Selling Property Privately in South Africa

No Agent has been assisting home owners sell their property privately for 14 years. In this article we will share some of the Tactics and Proven-To-Work Strategies to help you sell your own home without an agent. You can save yourself a large amount in estate agent commissions, however as you will learn it is not all straightforward and not for everyone.

Is your property “seriously” for sale?

 

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Do you really want to sell your own home and move to a new house? It sounds like a simple enough question, but many home owners would struggle with an answer. Here’s what often happens.

Some people will put their home on the market at a ridiculously high price. Not because they expect to sell it for that price, but because they can’t decide if they really want to sell. If a buyer is willing to pay their inflated price, it makes their decision a whole lot easier. But, isn’t that the wrong way to go about selling a property? If money were the only motivating factor, wouldn’t the seller be better off considering other types of money-making schemes?

If a property is not “seriously” for sale it can be a waste of time for all concerned.

Is the seller’s motivation there to make it happen?

There is a well know saying: “it takes two to tango!” Well, if you’re selling through an estate agent it might take three! You see; to bring any deal together takes a motivated buyer, a motivated seller and a motivated agent (if you’re using an agent). In some instances, you may be dealing with 2 estate agents if the buyers is working with a designated buyer’s agent.

So therefore, before putting your house on the market think carefully about how motivated you really are to sell. The truth is; you are either going to be realistic in setting your price expectation or you’re not. That will make a big difference to what happens (or doesn’t happen) when your house goes on the market.

Also think carefully whether you want to sell your own home either yourself, or through a real estate agent.

What are the expectations of buyer and seller?

All parties involved in the sale must have the same expectation, that the property will sell. Sometimes a seller gets all excited thinking their house will be snapped up by a keen buyer in a matter of hours or days. Unfortunately, particularly in the current market conditions, that is usually wishful thinking, when in truth the estate agent might not be expecting the property to sell at all! Now, I know what you are thinking — “surely both the seller (owner) and the estate agent expect the property to sell… don’t they?” Well, they probably both HOPE it will sell, but do they both EXPECT it to sell… and at what price?

If either the seller or the estate agent has reservations about whether the house will sell, then those issues should be discussed openly. Think about it; either party could have reservations relating to the house price, condition, location, terms, market, timing or some other factor that could potentially prevent a sale at this time. Be upfront and identify any reservations or apprehensions before going to the market or deciding to sell your own home yourself.

Are you prepared to sell your home?

If deep down you don’t expect your house to sell, then it might be a sign that you are just not prepared enough (or motivated enough) to make the sale happen. If you don’t feel confident enough to sell your own house, then you may be better off facing reality and listing your house with an estate agent. No Agent has teamed up with various Low-Cost Fixed Fee Estate Agencies Throughout South Africa.

No Agent is here to help you sell your own home yourself, but even if you do decide to list with an estate agent, by reading these web pages you will be better informed and in a stronger position to make those all-important decisions.

If you’re not fully prepared to sell your own home yourself… don’t even bother trying. Start interviewing agents.

Be clear on why you are selling

If you’ve decided to sell your own home, chances are your emotions will play a significant role in any decisions you make. Whatever turbulent emotions you’re experiencing right now, you need to be clear on exactly what’s motivating you to sell your home yourself.

What reason will you give a buyer or agent for selling your home?

The reasons and motivations for selling your home can be many and varied. Most potential home buyers know this and will be quick to ask, “Why are you selling.” How would you reply to that question?

Sometimes the potential home buyer is just being nosey. However, in most cases, the home buyer has good reasons for wanting to know the motivating reasons for the sale. The home buyer will want to know what’s wrong with the house — if it is so good why are you selling your home? They may also want to know why you are contemplating selling your home yourself without an agent.

How desperate are you to sell?

Both the Estate Agent and the home buyer know that your level of motivation will be the driving force in the house sale. They will want you to reveal how urgent the deal is and how negotiable and flexible you are with selling your home yourself or through an agent.

Are you desperate and willing to sell your home at any price? Have you already made a conditional offer on another house? Are you relocating to start a new job in a new town? Have your family circumstances changed? Those are the types of questions that can reveal how motivated or possibly even desperate you are in selling your home. These reasons for selling can have a huge and significant influence on the outcome in terms and the conditions of sale and the negotiated price for your dwelling.

