Should I sell privately?

We often get asked the question, 'Should we sell privately?'

In the modern world, people have the ability to photograph and list their homes from the comfort of their couch. If successful, they could save themselves paying an agents commission. The real question is, 'Are they really saving or are they actually costing themselves money?'

We're not entirely against private sales, as we believe they can have their time and place. For example, you've got an investment property with great tenants that want to buy and they make you an offer you are comfortable with. This is something worth considering.

But the truth is, selling privately is a risk. We send our cars to mechanics, we go to surgeons for operations and although most of us can cook, we go to restaurants for nice meals. An experienced agent will have the skills and experience that should ultimately assist in making you money (and that's after their commission is paid, which they'll certainly deserve). Before listing privately, think about some of these questions:

1. How certain are you of the local market, and of what your property is worth? 

Ask any agent and they'll tell you that vendors struggle to appropriately value their own homes, and they almost always have an emotional connection that carries no value to the buyers. 

2. How good are your negotiation skills and how comfortable are you in having these discussions?

Having the price set correctly is one step, but it's even more important to be able to adequately negotiate around that price and be able to leave satisfied. 

3. How much time do you have on your hands to organise open days and inspections?

Remember you won't just be getting the house in order and leaving whilst an agents shows someone through. You'll have strangers coming through and grilling you about everything, telling you about the bits they love and how much they hate your favourite blue wall. Is this something you feel comfortable with?

4. Beyond listing the property online, what budget have you set aside and what purchasing power do you have beyond just online?

The truth is most of your agents aren't just listing online. They will usually advertise on their own websites, as well as via email marketing that goes out daily/weekly, and on social media to thousands of followers. In addition to this they might advertise in the local paper. However, the most important of all, they will be marketing your property to the person they showed through the home just up the street, who they know will love your place.

5. Have you considered the additional fees you may incur?

You'll likely incur greater fees with your conveyancer or solicitor as you'll require more time and advice to ensure you're properly covered and that the contract is secure. 

6. Who are you going to turn to if you run into trouble?

We see it every single day. When it comes to buying and selling property, things rarely go to plan. It's a stressful time and us conveyancers often find ourselves armwrestling between banks, mortgage brokers, agents and other parties to ensure we settle. Agents play a huge role in pulling together a lot of the paperwork and bearing this stress for you.

When you think about it, you'd expect to pay around 2.2-3.3% commission. Using a $300,000 property as an example, you're looking at paying $6600-$9900. It seems like a lot of money, but say your property sits on the market for 3 months (about average), that's a lot of work, added to a lot of risk.

It's time to find an agent. Check our our post about 'Finding an Agent' here


*** the views expressed in this article are those of the author, you should seek your independent advice from trusted advisors in regards to your own personal circumstances.