In almost any pursuit, it’s said that practice makes perfect.
If you want to learn to surf, then surf; run a marathon, then run; become a writer, then write. And in all instances, do them as often as you can. Selling property is not something the average home owner does all that often, so if you make a mistake, you’re rarely afforded the opportunity to learn from it and correct it for next time. This is the risk you take when you’re selling privately.
Real estate agents, on the other hand, sell property every day of their lives. As rookies, they work with other, more experienced, agents until they’ve earned their stripes and are competent enough to manage a listing on their own. In our guide to selling property, called Selling Your Property: What You Really Need to Know, we suggest finding an agent with experience selling property, not just in your local area, but also in selling property that’s most similar to yours. This way, you can ensure you have the most experienced and knowledgeable agent representing you and your interests in the market.
DIY property sales
But you don’t have to use an agent to sell property. You can (and there are a few home owners who go down this route) also sell your home privately, without an agent. Typically, you’ll use a service, such as For Sale By Owner or BuyMyPlace which, for a small fee, gives home owners access to professional photography, downloadable brochures, signboards, and listings on all the major property websites, including realestate.com.au and domain.com.au.
The main drawcard for home owners selling privately is that they can potentially save themselves thousands of dollars — around $13,255 on a $500,000 home. But there other things to consider before going down the DIY route.
The private sale experience
If you decide to sell your home without an agent, don’t assume that your property will sell itself. It won’t. Real estate agents have a database of pre-qualified buyers that they canvas each time they get a new listing, which adds more potential buyers to the pool of interest generated by your marketing campaign, and ultimately helps sell your property faster and for more money.
You don’t have a database of pre-qualified buyers, so you need to leverage every buyer who comes to inspect your home. This means contacting and soliciting buyer feedback from people who may not feel comfortable giving it to you, in a way that’s conducive to closing the sale — in other words, the hard sell won’t work.
Because you’re operating with a smaller pool of buyers coming to inspect your property, it will take longer to sell your home, which, sometimes, send the wrong message to buyers, especially if your home stays on the market a lot longer than most other properties in your area.
The real estate agent experience
Some home owners, although predominantly motivated by the prospect of saving a few thousand dollars, are also drawn to the idea that, as a private seller, they can control each aspect of their sales campaign. But this is true even with an agent representing you. Agents work as an intermediary, just as a lawyer or solicitor does when they represent you in legal matters. At the end of the day, they are working for you.
Your agent won’t make any decisions regarding the sale of your home without discussing it with you first. An agent will give you advice and suggestions, based on their experience and knowledge of the property market, but will ultimately only act as directed by you. This means, you will decide on the following:
- The sales method — ie. auction, private treaty or tender
- Photography (source own photographer or use agent’s recommendation)
- Marketing campaign (sign off on agent’s recommendations)
- Maintenance or repairs (the agent can organise this for you, or you can organise it)
- Inspection days and times.
Do you value experience?
In tossing up between hiring a real estate agent or selling your home privately, don’t only focus your energy on how much money you can save, or how much control you will have over the process. Ask yourself whether you value experience and a proven track record of success. If you do, then selecting an experienced and knowledgeable sales agent to represent you should be a no brainer.
Knowledge is power; take control over the sale of your number one asset. If you’d like a professional to help you navigate the sales process, and work to achieve a result that’s as good for you as it is for them, start the process by subscribing to receive access to our free educational guide to selling property, called Selling Your Property: What You Really Need to Know. The Selling Your Property guide will provide you with the information you need to know about working with a real estate agent to achieve the best result for your property — without any jargon or sales pitches.
As seen in..
Our educational blogs are designed to help you understand each of the steps involved in selling your property so whether you choose to work with a real estate agent or do it yourself you'll understand the work involved and be more efficient and aware of what you need to do. Our articles have been seen in these major online news and information portals..
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