Effie Za­hos Five op­tions to con­sider

Whether you use an agent or do it your­self, the aim is to get the best price for your prop­erty. Here are five win­ning tips.

Money Magazine Australia - - CONTENTS - STORY EFFIE ZA­HOS

1 If you want to go the tra­di­tional route: heya­gents.com.au

A good real es­tate agent can add tens of thou­sands of dol­lars to the sale of your home but how do you go about find­ing the right one? The new web­site heya­gents.com. au does just that! By sim­pli­fy­ing the process it helps you find the per­fect agent. You tell them about your prop­erty and what you’re look­ing for in an agent and it de­liv­ers a brief to the most rel­e­vant lo­cal agents. From there you’ll re­ceive a tai­lored pro­posal that com­pares and ranks the agents. With over 40,000 agents on its data­base, co-founder Matthew Gre­gory likens the web­site to Tri­pAd­vi­sor for real es­tate. “You can browse and com­pare your lo­cal agents anony­mously,” he says. The ser­vice is free for sell­ers. Heya­gents.com.au re­ceives a re­fer­ral fee from the agent who sells your home.

2 If you’ve got the gift of the gab: for­sale­by­owner.com.au

If you’ve got the time and the right per­son­al­ity, you may be able to by­pass a real es­tate agent al­to­gether and sell it your­self. For­sale­by­owner.com.au, one of the largest pri­vate sale busi­nesses with around 2000 list­ings at any given time, of­fers two pack­ages (Es­sen­tials, $699, and Es­sen­tials Plus, $969) to help ven­dors sell their own home. Both pack­ages are “listed un­til sold” and in­clude list­ings on prop­erty por­tals realestate.com.au and do­main.com.au, plus “for sale” boards, mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als and sup­port, if needed.

Other por­tals that for­sale­by­owner.com.au uses in­clude juwai.com (Chi­nese), homely.com.au and home­sales. com.au. “We give sell­ers the op­por­tu­nity to do well and not be prej­u­diced by not hav­ing a real es­tate agent,” says founder Colin Sacks. “With the prop­erty mar­ket soft­en­ing, those who have only re­cently bought just don’t have the eq­uity to be eaten up by agent commission and mar­ket­ing fees.”

3 If you want to do it your­self but with the op­tion of some help: buymy­place.com.au

This would suit those who want ba­sic help with the op­tion of ex­tra ser­vices. You sim­ple se­lect one of four pack­ages, write your prop­erty de­scrip­tion, upload your

photo and buymy­place.com.au puts your list­ing on its web­site and seven oth­ers, in­clud­ing the big guns, realestate.com.au and do­main.com.au.

The ba­sic pack­age starts at $650 and in­cludes a “for sale” board, mar­ket com­par­i­son re­port and brochures. The “rec­om­mended” pack­age comes in at $1495 and in­cludes four hours of sup­port with a prop­erty ex­pert plus a floor plan and pro­fes­sional copy­writ­ing. If you in­tend tak­ing your prop­erty to auc­tion, you’ll need to add a fur­ther $895 on top of your se­lected pack­age. Chief ex­ec­u­tive Colin Keat­ing says that sell­ers save $17,000 on an av­er­age home sale and most are sold within 30 to 40 days, although it’s not un­usual for some to be sold within a week.

4 If you have an ex­pen­sive prop­erty: hello.com.au

The one-size-fits-all model from Hello real es­tate may be worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing if you have an ex­pen­sive prop­erty. There are no com­mis­sions or agent fees but rather a fixed fee. Ven­dors have the op­tion of se­lect­ing from three pack­ages – ba­sic $7990, stan­dard $9990 and pre­mium $11,990. On a $900,000 home you can ex­pect to save $12,000 (typ­i­cal com­mis­sions would be around $20,000).

If your home is worth less than $400,000, you need to weigh up if it’s worth do­ing all the work, as em­ploy­ing a real es­tate agent would cost only around $12,000 in commission ver­sus the stan­dard pack­age fee of $9990.

5 If you want to avoid all fees: visit a buyer’s agent

Some­thing you could try first is to ap­proach a lo­cal buyer’s agent to see if they have any clients who might be in­ter­ested in buy­ing. This way you might be able to sell the prop­erty with­out go­ing through the whole rig­ma­role of list­ing it for sale. A buyer’s agent does not sell real es­tate; rather they look for a home on be­half of buy­ers whereas the sell­ing agent works for the ven­dor (seller).

By law an agent can­not act for (and ac­cept a commission from) both par­ties in the trans­ac­tion. This means that if your house ticks the check­list of a buyer’s agent’s client, you could tech­ni­cally sell it and pay no agent fees what­so­ever. Rich Har­vey, CEO of prop­er­ty­buyer.com.au, says you should al­ways get an in­de­pen­dent val­u­a­tion so you’re con­fi­dent you’re sell­ing it at the right price. He also notes that it’s not as easy as it may sound as the clients of buyer’s agents are very spe­cific about what they are search­ing for, “so you need to have that per­fect home”.

If th­ese strate­gies don’t work ...

What if your house doesn’t sell? Then it might be time to relook at the home, the price, and the real es­tate agent or take it off the mar­ket.

Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate how im­por­tant it is to present your prop­erty in the best pos­si­ble light. Less is al­ways more when it comes to styling, and a clean, shiny home with sparkling bench­tops and bath­rooms could make all the dif­fer­ence.

A dif­fer­ent price may also seal the deal. De­mand can change so don’t lock your­self in with a fixed num­ber.

If you’re us­ing a real es­tate agency and are not happy with their work you may be able to give them the flick. Take care, though, as you have en­tered into a legally bind­ing con­tract. You’ll need to re­fer to the fine print here. An agency agree­ment can ei­ther be open ended or for a spec­i­fied pe­riod. It is im­por­tant to prop­erly end your agree­ment with them be­fore sign­ing up with an­other agent. Oth­er­wise, as NSW Fair Trad­ing warns, both agents may charge you a commission when the prop­erty is sold.

The clients of a buyer’s agent are very spe­cific, so you need to have that per­fect home

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