Riotact because it is likely that some of the responses will be from real estate agents!!!!

grunge_hippy 6:37 pm 26 Aug 12

we are in the same boat and are very interested in what is recommended. We are strongly leaning towards doing it ourselves. In a place like canberra, where everyone goes to allhomes anyway, it just seems logical to do it ourselves.

I have had friends do it with no dramas, it doesnt seem too hard.

JimCharles 6:13 pm 26 Aug 12

kakosi said :

I suggest if you’re going to hire an agent go out and look at how they are selling other homes first.

Turn up, open door, wait for offer.

Sandman 5:54 pm 26 Aug 12

We had a crack at selling a rural property privately. Eventually listed it with an agent and it was sold in no time for the price we wanted.

A lot of people will stay away from a privately listed property and the people who do show interest will think you should give it to them cheaper because you don’t have commissions to pay.

Just negotiate a better deal with an agent and let them deal with the hassles. What’s a measly 10g when it comes to a half million dollar property?

2604 5:54 pm 26 Aug 12

DIY all the way. I did, three years ago and sold within three days. Saved about $15,000 for about ten hours of my time, all up. You sound like you’ve already done most of the work and having good photos will help a lot.

Have an open house – maybe an hour on Saturday morning and an hour on Sunday morning, to ensure that everyone can attend. Make sure you take down the names of all visitors and call them later that day to see if they want a copy of the contract for sale, which you can email through.

As for legals, you should use Bradley Allen, their conveyancing staff are great.

laughtong 5:16 pm 26 Aug 12

We sold successfully last year through an agent.
We interviewed two agents and went with the agency using the Jenman system,
In Canberra this is the Real Estate shop. http://realestateshop.com.au/home/

I was very reluctant to pay the $2000 for marketing the other agency wanted (up front if I remember correctly). Real Estate shop will only even go to All Homes if their contacts system fails to find buyers within a short time period.

They took a lot of the pain and stress away, which is partly what you pay for. They also negoitated our buyer up quite a bit from her first offer, but know when she was at her limit and might walk. Again skills you pay for with a good agent.

If you decide to go through an agent definitely talk to Real Estate Shop.

kakosi 3:37 pm 26 Aug 12

Depends on how much time you have to do the viewings yourself. As long as you have a good solicitor you should be ok.

I suggest if you’re going to hire an agent go out and look at how they are selling other homes first.

Golden-Alpine 2:26 pm 26 Aug 12

I always said we would go private when we sold but last year we sold our first property last year we used an agent. Very pleased we did. It is already a stressful and emotional thing best left to a professional.

Maybe we would have gotten the same amount, maybe not.

I think you will find that when people make an offer they will take into consideration you aren’t paying an agent.

I would suggest go with an agent. If you do go for open homes try a twilight opening during the week.

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