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Selling a house privately: Should you do it?

The process of selling a house privately without an estate agent will require you to do research and perform a lot of admin. We discuss this further.

Selling A House

Article summary

  • If you want to control the process from beginning to end, you may wish to sell your home privately.
  • This means you’ll have to handle a lot of admin yourself, including pricing the home and marketing it.
  • Is it worth saving on the estate agent commission? We discuss.

Your house is a prized asset, and if you decide to sell it, you may be tempted to control every aspect of the process yourself.

After all, you’re so financially (and emotionally) invested in the home, that it may feel like you’re giving away a part of yourself.

However, the process of selling a house privately does introduce a few complications.

What you need to know about selling a house privately

If you want to try your hand at selling a house privately without an estate agent, here are some things you’ll have to do:

  1. Price the property yourself.
  2. Market the property yourself.
  3. Deal with the buyer yourself.
  4. Appoint the transferring attorneys.

1. You’ll have to price the property yourself

There are a number of variables to consider when pricing your home, including the area it’s located in, and the state of the market.

Here’s where the services of an estate agent become so essential.  Their insider knowledge of the market, and their experience in pricing homes, can be a big help. However, if you want to come up with the price yourself, you need to do your research:

  • Look at the price of other properties in your area (the price they were sold for, not the price they’ve been listed for).
  • Don’t base your selling price on what you think your home is worth, or what you paid for it originally; market conditions dictate the appropriate price.
  • Use whatever resources you have available to you to educate yourself about the current state of the property market.

2. You’ll have to market the property yourself

You need to have an understanding of marketing, particularly online marketing, as that’s where the industry is headed.

Figuring out how to sell a property privately online requires you to identify which sites are best for listings. You also need to arrange for professional photos to be taken of the property (you won’t attract any interest without that), and you’ll need to organise home stagings.

3. You’ll have to deal with the buyer

That means negotiating with the buyer, letting them know of any defects in the home, scanning the offer to purchase for relevant clauses, and finding out whether the buyer is applying for a home loan, and whether they’re relying on the sale of another property in order to fund this purchase.

4. You’ll have to appoint the transferring attorneys

You may be able to sell the home privately, but the legal process of transferring the property from you to the buyer requires the participation of lawyers and the Deeds Office. On average, it takes about 69 working days for the bond to be registered in the buyer’s name.

Estate agents have relationships with attorneys normally entrusted with the transferring of properties, but if you’re selling a home privately, you’ll have to appoint the conveyancing attorney yourself.

Is selling a home privately recommended?

We feel that the services of an estate agent are worth the cost of hiring one (estate agents are actually free upfront anyway, you only pay a commission if the home is sold).

After all, your home is your most valuable asset, so it makes sense to entrust it to professionals.

But if you’re determined to control the process yourself, the above tips should come in handy.

Buying rather than selling?

If you should find yourself on the other side of the fence, looking to buy a home rather than sell one, bear in mind that ooba home loans — South Africa’s largest home loan comparison service, can submit your application to multiple banks, including your own. This allows you to compare packages, including interest rates, offered by each bank.

We also offer a range of tools that can make the home-buying process easier.  Start with our Bond Calculator, then use our Bond Indicator to determine what you can afford. Finally, when you’re ready, you can apply for a home loan.

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