What's In For Sellers

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The Home Sellers Ultimate Guide

Selling your home can be quite overwhelming when you are doing it for the first time. It’s even daunting, if you are not familiar with the real estate market and how this process works. You might wonder what an agency agreement is, how much your property is worth, when the best time to sell is, how to get the best price, etc.  

At One Agency Gungahlin, we appreciate the importance of professionally selling your property and guide you through step by step process from start to the end, when selling your biggest assets.

When is the Best time to sell?

Property sells all year round, and there is no "best time to sell". The right time to sell your property is when you are ready. There are numbers of reasons why people decide to sell their house. However, there are a number of factors that everyone should consider. 

Many people opt to sell their place in the warmer months, when the garden is blooming and when everything looks great. However, there are also advantages to selling your property during quieter periods, such as in winter. With fewer options on the market, which means less competition, you often attract more interested buyers which can result in a quicker sale.

However, each local market is different, and it is essential to find out what is happening on yours. Talk to our dedicated agent and ask for a local market report and their insights into what you should do and when you should sell your property.

Choosing your real estate agent

A good real estate agent can give you a lot of information and advice about the real estate market. This will include approximate values, likely selling time and suggestions for an effective marketing plan. They also have their own clients, which may include prospective buyers.

An agent is bound by rules of professional conduct to always act in your best interests and to engage in good real estate agency practices. While choosing an agent you should consider:

• their knowledge of the market in the area
• their marketing plan for your property
• their estimated selling price of the property
• their commission or how much they will charge
• the cost of advertising and other outgoings
• can you see testimonials from other clients?
• the terms and conditions of their sales agreement.

At One Agency Gungahlin, we offer personalised service and detailed information to you including:

- give an estimated selling price of the property
- ensure you have in your possession the required documents and reports that must accompany any residential property offered for sale
- advise on a method of sale
- advertise and market the property, and provide a marketing plan
- organise and attend open house and other inspections
- attract prospective buyers
- communicate all offers
- organise and/or conduct an auction if this is the agreed selling method
- arrange the signing of the contract for the sale of residential property.

Note:

Do not choose an agent just because they give you the highest estimated selling price. Ask them to justify their price by demonstrating similar properties sold at similar prices in the area. Also consider the contents and validity of the agent’s documented marketing plan.

Determining the selling price of your property

Before you begin to select an agent to sell your property, you should obtain a realistic idea of what it is worth. You can begin to do so by attending auctions and open inspections of other properties in the area. Real estate websites such as allhomes.com.au, Domain.com.au or zango.com.au or realestate.com.au will also give an indication of property prices.

With this information as a guide, you should consider the benefits of obtaining an independent valuation of your property by a qualified property valuer. This valuation will inform you of the current market value of your property.

The current market value of your property is the amount that potential purchasers are likely to pay for your property given the current conditions in your local market and having regard to both the positives and negatives of your property.

Knowing the current market value of your property will provide many benefits. They include:

• Preventing you from under pricing - selling your property for less than it is really worth. This is particularly relevant for absentee owners who may not be familiar with conditions in the local market.
• Avoiding over pricing your property - Properties with an asking price well above market value frequently remain for sale for long periods of time and don’t attract genuine interest from purchasers. Often such properties are more difficult to sell even if the asking price is reduced later.
• Assisting you to decide to go through the sale process. If the current market value of your property is significantly lower than your required sale price you may decide not to sell or to wait until the market has improved.
• When you have an independent valuation of your property and know its current market value, you are in a much better position to judge the comparative merit and demerits of your property during the selling process.
• Enabling you to set an appropriate reserve price if you intend to sell your property by auction.

Deciding on a method of sale

The two most popular ways of selling a home are by private sale or auction. The better selling option for you will be influenced by the type of property and location, your available time frame, your personal preference and the market.

Private sale: 

In a private sale (also known as a ‘private treaty’) the property is advertised at a set price or within a price range. Offers are invited from prospective buyers. The sale is negotiated between the buyer and seller, usually with the help of an agent; however, you can sell without the help of an agent. There common advertising includes:: Fixed Price, Price range, Price Plus, Price Above and By negotiation.

The seller and buyer agree on a sale price through negotiation, often via an agent. 

Auction: 

An auction is a public sale, usually where a real estate agent is the auctioneer. The auction is set for a certain place, date and time. Prospective buyers bid and the property is sold to the highest bidder, provided you, as the seller, accept the bid.

