When you're selling a property, you want to get the best possible price with the least amount of problems. In this section you will find information to help you achieve this goal, or alternatively you can view our Myths About Real Estate booklet.
Methods of Sale
The REIQ recommends the following two methods of selling your property:
Choosing an Agent
Choosing an agent to handle the sale of your property is an important decision. You'll be working closely with your agent, so it's important to choose one for the right reasons.
Look at the weekend newspapers and see which agency markets effectively. Also ask friends, family and colleagues for their personal recommendations, particularly those who have sold property in the same area.
Using an agent who is a member of the REIQ offers sellers additional protection. REIQ members attend regular specialized training courses and regularly update their knowledge of legislation affecting the property industry.
Using an REIQ member also means you are dealing with someone who must adhere to the institute's strict Code of Ethics.
When selling your property, your agent should:
When you are looking for an agent to sell your property, remember the agent is there to work for you. It's a good idea to 'interview' prospective agents before you choose one.
Questions you can ask include:
Preparing your Property
Hints and tips on preparing your property to make it appealing for prospective buyers.
To get the best possible price for your property, you'll need to make sure that your place looks good from the street as well as inside. Here are a few hints to help you make your home more appealing to potential buyers.
Fences | Make sure the fences are in good condition. Carry out minor repairs such as straightening loose posts and repairing holes.
Lawns | Make sure you keep your lawns neatly trimmed, including the edges. It also adds appeal if your lawns are green and weed free.
Paths, driveways and paved areas | Clean up any grease or oil marks. Remove all weeds from any cracks or joins. Keep these areas swept and tidy while your property is on the market.
Gardens | Keep your garden weed free and make sure your plants look healthy. Put down fresh mulch to make the gardens look well cared for, inhibit weed growth and reduce the amount of watering needed. If you've got bare patches, consider picking up some bright flowers. Trim back any climbing plants that may have got out of control.
Trees and shrubs | Trim back any branches that are dead. Remove any limbs that block sun to windows. This will help make your home more appealing inside.
Pools and ponds | Make sure your pool is clean and sparkling. Any fish ponds and birdbaths need to be clean and clear of weeds.
Patios and decks | To make these areas look their best, make sure furniture is in good repair. The area should be clean and free from clutter. A few pot plants can add extra appeal.
The building exterior | Wash the walls, eaves and windows, or hire a professional to do it. If the paintwork is flaking don't decide to repaint without discussing it with your agent - it may not be worth the cost involved. Repair any broken windows and replace damaged flyscreens.
The yard - general | Make sure there is no rubbish or junk left lying around. If you have compost heaps, make sure they are neat and not attracting vermin or bugs. Make sure your sprinkler system is in good working order.
Garage or carport | Remove as much clutter as possible to make these areas look larger. Check the garage door moves smoothly and any locks are in working condition.
Drains and guttering | Make sure your guttering and drains are clean and clear of leaves or any other blockages.
Indoors | Give each room a thorough cleaning and clear away any clutter. Consider having your carpets steam cleaned. Fix any loose or squeaky flooring. Check that all the doors and windows open easily and that all door handles are in good repair. Clean all windows to allow in maximum light. You'll need to repair any damaged tiling or wallpaper and you should think about painting any chipped walls.
Storage areas | Make sure these are tidy and well arranged to give the impression of more space. This is a good time to get rid of odds and ends.
Plumbing, airconditioning and fans | Make sure there are no dripping taps or pipes. Consider having airconditioners serviced before you put your property on the market. All ceiling fans need to be operational, clean and run quietly.
Plants | These can add a lot to the appeal of a house. If you don't have any, think about buying some to brighten up your property.
Lights and light fittings | Check that all the lights are working and replace any blown globes. The fittings and switches need to be clean and in good condition too.
Carpets | If you have carpets, you should have them professionally cleaned to make them look their best.
Kitchen | The stove, refrigerator and sink all need to be at their sparkling best to make this room attractive. Clear the benches as much as possible to make it look larger.
Just before inspection | Put clean towels in the bathroom and clean tea towels in the kitchen. If your budget will stretch to it, buy new towels in a colour that complements your bathroom and put them out during inspections. Make sure the house smells good. You could put a few drops of vanilla essence in a hot oven, brew some coffee or light an oil burner. Open all the curtains and blinds and switch on inside lights to make the house look light and airy. Restrain any pets - unfortunately not everyone is an animal lover. Switch off the television. You might want to put some quiet background music on.
Finally, leave the house before inspection time. If the current owner is there, buyers may not take the time to look through a house properly because they feel they are intruding on the owners' territory. Go out and relax, and let your agent do his/her job.
Cost of Selling
Find out about the costs involved in selling a property, such as agent's commission, advertising costs and legal fees.
The REIQ recommends sellers take into account the following fees and costs when they sell their property:
Advertising and Marketing Costs
Real estate agents charge fees for advertising and marketing your property in order to achieve for you the highest possible price. This includes advertising your property in local newspapers, on property websites or in property magazines. GST is payable on advertising charges and will be included in the seller's advertising account. The agent must itemise these costs before the seller signs the Appointment of real estate agent (Property Occupations Form 6) form. Both parties must sign the Advertising Schedule agreeing to the advertising and marketing items and their costs. Advertising and marketing is essential if you decide to auction your property. The more people who are aware of the auction date, the more likely it is you will achieve a high turnout on the day and so get the best price for your property.
Sellers will need to use a solicitor for checking the contract, calculating settlement amount and a property search. Sometimes sellers are required to procure the Title Deed to their property through a solicitor. Solicitor's fees are negotiable, so it's advisable to shop around and compare prices. As with choosing an agent, ask friends, relatives or colleagues for their recommendations.
Financial Institution Fees
When you sell a property, your bank or financial institution may charge you for their attendance at the property settlement to receive and discharge the mortgage. Fees vary between institutions.
In some cases the seller is responsible for organising a valuation of their property to give to potential buyers. If the Contract of Sale stipulates it, the buyer pays for cost of the valuation.
Inspections and Other Miscellaneous Items
Sometimes real estate agents will encourage sellers to procure a pre-sale building and pest inspection report from a licensed professional. This can help save time when selling the property, as buyers are able to appreciate the condition of the property up front. Miscellaneous costs to the seller can include cleaning, gardening, painting and maintenance services to prepare the property for sale.