Steps To Selling Property
Find Your Agent
Asking friends and family to recommend a real estate agent they have enjoyed working with, in the past can be a great first step. Selling a home is a collaborative process, so having a good, open working relationship with the agent is a must.
Appoint an Agent
Under Queensland law, there are three types of agent appointment; open listing, sole agency, or exclusive agency.
Method of Sale
In residential sales, the most common methods of sale are:
Auction & Private Treaty
These are marketed either with a price, a price guide/range such as “offers over” or “by negotiation”.
A standard residential property transaction is known as a Private Treaty sale. These sales are marketed either with a price, a price guide/range such as “offers over” or “by negotiation”. You set the price you’d like your house to sell for, and your real estate agent negotiates individually with prospective buyers to achieve a sale as close to this price as possible.
There are many advantages to selling via private treaty.
Greater flexibility for negotiation. For instance, a contract can be signed ‘subject to’ certain conditions such as a building inspection or finance approval.
Flexibility regarding the length of time your home is listed for sale: unlike an auction, you are not working towards one specific date.
Cost savings on the marketing and promotional expenses of an auction campaign.
It may take longer to sell your home compared to an auction campaign.
You might need to make your home available to prospective buyers for frequent viewings and inspections.
If you or your agent mis-price the market, you might list below the property’s market value, meaning you lose money – or if you price it above the market value, your property might sit empty for weeks or months, generating little interest.
The advantages of selling by auction can include:
The seller has the opportunity to sell their property before auction, on the day of the auction, or (in the event the property is passed in) after auction;
The reserve price and settlement date are set to suit the seller;
As the reserve price is not disclosed to potential buyers, it gives the seller a chance to test the market;
A written marketing plan with agreed appointment times enables the seller to organise their lives during the lead-up period;
The auction is conducted under the seller’s terms and conditions and is not subject to finance, building and pest clauses or a cooling-off period;
The auction process creates a sense of urgency – buyers have a definite time frame in which they must act. Buyers see other interested parties as their competition rather than the seller.
Contact For Your Free Home Appraisal
Marketing and Advertising
It’s no secret that the greater the exposure a property has to the market, the greater the number of buyers who are aware of the listing! Your agent should be able to give you advice as to the type of advertising and marketing that works best in your locality. Options include:
- Property websites
- Open houses
- Local and interstate newspapers
- Email campaigns
- Social media
- Dedicated property magazines
Decide on a Listing Price
Comparative market analysis (CMA):
Ask your agent to provide you with a CMA. This report contains information on (at least) three properties of a similar nature and style to yours, that have sold recently in your area. It’s helpful in understanding your property’s price potential. If there are no recent comparable sales, your agent must provide a written explanation outlining how they arrived at a suggested market price for your property.
Beware of overpricing:
Setting a realistic price will generate greater buyer interest and achieve a faster sale than if the property is overpriced. Your pricing should be guided by recent sales
Adjusting your price:
The seller can choose to change the listed price at any stage when marketing a property, but be sure to give this instruction to your agent in writing. An agent is unable to change any marketing without your written instructions.
Prepare the Property
It is important to spend a little time freshening up the look of your property, inside and out. The results may not only add to the sale price but encourage more buyer interest. For more details see our prepare your home for sale page
Clean, bright and airy residences
Plenty of outdoor living space such as decks and covered patios
Soft music; and a
Dark, dingy residences
Unpleasant smells, especially cigarette smoke and animal odours
Filth and clutter
Loud noise (e.g. television or radio)
It’s recommended that you:
Clean out cupboards to give an impression of space
Take away all unnecessary furniture to leave rooms uncluttered
Fix all obvious faults
Tidy up yards
Steam clean and deodorise carpets professionally
Paint over marked walls to brighten up a room quickly
Replace brightly coloured curtains and wall colours with neutral tones.
When you’re setting days and times for inspections, think about when your property is shown in its best light. For example, if you’re next door to a school, you might not choose 3 pm on a school day. Avoid having too many people present during Inspections. We encourage sellers to not be present or “disappear” during inspections in order to allow prospective buyers the freedom of inspecting the property, so they won’t feel like an intruder and will hurry through the home.
If you have pets, perhaps consider taking them away when open houses or inspections take place.
Knowing The Best Deal
Real estate agents have an obligation to present all offers. Exceptions may occur when, for example, the seller instructs their agent not to submit offers under a certain dollar value.
Some sellers may consider accepting a lower price if the offer is unconditional or has minimal conditions, rather than take the risk on a higher priced offer with more conditions that may not proceed to settlement.
Signing the Contact of Sale
Most often, it will be the buyer who makes the initial offer by signing contract documentation, which is then presented to the seller by the agent.
If the seller wants to make a counter offer and change the terms or offered price, the changes are made on this contract of sale, initialled by the seller and presented back to the buyer by the agent for further negotiation.
When both parties agree on the offered price and the terms of the offer, all parties must sign and initial any changes that have been made to the document.
There are key steps that must be taken to ensure a contract is legally binding on all parties including:
All initials and signatures of the buyer and seller are on the contract, and the contract is then dated, and Acceptance has been relayed to all parties.
Agents should ensure that all parties to a contract receive a fully signed copy of the contract as soon as the above steps have been taken.
After contracts have been exchanged, the purchaser’s solicitor would normally complete their enquiries of the various Government Departments which may have an interest in your property. Generally, the purchaser will be expected to be ready for settlement approximately 30 days after the date of exchange of contracts.
During that time, you will be required to sign a transfer which will be submitted to the seller’s solicitor by the purchaser’s solicitor. It may also be necessary for you to sign an authority to discharge any mortgages on your property. The precise date for settlement will depend on a number of factors.
Unless you are selling your property subject to an existing tenancy, the Contract will provide that vacant possession is to be given by you on settlement and it will be necessary for you to make arrangements for:
- reading of electricity and gas meters
- transfer of telephone
- redirection of mail
Your solicitor will notify the Valuer General’s Department, the Local Council and the Water Board of the change of ownership of the property. An adjustment of rates will be made on settlement and normally you would be responsible for those rates up to the date of settlement only.
As the settlement date approaches, the purchaser may wish to inspect the property to ensure that it is in a similar state of repair to when contracts were exchanged. You should make sure that the property is clean and tidy for this inspection and on the day of settlement to avoid any disputes or delays in the settlement of your property.
On the day of settlement, solicitor’s for both parties and the representatives of any lending bodies concerned will arrange to meet to complete the sale. Generally, the Transfer signed by you and the Certificate of Title to the property will be handed over in exchange for a cheque for the balance of purchase monies and, at the same time, any debts that you have under any mortgage will be repaid. You do not need to attend settlement.
After settlement has taken place, your agent will be authorised by the purchaser to account to you for the balance of any deposit held by them, after deduction of their commission. You should contact the agent to make arrangements for the collection of these funds.
Costs to Consider
In Queensland, there is no standard or recommended commission rate. The agent is required to ensure that the commission is clearly expressed and the client fully understands the likely amount and when it is payable.
Agents may choose to express the commission payable in a variety of ways which may include a flat fee commission (irrespective of the sale price); a percentage commission or a combination of the two (i.e. a flat fee up to a certain amount and a percentage thereafter).
The commission payable for a residential sale is generally paid on settlement of the property from the proceeds of the sale. It is advisable for sellers to instruct their solicitors to pay this commission from the proceeds of the sale on the day of settlement.
Selling your property can incur other costs such as for advertising and marketing, a valuation report, building and pest inspection reports, as well as legal and financial fees.