Price is decided by competitive bidding and the property is sold to the highest bidder acceptable to the seller. Generally, auctioneer fee is also involves while selling at Auction.

While selling at Auction an understanding of the auction ‘reserve price’ is very important. The reserve price is the lowest amount for which you are willing to sell your property at an auction. It is very hard to put a price on your own family home. To help you decide on the lowest selling price for your home you should:

• use the One Agency agent’s estimated selling price as a guide
• research sale prices in your area
• consider paying for a valuation by an independent valuer
• not allow your emotion or attachment to the home to cloud judgments
• Be realistic.

Selling by tender

This form of selling is used from time to time. It involves requiring all interested buyers to put their offer in writing, usually the maximum they are willing to pay. These offers are then taken to you, the seller, and you have the opportunity to pick the highest price. You are not obligated to accept the highest offer or any offer if you are not satisfied with the offers made. You may require tender offers to be accompanied by a deposit. As with selling by auction, there is no cooling-off period when selling by tender.

Our dedicated agent will advise you on a method of sale. This advice should be supported by recent sales information and current market conditions. 

Considering the Marketing Campaign

The aim of the marketing campaign is to reach prospective buyers and encourage them to inspect your property. The most popular ways of doing this are described below:

Professional Photography and Video marketing:

It is only take few second to make a first impression online or offline when selling and advertising through different advertising channels. The first step to choose start the marketing is organizing professional photographer and videographer to create a take a shot. 

Professional photo and videos are really helpful to increase audience engagement through activity around a given video. We target that prospect by preparing outstanding property video and putting it on all marketing channels.

We also use drone and 3D marketing to showcase your home to attract more people.

Social Media Marketing

- We will give great exposure to Social Media Marketing to target specific audiences with ads for your home. There are millions of peoples in Australia, who use social media on a day to day basis. We use this data to make sure your property is being shown to the greater audiences.

Australian Property Portals

- We can choose to display your home on a larger network to target range of audiences across the globe. The Google Display Network is the largest advertising network available on the Internet today. We can show photographs and ‘virtual tours’ as well as current inspection times and other details of interest. Buyers can also register free of charge and receive regular e-mail updates of properties that may suit them. We focus on targeting people on most of the websites including allhomes.com.au, domain.com.au, realestate.com.au, zango.com.au as well as canberratimes.com.au, news.com.au, whimn.com.au, gumtree.com.au, oneagencygungahlin.com.au, oneagency.com.au.

Print Media Advertising

- Print media advertising is a form of advertising that will help targeting passive buyers on the Market. Who is not actively looking to buy a property but if they find something catchy on their eyes they will buy it.

Print Media such as brochures, flyers, magazines and newspapers is really useful to target those prospects.

Database Marketing:

- On a day to day basis, we come across referral partners, lender, mortgage brokers, accountants and solicitors. We may also have a list of likely buyers who can be notified when suitable properties come on to the market. These are people who have either contacted the agent asking to be notified or have left their personal details at another open house inspection.

Using these methods, advertising will enable local, interstate and overseas buyers to view your property through different medium. These ads inform possible buyers that the home is for sale and lists the inspection dates and times. It also includes the names and contact details of the agents who are handling the sale. The method of advertising depends on the type and location of the property and the amount of money you are willing to spend on advertising. 

Property advertising must not be misleading or deceptive in any way. It is illegal to present a property, either verbally, in writing or by photograph, with false information. You must ensure that all facts given to the Our Agent agent about your property are true and up to date. If the advertising is not true and a buyer can show that you have not presented your property accurately, the buyer may be able to take legal action.

Signing a Sales Agreement

When you choose an agent, you will be asked to sign a written sales or listing agreement. This is a legally binding agreement that appoints the agent to sell your property. It will set out the details of your agreement with the agent, including the:

• estimated selling price
• negotiated commission
• negotiated marketing expenses
• duration of the authority
• Types of agreements:

There are two forms of commonly used sales agreements - general and exclusive.

With a general agreement, you can list with more than one agency and only pay commission to the agency that sells the property.

An exclusive agreement is used when engaging the services of one agency only. You must not sign more than one exclusive agreement. If you do so, it is likely you will be required to pay more than one commission. An agent may be entitled to claim a commission under an exclusive agreement, even if you end up selling your home yourself.

Note:

If you are unsure about the contents of a sales agreement it is strongly recommended you seek independent legal advice.

