Selling a Property
There are some important decisions that need to be made and steps to follow when
selling probably a person's most valuable asset - their home or real estate investment.
Below is a list of steps to consider and decisions that will need to be made:
- Choose your agent
- How will you sell?
- Decide what's for sale?
- Prepare the contract
- Choose your method of sale
- Set the price
- Prepare your property
- Negotiating and accepting offers
- Make the big move
Choosing an Agent
You will probably never sell anything more valuable than your home. While you may
be tempted to save some money and go it alone, the best advice you can take is to
seek the help of an expert. That means finding an agent you can trust to give you
good advice and act in your best interests. The value of obtaining a realistic price,
using the most efficient method of sale and selling your home sooner will far outweigh
the cost of employing a professional. So, what can you expect an agent to do? In
essence, they will:
- Provide a realistic market appraisal
- Advise on the best method of sale
- Decide on the most effective advertising and promotion for your property
- Implement that advertising and promotion
- Advise on the presentation of your home to the public
- Bring the property before as many potential purchasers as possible
- Protect your security by accompanying only genuine purchasers into your home
- Present all offers
- Negotiate the best price with the purchaser
- Ensure all requirements in the official sale of your home are fulfilled
- Be involved in the exchange and settlement as required
What should you look for when choosing an agent? You should seek advice from at
least three different agents. You want to know:
- How much they anticipate you would get for your home
- How much it will cost you to secure their services, and what specifically is included
in that cost
Each agent will provide a quote on their commission fee and charges to sell your
home. Don't automatically choose the agent who quotes the lowest commission fee
and the highest selling price. Ask for the valuation to be substantiated. What prices
have similar properties recently been sold for? Find out exactly what charges are
involved and what your commission fee covers. Usually it should cover the agent's
time to promote and sell the house, the cost of advertising and promotion and the
administrative costs of the sale, but get specifics. Open houses, for example, can
be the most effective method of promoting your home but they're also expensive for
the agent. So find out what forms of promotion you'll be getting-newspaper advertising,
letterbox drops, open houses-and why your agent has selected these methods. Remember,
like most things in life - you get what you pay for. Choosing an agent purely on
the fee that is charged may get you minimal service that jeopardizes your opportunity
of getting a sale "in the quickest possible time and at the highest possible price".
» back to top
Types Of Agreements - Choosing the Best Method of Sale
Once you've chosen your agent you'll need to sign an agency agreement.
There are a number of options to choose from when deciding how to sell your property.
Local conditions, general market trends and the nature of your property will all
influence the decision and your agent can explain each option.
Exclusive Agency Agreement
Under an exclusive agency agreement you appoint one real estate agent to undertake
the sale of your house. The benefit is you get to build rapport with, and only deal
with, one person who is concentrating their efforts on selling your property. This
type of agreement can cover both the auction and private treaty methods of sale.
General Listing/Open Agency Agreement
Through general listing you contact a number of agents and agree for them to list
your home on their books. You only pay the commission to the agent who finds the
purchaser and secures the deposit. While this may sound like a good way to get extended
coverage and more service, in actual fact it can be the opposite. Open listings
are not given the same level of time and effort as exclusive agency agreements.
You could end up paying duplicated advertising fees. From a buyers point of view,
more than one 'For Sale' sign on your property gives the impression you're desperate
to sell. Basically, it's better to be one agent's top priority than the lowest priority
of four agencies. The best way to get the personal service of an exclusive agency agreement but the
comprehensive coverage of numerous agencies is to multiple list your property.
When choosing to multilist you deal exclusively with one agent who is part of a
whole network of agents working together to sell your home. EAC is the largest such multiple listing agency in NSW with 2,500 representatives
throughout the State. The benefits for vendors choosing to list with an EAC
agent are many:
- Your property details are automatically distributed to all EAC agents in your
- Extensive coverage-through Realtor. Properties listed with EAC agents are eligible
for display in the home buyers 'bible'-the Realtor magazine. This magazine is distributed
throughout Sydney and regional NSW.
- Extensive coverage-through the internet. Potentially millions of people around
the world would see your property when it is listed on the realestateworld.com.au website - www.realestateworld.com.au.
- Professional and Personal Service: EAC agents are subject to a code of conduct
ensuring every rule and regulation is adhered to. While we're a large organisation,
after nearly forty years in multilisting we know that the most important thing remains
» back to top
Inclusions and Exclusions - What Is to be included in the sale?
You need to determine what removable fittings and fixtures are to be included in
the sale of your property. Exclusions need to be written into the contract. Walk
through your home and consider whether you want to sell such things as the floor
coverings, ceiling fans, white goods, heaters, water purifier, air conditioners,
alarm system, light fittings, television aerial, outside awnings, clothes line and
above ground pool.
Preparation of the Contract
A copy of the proposed contract for sale is required before an agent can market
a residential property. You will have to instruct your solicitor/conveyancer to
prepare this and to send a copy to your agent. A planning certificate from the local
council must be attached to the contract and you may be able to speed things along
if you get this certificate. Ask your solicitor/conveyancer.
Which Method of Sale?
The aim of the agent is to obtain your asking price in the shortest possible time.
To do so you have the option of selling your home through private treaty
or by auction. Private treaty simply means you set a price and market the house accordingly until
it's sold. With auction, you set a reserve price, the minimum you are willing to
accept, and buyers bid against one another at a set time and place. Once bidding
passes your reserve you know you have an unconditional sale with a full deposit
paid and exchange of contracts taking place on the day. Your agent will advise the
best time of day and whether the auction should take place on or off-site. Generally
auctions work best for houses which are difficult to put a price on because of a
particular desirable feature. Whether auction or private treaty your agent will know the best methods of promotion
for your property, whether that's an open house (where your property is advertised
as open for inspection at preset times), newspaper advertising or a letterbox drop.
