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8 Steps to selling your house privately

February 3, 2006 10:50 PM EST | | Email to Friend

Why Sell Privately..?

Well let’s get straight to the point, the main reason for selling your home privately is to save money. And this is a great reason, as by not paying agents commissions you can save up to $15000 on a $500,000 dollar house. This is calculated using an agent’s commission of 3%, however they can often be higher than this.

So if an agent sells your house, and puts in around 60 hours (can often be far less especially during boom markets) of work selling your house for $500,000, by showing people through, answering phone calls, and placing your ads in the newspaper. This means that you are effectively paying your agent $250 per hour, for something that you could easily do yourself. Why Do People Not Sell Privately..?

The main reason people choose to use agents, is because they think there is some mystique to selling a house, and also that they would not be able to handle the negotiation.

However, the simple fact is that houses sell themselves, not agents. If your house is priced well, you have put effort into the appearance, and have marketed your property, you will find a buyer, no problem.

This means that every hour you put in, you will be paying yourself $250 per hour using the example. Wouldn’t this money be better in your pocket rather than the agents?And who is more qualified to sell your house than you? You can point out all the features and good aspects of your house, small things like, this part of the house gets great sun in winter, things the agent just wouldn’t know.

How to Sell Privately..?

Once you’ve decided to sell privately all you have to do is follow these steps, and you’re on you way to cracking open the bubbly…!

Step 1. Study the market in your areaTo ensure you have a good understanding of the current real estate market in your area, take the time to study current trends and pricing. Take particular notice of houses similar to yours, in your area. Look at the advertised selling price vs. the time the house has been on the market.

Pay particular attention to properties that have sold, this will give you a good idea of current market value, as those houses have actually sold at that price.

You can find this information out by yourself by looking at real estate internet sites, however there are companies that will provide current real estate statistics for your area, generally at a fee. If you are interested in obtaining this info, just type ‘real estate statistics’ into a search engine.

Step 2. Get an independent evaluation (not through agents)Setting the right price for your house is imperative, as a house that languishes on the market for too long will become stale, and buyers will wonder what is wrong with it, and if you undervalue your house you could lose out on money.

Studying your local area will give you a good idea on the value on your home, and what price you should set it at. However, it is still generally a good idea to get an independent valuation (not through an agent) to give you a valuation on your house. This service will generally cost a couple of hundred dollars, but will save you undervaluing your house. They will also be able to point out issues with your house, which you will be able to attend to before sale.

Step 3. Get a contract drawn up by a solicitor before you begin the selling process. Selling a home yourself is simple, however one thing that has to be done by a professional is the contract of sale. Regardless of whether you sell privately or through an agent, a solicitor or conveyancer will be needed to draw up your contract of sale.

It is important to put some thought into things such as settlement period and sale inclusions and exclusions, and other factors at this stage. However, your solicitor of conveyancer will be able be able to walk you through this. This will ensure that all factors that you want determined in the sale are sorted out up front.

Step 4. Get a pest and building report done on your propertyIt is a really good idea to get a pest and building report done on your house before you put it on the market. This will ensure that you can repair any issues that you might have with your house that may delay the sale.

It will also give buyers peace of mind that the house is structurally sound and is pest free. It is a good idea to make copies of this report, and include it in your information pack that you give to potential buyers.

Step 5. Organise an information package on your house that you can give to buyersThis will ensure that most common questions that buyers might have (and forget to ask during inspection) are answered. You can also use this package to point out good features of the house such as a sunny backyard during winter, which is why the private seller is the best qualified to sell their house.

Information to include is things such as:
Cost of rates/amenities/utilitieso Local council area
Schools nearby Shops and services nearby
Recent repairs/extensions completed
Any other information that you think will help in selling your property
Land dimensions
House dimensions
Contact details (give a mobile number if available and make sure that you answer it)

Step 6. Marketing/AdvertisingEven though you are selling privately, establishing a marketing plan is still very important. Traditionally the way most houses were noticed was by having a for sale sign out the front, as the majority of buyers already live in the local area. A for sale sign is still essential, however statistics show that the internet is the first port of call for buyers these days looking for property. So to get your marketing campaign started at the very minimum you should have a for sale sign and an internet listing For sale signs and internet listings are the cornerstones of advertising your property, however there are other simple, cheap and easy steps you can take to market/advertise you property.

You can print up a flyer on your computer, which has the relevant details about your property, and a photo. You can then stick this up on notice boards around town.

You can let all your friends and relatives know that your house is for sale. An effective way to do this is with a bulk email. Using the network of people you know will quickly and effectively reach hundreds or thousands of people, as your contacts let other people know.

You can also place a small text ad in your local newspaper, where you can state the ID of your internet listing (such as Property ID: 1022) so that people that like the sound of your property can take a look on the internet. This way you get cheap advertisement, and people can still view your property.

So to recap your marketing/advertising campaign should include some or all of the steps below…

1. Organize an internet listing of your property
2. Organize a ‘private sale’ for sale sign for your property
3. Make a flyer about your property and distribute it around your town
4. Use your personal contacts to spread the word that you are selling your house.
5. Place a cheap text ad in your local newspaper

Step 7. Prepare your negotiationBefore you start your advertising campaign it is a good idea to have a negotiation plan. Negotiation is the part of private selling that most people seem to think is the ‘hard part’. However if you know what outcome you want, then it’s as easy as selling a car.

Again, I must stress that it is important to have priced your house correctly, so that you know how much your house is worth.

The things to consider about your situation when thinking about negotiation are things such as:

Are you willing to negotiate on price, and what is your rock bottom figure?
Will you offer a small discount for a quick (or protracted) settlement?
What settlement terms do you want?

Knowing the value of your house, and knowing what type of settlement you want (this should be stated in the contract) makes negotiation a breeze. Dealing directly with the buyer also allows both parties to come to the best arrangement to accommodate both parties.

Step 8. Settle and celebrateOnce the deal had been struck, your solicitor/conveyancer will do the rest.

Now all there is to do is congratulate yourself, enjoy the satisfaction of selling your house yourself and saving yourself thousands in the process, and crack open the champagne!

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