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

Essentials (South Africa) - - SMART SOLUTIONS -

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

( R84,99) or light­stone prop­ ( 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.

List on­line

Pri­vate Prop­erty (see pri­vateprop­ 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 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

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