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What you should know before you sell privately

Sellers  |  28 January 2019  | By The settled.govt.nz team

DIY Sale 2

Thinking of selling your property by yourself? Here’s what you need to know before you stick a ‘for sale’ sign out front.

Private sales made up just 10 per cent of all residential property sales in New Zealand in the year to July (down from 13 per cent in 2017 and 17 per cent in 2014). Research by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) found that the median price for properties sold by real estate agents was 10.9 per cent higher than private sales.

Selling a house, which is likely to be your biggest asset as well as being a physical and emotional roof over your head, is a big financial deal and things can get complicated very quickly. 

What are the benefits of selling privately?

You know your property better than anyone, so you’re in a good position to ‘sell’ it.

You’ll have complete control over the process because you’ll be dealing directly with potential buyers.

You get to decide every step of the process, including choosing the method of sale and setting the price.

Will I save money if I sell it myself?

Selling privately means you don’t have to pay a commission to a real estate agent.

Your target is to get at least close to what an agent would get for your house. If you use a real estate agent, you pay them a commission for them to get the best price.

Make sure that your expectations of price and ease of sale are aligned with market conditions. What you think of the property and its worth won’t necessarily be shared by potential buyers. 

What do I have to do?

You have a legal obligation to share all the relevant information about it, such as any issues with the boundary or title, any unconsented building work or alterations, any known weather-tightness issues and whether there are any proposed developments that could have an impact on a buyer’s access, views or enjoyment.

If you fail to do this, you could be in breach of your agreement with the buyer. This could put the sale in jeopardy, or the buyer could seek compensation and take you to court.

What skills do I need?

You’ll need to be ready to juggle a lot of things at once – including marketing and negotiation – on top of your usual responsibilities.

Who can I ask for help?

It can be very useful to get an independent assessment of what your property is worth, so you can work out the price you’ll be willing to accept. You can research online (for free) or pay for a registered valuation.

Ask a lawyer or conveyancer to handle all the legal documentation, including the sale and purchase agreement.

You might want some help when it comes to preparing the property for viewings - whether that means using a home staging company to make it look pretty, or asking a trusted friend to run any open homes. 

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