Sell your home ON YOUR OWN
More people are bypassing real estate agents and doing it themselves. Could this be the right way to go? Kate Ferreira finds out
Most residential property sales in South Africa are still done by real estate agents, but that’s not your only option. Choosing to manage your own sale, or to list your property through a fixed- or low-fee agent, could save you a bundle.
The traditional route
Barbara Becker works for property company Pam Golding and believes that this is a job best left to the professionals. ‘ Estate agents are trained to advise buyers and sellers, and to protect their interests. No sale is the same – and an experienced agent handling the deal not only takes away the headache, they also have the skill to handle the transaction,’ she says.
Estate agents earn commission off the sales price, ranging from roughly 3% to 8%. That’s between R45 000 and R120 000, plus VAT, off a sales price of R1,5 million. Many agencies offer a free valuation, and can help with every aspect of the sale, like having professional photographs taken – a critical element of marketing your home ( you might pay for these extra services).
Go your own way
Feeling brave enough to go it alone? It’s crucial to get your house pricing right. Visit show homes in your area and note the differences between their ‘place’ (features like fireplaces and built-in cupboards) and price. You can also purchase detailed reports for your property via propiq.co.za
( R84,99) or lightstone property.co.za ( R50 plus
VAT for once- off property or suburb reports). Finding the right balance between your preferred asking price and the state of the market can be tricky. Also, keep your lowest selling price in mind (within reason), so you can confidently reject cheeky offers that don’t reflect fair value.
Visuals are vital
Take the best photos you can of a clean and uncluttered home. Keep the surfaces clear and take down overtly personal art or quirky design touches that won’t stay with the house – as potential buyers will want to imagine themselves (and their stuff) in the space. If you’re not good with a camera, it’s worth it to hire a pro.
Private Property (see privateproperty.co.za) offers a self-service option for R1 295, plus two premium packages (from R2 495) that include legal assistance, professional photos, and ‘on show’ and ‘for sale’ boards.
Legal nuts and bolts
If you’re ‘ DIYing’, there are some critical legal boxes to tick, and, no matter how amicable the sales negotiation is, put everything discussed with the buyer in writing. You can download free offer to purchase (OTP) templates online (try via your bank’s website; see fnb.co.za/ downloads/property/otp.pdf as a good example). ‘Check that the OTP covers the essentials – the minimum info that’s required to make it legally binding,’ says Vivienne Hosiosky of Werksmans Attorneys. These include the details of both parties ( like full names and ID numbers), a description of the property that includes location and measurements, and financial details, like the offer price and bond provider.
Vivienne adds that a lawyer should go over the agreement for peace of mind; they’ll charge for their time, but often a deal can be made if you also use them as your conveyance or transfer attorney (the transfer fees are for the buyer).
Both parties should do a thorough on-site inspection before signing the OTP. You will also need to disclose defects that aren’t apparent, and if you are married in community of property, you and your spouse will both have to sign. Once the OTP is signed, it becomes a deed of sale.
At this point, another agreement is made: how much rent or occupational interest is to be charged when the buyer moves in – as this might happen before they take the transfer into their name. The date of occupation (when the buyer moves in) and the date of transfer (when the property is legally transferred into their name) can differ; the latter is done by the property lawyers for both parties, and it can take, on average, three months.
Visit show homes in your suburb to compare prices