Deciding to sell with an agent or privately

Real estate agents work for you. They know the neighbourhood and they're experienced negotiators. Selling privately can save you money on commission, but you need to know what you’re doing and understand the risks.

Summary of important things to know
  • Agents are trained and experienced at selling houses. They know the local property market, and they have communication and negotiating skills to negotiate the best possible price for your property. 

  • Real estate agents are licensed professionals who must follow the standards set out in the Code of Professional Conduct and Client Care and meet their obligations under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008.

  • Agents work for you, the seller, and you pay them a fee (commission), which is usually based on a percentage of the sale price.

  • If you work with a licensed agent, you can complain to the Real Estate Authority (REA) about the agent’s conduct if something goes wrong during the sale process.  

  • If you sell your property privately and you don't have the property listed for sale with a real estate agency, you do not need to pay commission. 

  • You need to tell buyers about any issues with the property regardless of whether you sell with an agent or privately.

  • Get legal advice whether you sell with an agent or privately.

  • Pre-contract disclosure statement

    You will need to provide a pre-contract disclosure statement to buyers before signing a sale purchase agreement. There are two types of pre-contract disclosure statements. One is for an existing unit (standard) sale, and the other is for off-the-plan sales. Talk to your lawyer or real estate agent about preparing a pre-contract disclosure statement, preferably before you begin to market your property.

    The pre-contract statement for an existing unit sale will need to include information about:

    • any weather-tightness problems
    • whether the body corporate is involved in any legal proceedings
    • fees and levies
    • the body corporate’s financial statements and audit reports and general meeting minutes for the last 3 years
    • maintenance plans for the next 12 months.

    For an off-the-plans sale, the pre-contract statement would need to include:

    • a summary budget
    • proposed ownership interests
    • estimated utility interests
    • details of proposed service contracts (if any)
    • draft operational rules (if any).

    More about Unit Titles at link)

  • Pre-settlement disclosure statement

    After you’ve signed the sale and purchase agreement, and before settlement, you’ll need to provide a pre-settlement disclosure statement. You must provide this no later than the 5th working day before the settlement date. This must be accompanied by a certificate from the body corporate that confirms the information in the disclosure statement. Like the pre-contract disclosure statement, there are differences between a pre-settlement disclosure statement for an existing unit sale and an off-the-plans sale.

    The pre-settlement statement for an existing unit sale will include information about:

    • the unit number and body corporate number
    • the body corporate levy for that unit
    • how the levy is to be paid and when
    • whether any levy is outstanding and, if so, how much
    • the interest rate on any money owing to the body corporate by the vendor
    • whether any metered charges due to the body corporate are unpaid, and if so, the amount owed
    • whether there are legal proceedings pending against the body corporate
    • whether there have been any changes to the body corporate rules since the pre-contract disclosure statement was provided.

    A pre-settlement disclosure statement for an off-the-plans unit sale must include:

    • the above information to the extent that it can be provided
    • name and contact details of the body corporate manager (if there is one)
    • insurance information that was required in the pre-contract disclosure statement for an existing unit.

    Contact your body corporate to get the information required for the disclosure statements or give the body corporate written authorisation to work with your lawyer or real estate agent so they can get this information on your behalf. The body corporate is obliged to provide the information needed. The body corporate can charge you for gathering the information and is not obliged to provide the pre-settlement disclosure certificate if you owe it money.

    Your lawyer should remind you that you’ll need to provide further disclosure statements once the buyer has received a copy of your signed sale and purchase agreement. As the owner of the property, the obligation to provide this information falls on you. Talk to your lawyer about the implications of any information you provide.

    More about Unit Titles at link)

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