Issue 56 - So – You would like to sell your property privately. October 2009
Good for you!
Selling your own home without using a real estate agent is not all that difficult.
But it will require patience, some negotiation ability and observance of a few dos and don’ts.
Obtain a valuation from a completely independent valuer. In many cases this will be more realistic than that obtained from some real estate salespeople.
Don’t try to handle the legal stuff yourself. Your solicitor will advise you on what you are permitted to do and/or say to promote your property and will be able to assist you in the preparation of an agreement for sale and purchase. Be aware, however, that this extra help will come at a cost and you need to expect that the legal expenses are going to be higher than if you had used a real estate agent for the sale and then the solicitor for just the conveyancing.
Be available to talk to people. Possibly the most annoying part of trying to buy a home privately, is that quite frequently the owners either won’t answer the phone, won’t reply to messages left by potential buyers or don’t even have a message service for when they are unable to answer the phone.
While we disagree with the concept of Real Estate Agents conducting open homes, (for various reasons, including, but certainly not limited to the tendency for them to attract the wrong buyers and possibly attract thieves), it may be that in order to sell your property yourself, you need to consider this method. Certainly, an open home is one method of ‘bunching’ the potential buyers so that buyer visits don’t eat-up all your weekends.
If possible, collect names and contact details from the potential buyers before they enter your home. Do not be afraid to ask for identity if you are concerned about their identity. It may be worth checking your insurance policy to check that it covers theft from open homes – many don’t.
If you are able, buy a book on negotiation. There is more to it than you may think but, somewhat surprisingly, my understanding is that not many real estate salespeople are taught negotiating so there may not be much difference between your ability and theirs. Be aware that some buyers target private sellers as they consider them ‘easy marks’ and some will take the line that, as you are not paying any commission to an agency, you can therefore afford to pass it through to them in a lower price, thereby somewhat defeating the whole purpose of selling the property yourself.