Some of the advantages of selling your property at auction include:
- Competitive bidding, which means there is no price barrier. This makes an auction
especially good for unusual or desirable properties which are difficult to put a
- a definite sale made under the hammer, assuming the reserve price is reached
- controlled open house inspections
- maximum exposure for maximum market impact
- protection for trustees, executors and mortgagees
- a set date of sale encourages potential buyers to act quickly
- identifies most likely buyer to negotiate with, if not sold on fall of the hammer
» back to top
Setting the Price
- Your agent will establish a realistic price for your property based on: the property location, age, size, features
- market variables such as interest rates, property availability and buyer demand
- the sale prices of similar properties within your area. It's important the price
you set for your property is realistic. If it's too high you'll put off potential
purchasers. You'll need to rely heavily on your agent's knowledge to set a realistic
price and on their negotiation skills to obtain the best possible price.
Preparing the Property
Whether potential buyers will be seeing your home through individual inspections
or 'open house' your property needs to be prepared. First impressions count so make
sure the outside of your property looks inviting. Fresh paint, clean and tidy paths
and sparkling windows make all the difference. Nothing improves atmosphere more
than brightness, so let plenty of light into your home. Open drapes and switch on
lights if it's a dull day. You want your home to feel comfortable so if it's cold,
heat the rooms. If you've got an open fire, light it. Alternatively in summer turn
on the air conditioner or let a cool breeze blow through a window. Take the time
to fix those niggly problems you never get around to-dripping taps, broken tiles,
loose knobs, cracked window panes, sticking doors and the squeaky gate. Have your
carpets professionally steam cleaned.
Bathrooms and kitchen are often the most influential
rooms so make sure they're fresh, clean and tidy. And don't forget the garage. Does
it need a coat of paint or a major clean out? Should you stay at home during inspections? It's often preferable that you don't.
Nothing personal but buyers tend to feel less like intruders when owners aren't
around, besides, you can trust your agent to best emphasise the features of your
home. If you do decide to stay, remove distractions by turning off the television
and radio and keeping pets and children well out of the way. Be courteous but don't
force conversation on potential buyers and don't apologise for the appearance or
condition of your home. Leave the negotiations to your agent and certainly don't
ever allow an inspection to take place without your agent.
Negotiating and Accepting an Offer
Your agent should handle all negotiations and if you're approached directly you
should politely direct the purchaser to your agent. Any offers will be presented
to you by your agent. You can either accept the offer or counter it with a price
acceptable to you. Your agent will advise you on whether the offer is acceptable,
taking into consideration price, suitability of the deposit, ability of buyer to
pay, terms of finance and the settlement date.
» back to top
Once you and the buyer have agreed on a price, the contract can be signed and a
10% deposit paid and held in trust by your agent. Until signed copies of the contract
are exchanged neither the buyer nor the seller are legally bound to the transaction.
Purchasers in NSW are subject to a cooling off period (usually five working days).
If you are selling and buying at the same time you might need a requirement that
the buyer forgo the cooling off period rights. Your agent can advise you on this.
The buyer also has rights to carry out professional inspections such as pest or
building inspections. Your solicitor or conveyancer will handle the transfer once the contract is signed.
Transfer includes the arrangements for the balance of the purchase price to be paid
either directly to you or into your bank account. Agents normally deduct their commission
fee from the deposit after settlement and forward the balance to you. The property
remains legally your responsibility until settlement day when the keys are handed
over and the purchaser takes ownership.
Making the Move
If you're moving to a new home after selling your house you've still got a big job
ahead of you. This is best tackled with plenty of planning and preparation and some
very detailed lists. As soon as possible before moving, start organising:
- Removalists-Obtain quotes from three removalists. Discuss costs, insurance, packing,
loading, delivery and claims procedures. Book the one that best suits your needs.
- Do it Yourself Removal-If you're moving yourself, get quotes from truck rental
companies and book a vehicle in advance. You'll need to work out how many cubic
feet of non-boxable and boxable possessions you need to move so you know what size
truck to book. Don't book open trucks, it's bound to rain. Source boxes as well.
Often truck rental companies can help here. Possessions-make an inventory of all
your possessions. Is it time for a garage sale or a trip to the Salvos? Do you need
to organise storage? If so, source quotes
- Floor plan-Draw a floor plan of your new house and start deciding where furniture
will go. If you're packing yourself, box everything by room and label the boxes
- Services-Make a list of all the services to be affected by your move. Which ones
will you no longer use, which ones just need to know change of address?
- On moving day, it's good to have some things close at hand, so pack these to be
carried with you:
- Utility knife
- Masking tape
- Tea & coffee making facilities (including the kettle)
- Toilet paper
- Soap and toiletries
- Bath towels
- Garbage bags
- Pencils and paper
- Local phone book
- Cleaning products
- Kids' toys
Kids and Pets and Moving
Moving house isn't just stressful for you; it's a major disruption for children
and pets as well. With a little sensitive planning this disruption can be minimised.
Prepare your children for the move, talk to them about where you're going and why
and let them talk about how they feel. Try to avoid changing the children's routine
too much. Involve young children in the move. They can pack at least one of their
own boxes and unpack when you arrive. Perhaps the children can make the labels or
some other important task. When you arrive, organise the children's rooms as soon
as possible so they are surrounded with familiar objects.
Older children will need help saying goodbye to friends and encouraged about the
prospect of making new friends. Involve them in the move completely and let them
know their help is appreciated.
Pets will be disorientated when you move, so it's best to keep them inside for a
few days. Keep an eye on them when they're outside and give them lots of attention.
Just think, according to the statistics, you'll be doing this all again in 7.2 years
» back to top