That’s why it is important to decide exactly what you are going to tell an estate agent or a potential home buyer. Decide exactly how motivated you are in selling your home, before you put your house on the market. You will also need to think about how you will answer any potential questions before they get asked.

Always be careful about what you say

Of course, it goes without saying that you must always be truthful and honest. Sometimes an incorrectly chosen word or slip of the tongue can be costly.  You must decide in advance how much information you are willing to give without revealing too much, or misleading, or deceiving the estate agent or the home buyer.

Be mentally prepared

Everyone, at some point in their life has listened to their little voice cautioning them against following a certain action. If you frequently question what you do and think, and veer away from making decisions, then you may be stopping yourself from reaching your fullest potential.

Selling your home privately is precisely what I am talking about. Because it may come as a surprise to learn, that most of the problems you will encounter when you sell your own home privately will be in your own mind.

There is nothing you can’t accomplish if you set your mind to it. And, it is a good thing that these problems are in your head… because, that way you are in control. Having warning of likely problems, you may encounter when selling your home privately will make the ideas and suggestions in this article much more useful to you.

Face your fears

What is it that motivates that niggly little voice? What is stopping you from making that important decision in selling your home privately and saving large amounts in commission?

The most probable answer is FEAR. Fear is what stands in the way of success in our personnel and professional lives. The emotion of fear is warning us of danger and to used correctly to act as a cautionary tool to stop and think before taking any action. Fear however should not dictate the action we end up taking. So, do not be afraid of selling your home privately you just have to decide whether or not this method is best for you in the circumstances.

Selling your home, yourself is not always easy, but many people are very successful and save themselves many thousands in estate agent commissions.

What are the alternatives to selling your house quickly?

Homeowners faced with financial or personal problems sometimes want a quick home sale and sell for the wrong reasons. The Truth is they might have been better off had they thought more about their situation and considered some alternatives.

That’s why before putting rushing in to sell your house quickly, or to put your dwelling on the market it would pay to: think not only about why you are selling, and why you want a quick home sale, but also consider the alternatives to selling and carefully weigh-up the pros and cons.

When selling a property, being in a state of indecision can be very frustrating and can cause needless stress. Not deciding, making a rushed decision, or making the wrong decision, also has its downside. Don’t only think about your reason for selling – think also about the alternatives to a quick home sale. Consider the pros and cons before you rush in and put your property on the market to sell your house quickly. And remember; regardless of your reason for wanting to sell your home yourself or through an agent, it usually pays to talk your ideas through with a financial advisor. 

Consider all possibilities before rushing into a quick home sale

REASON FOR SELLING #1:

You are facing expensive monthly mortgage interest payments.

Alternative Solution: Refinance your current home loan to make it more affordable monthly.

This may cost you money over a period, however it is worth doing some calculations to see it it is variable alternative to trying to sell house quickly. A rushed quick home sale does not necessarily favour the seller.

REASON FOR SELLING #2:

No money available to upgrade your home.

Alternative Solution: Refinance or consider applying for a home renovation loan.

REASON FOR SELLING #3:

Need less space than is in your current home.

Alternative Solution: Renting out part of your home could be an option. Alternatively, you could rent out the entire house and buy a smaller house to live in. It may be a better option than going for a quick home sale.

Pros: If local property values are on the rise it might pay to not sell your home right now. By renting your home out you might gain some tax benefits and be able to claim rental expenses.

Cons: Becoming a landlord takes some work and can have its problems. You will need to find good tenants and keep the property in good renting order. You may need to consult a tax advisor, carry liability insurance and you will be required to keep good financial records.

REASON FOR SELLING #4:

The escalating costs of keeping your current home are becoming unaffordable.

Alternative Solution: Again, renting out part of your home could be an option. You could buy another house in a less expensive area.

Pros: If the property market is on the way up, your home might be worth holding on to as a longer-term investment. This is especially so if you are considering buying in a lower-priced neighborhood. By not selling you’ll also save on real estate costs and agent commissions.

Cons: You will need to be able to carry another home loan as well as your current mortgage. Also, by waiting to sell, you may be disadvantaged when the market and prices level off.

REASON FOR SELLING #5: A change in your circumstances might be your reason for wanting a quick house sale.

Alternative Solution: If you are experiencing major life changes you could consider selling later.

