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Can you afford to do a 'DIY' house sale?

Posted on 7 September 2016

In slightly less than thriving property market, an increasingly popular way to cut some costs is to do a DIY sale, forgoing the help (and the big fees) of a professional real estate agent and going it alone.

The obvious benefit to taking the do-it-yourself route is that, if you do things right and avoid the pitfalls, those huge real estate agent commissions are all yours, giving you greater flexibility to either pocket the change or spend what you save on a bigger and better home or slashing your mortgage. But the other big benefit is that you are in charge.

Because of this, you can forget all about the middle-man: the waiting around for messages, the wondering if your real estate agent is working hard for your money or if they're being totally honest with you. You also have full control of how your property is marketed and staged, while the 'DIY' route can also attract certain sellers, as they may be more open to freely negotiating if they believe a slick professional is not involved.

Of course, DIY house selling is not all roses, either. And that's not just because some buyers are simply 'put off' by not believing that a professional is steering your ship.

There is a bigger reason that real estate agents can and do charge thousands to sell your home - because they're qualified, they're experienced, and that's what they get up in the morning to do, each and every day. Learning all the tricks of the trade takes years, and working effectively as an agent takes a lot of time out of the day. You probably have your own job, so do you really have time to take on another, particularly when it is your biggest asset that is on the line? Can you really afford to miss something crucial?

Indeed, many people take on the task of selling their own home without realising just how hard it is. And it's not just the insider knowledge: there's a mountain of paperwork to navigate as well and you will need the help of a conveyancer, regardless of whether you engage an agent or decide to go it alone.

Another potential downside to DIY selling is that you run the risk of being unwittingly outwitted by a professional. Imagine, for example, that your potential buyer is a professional investor, whose job is to negotiate property purchases for the lowest possible price, deploying all of the kind of insider tricks that any industry professional possesses. Taking this task on could be like sending your favourite uncle in to fight Mike Tyson. On top of that, there's also a lot to do - but none of it is impossible to do well.

You need to market the selling points of your home effectively, have them written up in a professional and enticing way, advertised in all the right places, presented as professional-looking, beautiful photos, marketed with a realistic price that maximises its full price potential but doesn't scare off the market - and the list goes on. An older home, for example, might worry potential buyers about building integrity and unwanted residents, so in this case consider getting building and pest inspections done beforehand.

Then there's the time it takes to do the actual selling. The success of your open inspections can be the difference between selling in a timely manner and not selling at all, and making sure your home is presented and staged perfectly is not the only consideration.

Real estate agents can be best at giving advice as to how a home should be presented the most effectively, in terms of showing off the property's versatility and selling points, and making the very best of any weaknesses. And then there is not only the time invested in standing around during the open times, but understanding 'open inspection' etiquette like not irritating potential buyers, inadvertently talking a buyer out of their interest, or coming across like a second-rate used car salesman.



By Darel McBride


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