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Should you sell your property privately?

04 Mar 2015

Your property should be one of your biggest assets, and some people may want to explore the route of selling their homes privately, as opposed to using an estate agent. However, selling a house isn't a simple process, and you need to make sure that you do your homework thoroughly.

You must be prepared to show buyers around the property, which can happen any time of day or week, so you need to be flexible.

This is according to Calvin Ndlovu, Head of Operations at FNB Home Loans, who says when it comes to selling your home, the most common course would be to assign an estate agent.

He says it is possible to sell your home privately, but you need to be careful to ensure that you don’t lose money in the long run.

Ndlovu shares the main issues to keep in mind when selling your own property:

1. Setting the correct price

You will need to do research into the correct pricing of your home before going to market.

Ndlovu says there are many free property reports to help you set the right price. If you set the price too high you may end up with a situation where your property doesn’t sell, and too low will mean that you lose out, he says.

2. Marketing your property

When marketing your property you will need to assign a good photographer and write up a suitable description. Once you have both of these you will need to find an appropriate place to market your property. 

“You can market your home on private selling websites or you can use your local classifieds. But, you are at a disadvantage in this instance as agents have databases of people looking in various ranges for different properties.”

You must be prepared to show buyers around the property, which can happen any time of day or week, so you need to be flexible.

3. Selling the property

Once you have met prospective buyers and they are looking to make an offer, there are some legal and contractual requirements that you need to be aware of to protect yourself and the buyer.

Ndlovu says to remember that you aren’t just negotiating price, but also the terms and conditions of the sale, which can be tricky.

At this stage, you can contract a conveyancing attorney who can help you through this process. Make sure that the conveyancing attorney has a good reputation and remember they are working for both yourself and the buyer.

4. Before you sign

There are a few essentials to take note of before you sign any type of offer.

You as the seller need to make the buyer aware of any defects, and these need to go into writing. This is to protect both parties.

“You also need to know where the money will be coming from. This includes funds coming from overseas, as well as what the SARS ramifications might be. It is also important to check whether a buyer is getting a bond or if they need to sell another property.”  

5. When you sign?

There are legal documents available on the websites, however, your conveyancing attorney can help you draw up the documents.

Ndlovu says you will need to be familiar with all the terms and conditions of the document, and these include latent and patent defects, occupational rent and recourse for breach of contract.

The document will also need to outline the different timelines, especially if it is subject to sale of the buyer’s property.

The conveyancing attorney will guide you through other aspects such as electrical clearance, municipality notice and any other requirements.

Ndlovu says selling your own home can work, but you will need to do your homework and be patient. If you are unsure it is better to go with an estate agent who has the industry knowledge and sales network, he says.

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