Accept that you will make home selling mistakes

With most new or big projects, you tackle, you will make mistakes. And when you look back on them, they’ll seem so obvious because you’ve already made them. Accept that you will make home selling mistakes with the sale of your house. The trick however, is to minimize them.

No Agent will give you the helping hand you need, but you still need to be prepared to pick yourself up and move forward under your own steam. And yes, you will make home selling mistakes… most vendors do.

Have a home sale plan, set your goals, and then act

It’s been said that knowledge is power. But, in my view knowledge is NOT power. Knowledge PLUS action is power.

You see, the thing is, the information on No Agent will NEVER work if you don’t work it. It’s one thing to want to sell your own home, but quite another to have a home sale plan, set goals and then to make it happen. Moving from a “gonna-doer” to actually “doing it” means having a specific home sale plan and working towards goals in a conscious and dedicated manner.

If you set yourself up to expect success you will achieve success. It starts by telling yourselves that you can do it. It is about making things work rather than focusing on what you can’t do and telling yourself you can’t.

Develop a systematic plan

The key here is to be organized and to have a systematic home sale plan for reaching your goal. One of the advantages of having a home sale plan is that it helps you keep your eye on the ball.

It is easy to get distracted by what might be happening on the side-lines. Don’t be put off by a neighbouring property suddenly coming on the market. Be aware of what they are doing and understand their strategies and tactics (if they have any). Know their strengths and their weaknesses. Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Stick to your home sale plan and don’t be put off your game… just run your own race.

Accept that not all potential home buyers will like your house

When you use a estate agent he or she usually hears all the comments (good and bad) about the property. The estate agent will usually provide you, as vendor, with feedback. Agent’s generally find home buyers to be frank and forthright with their opinions.

However, when you are selling your property yourself, you’ll probably hear these comments first hand. Although, realize that sometimes potential home buyers will have a different attitude when talking directly with the property owner. Either they’ll be politer by not telling you what they really think, or they’ll be very direct and attempt to knock the price down by criticizing the property at every opportunity. You will find home buyers to approach this differently, depending on their personality and negotiating style.

Anyway, be prepared for potential home buyers to pick holes in your house. It may not always be pleasant as to some extent they are criticizing your personality.

TO SELL YOUR HOUSE – IT TAKES ONLY ONE QUALIFIED BUYER!

By using a systematic home sale marketing plan you should have a steady flow of potential buyers that make the negative observations of any single person look irrelevant.

Organize and prioritize your time

If you choose to sell for sale by owner, then you will need to give up some of your spare time to get your house ready to sell and to show prospective buyers through it. You can’t just decide to sell for sale by owner and then expect everything to magically happen. You will need to be proactive to find home buyers.

That’s why it’s important to gain control of your time and use it wisely. It is easy for days to ‘just slip away” without having made much progress in selling your house. Being busy and being productive are two different things.

In some ways selling your own home can be likened to being under “house arrest.” But think of how much you could save in real estate commissions by doing the jobs an agent would normally do!

Prepare a “TO DO” list

Many home sellers have high stress levels or fail to succeed to sell for sale by owner, because they won’t, or cannot, sweat the details. It is important to see the big picture, but it is equally important to get details right.

Any expert in time management will tell you to prioritize your tasks. The best way to achieve this is to detail everything you must do. Write tasks down on a “TO DO” list and then prioritize them. Do the most important tasks first and the least important last.

People don’t always do what they say they will do

If you have ever run a business, you’ll realize that dealing with “the public” can be frustrating at times. You might think you know how to sell a house, but things don’t always go to plan.

People don’t always do what they say they will do. They don’t always keep appointments. Some people will tell you they will be bring their husband or wife for a look through the house – and they never return. Others might tell you they will call around on Friday to sign the contract – they never turn up. It is normal for these things to happen, SO DON’T LET IT GET YOU DOWN!

How to sell a house is to stay positive

One of the best pieces of advice on how to sell a house privately is to stay positive. You will get knock backs when selling your house through a real estate agent or for sale by owner. Not everything will go your way. The key is to do your best to remain positive regardless of what happens.

Positive people are enthusiastic and encouraging of others. They are confident. This is contagious.

Negative thinkers on the other hand, make it a habit of dragging others down. Their destructive attitudes and pessimistic ways of reasoning an instill fear and cast doubt. Stay positive when selling your house!

