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Selling your home without an agent

What does Beyonce’s fifth album and selling your home have in common? Both can be offered for sale without a big marketing blitz.

Beyonce’s fifth album – Beyonce – was launched with no pre-release marketing blitz, no pre-release singles and in fact no notice at all. In December, Beyonce simply offered her album for sale via iTunes and notified her fans via Instagram and Twitter. In less than a week, the album sold close to one million copies.

While selling your home is a rather more modest endeavor, technology and social media mean that the traditional role of an agent in getting the property in front of interested buyers can be bypassed by those who prefer a DIY approach.

Selling privately – easier than you might think

“There are three ways to sell your house,” says real estate consumer advocate, Neil Jenman. “Firstly you can sell it privately without an agent, secondly you can find a good negotiating agent to sell it through or thirdly you can find a ‘jafa’. What’s a jafa? It’s ‘Just Another Foolish Agent’ – and there are thousands of them out there.”

Mr Jenman encourages home owners that option one – selling privately – is easier than many of them think. “It’s so easy, it’s a joke, it really is,” he says. “Get a valuation from a good valuer beforehand so that you know a realistic price, then stick an advertisement on the internet, have a sign made up to put at the front of their property and away you go. A word of warning: as a private seller if you fail to sell, it’s usually because you are asking too much money. In many cases, though, if you price your property well then you will get a better price than selling through an agent – plus you have saved yourself the commission.”

How much could you save?

The obvious attraction to selling your home privately is saving on the agent’s commission. The average commission rate around Australia varies, but it’s generally about 2.5% of the sale price. At the median capital city dwelling price of $819,000 (CoreLogic, June 2017), that equates to a cost of over $20,400.

If you do manage to sell your home for a good price without the help of an agent, perhaps that $20,400 saving could be spent on a luxury overseas holiday! Of course, agents might argue this $13,000 saving is negated by the fact that they would’ve been able to sell the home for more.

Some tips for selling privately

If you do decide you want to sell your home without an agent, bear in mind the following tips:

  • Get a good valuation so that you know a realistic asking price. Being sure about the value will also put you in a good negotiating position.
  • Take or have taken some attractive photos of your property in order to market it effectively. Make sure you present the house and clean, light and uncluttered, with a well-kept garden.
  • Advertise your property online and in print. You could also consider a letter drop in your local area.
  • Arrange some general “open for inspection” times. Collect the details of those who inspect the property and answer any queries on the day courteously.
  • Have your solicitor draw up a contract for sale, to ensure that everything is correct.
  • Be prepared for negotiation! “If you really want to sell your property well, you need a good negotiator,” says Neil. “That can easily be yourself but if you don’t have the ability to negotiate then you may be better off finding a really good agent who can do that on your behalf.”

Selling privately is far more popular in some other countries, including the USA, than it is in Australia. Nevertheless, similarly to Beyonce’s blitz-free album release, perhaps DIYing your property transactions is a trend whose time has come.

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