Preparing your contract for the sale of residential property

It is not compulsory to engage the services of a solicitor when selling your home; you may carry out the selling process yourself. However, using a solicitor is highly recommended as it can be a difficult and complex time and although a solicitor is an added cost, they have the knowledge and skills to assist in the selling of your home, relieving you of some of the stresses that can be involved.

You must prepare a contract for the sale of residential property, before the property is offered for sale. This is usually done by your solicitor. This draft contract must be available for buyers to consider before they make an offer to purchase. This contract can be amended to include particular clauses and special conditions.

You are legally required to provide certain documents with the contract for the sale of residential property. These reports give the buyer the legal and technical details they may need to know about your property before they make an offer to buy.

The remaining documents which give the buyer details of the condition and quality of the property are obtained by hiring an expert building inspector to produce a report about the property.

Understanding professional building and compliance, and pest inspection reports

Reports must be prepared for previously occupied residential properties offered for sale in the ACT and NSW. They are a building and compliance, and pest inspection report.

A building and compliance inspection report will identify and describe faults in the property. The report will also note any unsafe or unauthorised renovations and extensions; however, it does not generally include information regarding plumbing or electrical faults. This report must be attached to the contract for the sale of residential property and be available on request by a buyer. A buyer may use the information in this report in their purchase negotiations.

A pest inspection report will identify and describe any evidence of termites and other pests and the possible effects this may have on the structure. All inspection services must have professional indemnity insurance to protect the buyer if a problem is missed in the inspection. It is also required to do Energy Efficiency Rating and A Unit Title Certificate If property is managed by body corporate.

Open for an Inspection

Advertising lets prospective buyers know the dates and times your home is open for inspection. This should generally be for 30 to 45 minutes, once or twice a week. Buyers may also request an alternative inspection appointment through the agent.

You should present your home in its best possible condition at an open house. It is also recommended that you be absent from the home for the duration of the open house and lock away any valuables.

Receiving an offer

You may sell your property directly to a buyer, but it is more common to deal through a real estate agent. If selling through an agent, any offer to buy will be made through your agent, who is required to relay all offers to you, unless otherwise instructed in writing by you. An offer may be made verbally but it is not legally binding until contracts are exchanged.

Your agent may require the prospective buyer to lodge a holding deposit, but this is not compulsory. The holding deposit must be returned to the buyer if you do not accept the offer or the buyer withdraws their offer.

Exchanging Contracts 

You may decide to accept a buyer’s offer if you are happy with the price. When you receive an offer that you intend to accept, you should advise the agent of your decision. You will then be required to exchange contracts for the sale of residential property with the prospective buyer who made that offer.

A legally binding contract does not exist until a contract signed by you and a contract signed by the buyer are exchanged. A deposit is payable at this time.

You may require paying the deposit to the seller, upon the exchange of contracts for the sale of residential property. The deposit may be specified in the contract but it is negotiable. The deposit is usually paid to your real estate agent or solicitor who will place the money in a trust account until settlement day.

In special cases you may ask the buyer to release the deposit money from the trust account earlier than the settlement date. This requires the buyer to give written permission.

A cooling-off period

A short period after committing to a home purchase where the buyer can change their mind. During this time, the buyer may withdraw their offer for any reason, though it is generally used to perform any final inspections and to seek approvals for the purchase to go through.

There are several steps within the cooling-off period:

• The agent will provide the buyer with a copy of the unsigned contact at least one business day before it is signed.
• Contracts are exchanged, the buyer will pay a deposit to the vendor and the cooling-off period comes into effect as outlined in the contract and by the legal requirements of the state the sale is made in.
• If the buyer chooses to renege on the contract, they must provide a written letter of termination to the agent during this period as per the conditions outlined in your contract. The buyer is not required to give a reason for terminating the contract.

Note:

If a buyer withdraws during the cooling-off period they must do so in writing and pay you a forfeiture from the deposit equal to 0.25% of the purchase price ($250 per $100,000 of the purchase price)

Settlement Day

The settlement date is when the balance of the purchase price is paid to the seller in exchange for the title to the property. This is an official process held between legal and financial representatives of the buyer and seller. The settlement date is also when the buyer takes possession of the property.

At settlement, all charges such as rates etc will be adjusted between the seller and the buyer. The seller is responsible for rates up to and including the day of settlement. The buyer is liable from the day after settlement.

Settlement usually takes place between 30 to 90 days after signing the contract for the sale of an existing residential property, but this can be decided between the buyer and seller.