Don’t worry unnecessarily

I know that is easier said than done. There is a big difference between being prepared and worrying yourself sick over what might or might not happen. Worry, stress and nerves tension are big problems in this fast-paced society we live in. Most of the things we worry about will probably never happen. Many seemingly unsolvable problems often fix themselves given a little time.

Thinking and then taking the action solves problem- but worrying often compounds and magnifies the problem.

How to sell a house with perseverance

Success in anything you do is largely dependent upon drive and perseverance. But, like most home sellers, you may at times feel you are just spinning your wheels and going nowhere. Things don’t always go right, and defeat may test you; but it doesn’t need to stop you. If at first you don’t succeed, try another way.

Hang in there, because a staggering number of home sellers give up just as they are on the brink of success. Remind yourself that tomorrow is another day. Things really aren’t as bleak as they seem… and things really will look better in the morning.

Have the attitude that for every obstacle there is a solution.

Be prepared for calls from agents

Facing a barrage of calls from real estate agents wanting to list your property is something you need to be prepared for. Just be polite and tell them you are handling the sale yourself. They may even offer some tips and guidance on the state of the current property market for selling your home.

Be prepared for one of the oldest real estate agent tricks in the book

Agents will offer phone to say they have a buyer. If they keep persisting, then tell them to email you. This probably won’t happen. Phoning to say they have a buyer could be genuine, but the agent could also be using one of the oldest real estate agent tricks to get a foot in the door.

Please don’t be rude to real estate agents, unless the agent is being unfair. Agents need to earn an income just like the rest of us. There are some excellent agents out there (No Agent is able to offer you a Low-Cost Fixed Fee Estate Agent) and they can often get a better result than many private sellers. Not all agents are the same. Some are excellent, some are good, many are average, and some are poor. It is just a case of working with the right people and not becoming a victim of real estate agent tricks.

Be Wary of bargain hunters

Just like those real estate agents, you’ll probably get calls from bargain hunters. Some people think that just because a property is advertised For Sale by Owner, that the seller is desperate, or that the normal real estate agents commission can be knocked off the price even before starting to negotiate. Keep an open mind but be wary.

Seek advice and help from the right people

Although you are planning on selling your house yourself you shouldn’t try and do everything on your own. I guess you already understand this, which is why you are reading this article.

Selling your home alone can be disheartening and, in many ways, scary. You must shoulder the responsibility all by yourself. The key therefore, is to find the “right” people who can help you through the sale and closing process. Seek proper real estate advice and legal advice when entering into any real estate transaction. Accept that you can’t do all the things necessary to close the transaction yourself. There is a lot at stake, so it is important to seek help and real estate advice, to get things right.

You need to be the team leader

Regardless of who else helps or provides real estate advice, YOU will always be the most important member of the team. You are the person who must market your home, find a buyer, negotiate the contract and coordinate the whole process from start to finish. So, you need proper legal and real estate advice.

Networking is tremendously fruitful if done correctly. Some people are time wasters, so it is important to select the “right” people to give you real estate advice.

Pre-qualify your buyers

There are a huge number of buyers that are completely oblivious as to how much they can afford when buying a property. It makes a lot of sense of dealing with ‘pre-approved’ buyers that are aware of what bond they qualify for. Buyers would also need to calculate the additional costs such as the conveyancing fees and transfer duties etc. No Agent is a registered mortgage originator and we suggest that you ask any potential buyer to contact us so that we can assist them (at no cost) in arranging finance based upon their specific criteria.

Always work with a registered attorney to finalise the sale

Don’t rely on friends or family members to give you accurate legal advice. Always get independent legal advice when buying or selling any property. Your real estate attorney should be able to guide you safely through a minefield of legal bits and pieces. He or she will help with the intricacies of writing a contract. They can explain the implications of certain clauses and why each clause is necessary.

Your legal attorney will show you the correct way to write a contract to protect your rights as the seller. He or she will hopefully ensure that any such contract is as “water-tight” as it possibly can be without scaring off the buyer. After all, you don’t want the buyer reneging on the contract… you want the property to remain sold!

Don’t skimp on getting competent legal advice. Always use a real estate attorney. No Agent has recommended attorneys throughout South Africa.

Be professional

Handle all dealings in a professional manner — everything, from how you answer the phone, to the way you handle criticism, or how you prepare for an open home. Be professional.