Selling your own home is about confidence. Here’s how to do it without a real estate agent to hold your hand.
Seriously – we get it. We get that you may really want to give selling your place on your own a go, but aren’t sure that you can – or should.
We get that uneasy feeling or sneaking suspicion that you might actually need a property agent. Guess what: real estate agents understand it too. That's because they’ve helped put those feelings there.
The entire industry has been built on selling people on the idea that they can’t and shouldn’t sell their own property every bit as much as it’s been built on selling property.
Look: there’s a place for real estate agents, and we get that too. But enough about the myths that only they can do this, beginning with the word agent, which means “someone who acts on your behalf”, not “someone who can do what you’re not authorised or able to do”, right?
Selling your property privately begins with confidence, and when I talk about confidence I don’t necessarily mean a feeling (although that feeling will probably come after you sell that first time, which is what usually happens to our clients); I'm talking about an awareness of what you are able to do.
So, let’s get into some questions about what you absolutely have to be able to do in order to go at it alone without an agent.
Of course you can – you’ve now got the internet in the palm of your hand.
The research is to find out what your place is worth – something that can make private sellers nervous off the bat. But trust me – the information is already out there for you to access. There are multiple ways to value your place for free.
Most houses need a little fixing to sell for the optimum price, and some people are super handy at this. If this is you, pat yourself on the back. If it isn’t you, you’re still good.
That’s because chances are there’s something you know how to fix – whether it’s hammering a loose nail or painting a ceiling. If not, there’s usually someone who can teach you how – whether it’s your dad or YouTube.
And if you’re still shaking your head, that’s OK: there’s always the phone. More about this in a bit.
You’re damned right you can clean and clear – you do it all the time. I feel your pain. It might seem basic, but a clean, uncluttered home makes a massive difference to the way potential buyers look at it. You’re showing your place off!
Remember that de-cluttering doesn’t need to be permanent: a buyer won’t care that you’ve moved great-aunt Betty’s collection of antique china clowns out to a box in the garage – just that they can look at your place without distraction.
Marketing your property can be as simple or elaborate as you like, but it always includes the basics: photos and a property description. Simple.
While we’re not shy about recommending professional photography, you absolutely can do your own if you like. And you don’t need a Master of Letters to write a compelling property description – in fact, it’s much better if you don’t have one, and concentrate on what you love about the property instead.
These are all no-brainers and also relate to your marketing. When you put your place up for sale, it’ll be the most natural thing in the world to tell people you know about it.
If you want to go just that little bit further in your neighbourhood, a letter drop is literally a walk or bike ride away. You can even get the kids involved! Easy.
Contracts, deposits, exchanges, settlements and so on are your one bit of legal compliance and you’ll be glad to handball it to a professional.
Most of us have gone to a solicitor before and while it’s often for the not-so-fun times in our lives, you’ll find your solicitor an absolute ally when selling privately. Let them deal with the legalities and relax.
OK, none of us likes to wait, but can you? Because fact is that no matter how you’re selling your place – privately or through an agent – you’ll probably have to wait a bit. An average of three months, in fact.
Let’s face it – you probably waited at least ten times that long for your team to get to the grand final, so you know what to do. Just shrug and deal.
Running an ‘Open’ for inspection is a lot simpler than throwing a party, but most of the elements are the same: making your home inviting, being the host or hostess with the mostest, talking to people, making sure the fur kids are out of the way, putting balloons or signage up. If you’ve ever had a party, you’ve got this.
Negotiating is another one of those things that makes people break out in a cold sweat. Here’s news: it doesn’t have to.
Negotiating is just a conversation about money – that’s it. Get a strategy in place before you go in, and you’ll be negotiating like a pro.
To sell your home you’ll need photos, “for sale” boards, conveyancers and solicitors; you’ll need to get stuff fixed, clean and de-clutter, and know the house’s value; you might even want some interior design, landscaping, or staging.
If you can’t do some or any of this, all you need to do is pick up the phone: there are professionals out there who can help.
The thing for you to know is this: when selling privately, the to-do list is straightforward and manageable. There’s nothing mysterious or impossible.
Just do what you can do and get help for the rest. And that’s all the confidence you need.