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Private sale vs real estate agent… which is better for you?


Having trouble deciding whether to use a real estate agent or sell your property yourself by private sale? We’ve put together a step-by-step comparison for each of the stages involved in selling property to help make your decision easier.

Preparing your property for sale

With a real estate agent:

A good real estate agent will offer recommendations on how to improve the appeal and presentation of your home to achieve the best sales results. They should have an insight into their local area, including trends and demands for the styles and features most popular with buyers. But at the end of the day, it’s down to you as the homeowner to renovate, de-clutter and style your home in preparation for sale.
By private sale:

Thanks to the internet, there are a gazillion resources available offering styling and presentation tips to get your property in top sales shape. Some of the best tips come from popular styling magazines such as Houzz Australia and Better Homes and Gardens . Our own resource section is also filled with useful articles to help you gear up and prepare your home for sale.

As a practical exercise, it’s not a bad idea to attend some local inspections and make note of how they’re styled and presented. Listen to what buyers are saying about the property… what questions are they asking agents? What do they like/dislike?

Setting a sales price

With a real estate agent:

Good real estate agents should have a solid understanding of the local market, the properties that have recently sold and what they sold for. In the past, agents have been scrutinised for either setting sales prices too high to win your business or too low to draw wider interest from buyers – what we call ‘underquoting’. If you choose to sell through an agent, do your homework to make sure the sales price recommended is realistic.

By private sale:

Both Domain and realestate.com.au offer access to recent sales stats, local trends and market data. Here at PropertyNow, we also offer a free property value report for your house.

Try to use a few different resources to build confidence in setting the right price. Our article Researching and Setting Your Sales Price is packed with useful tips to make this process clearer.

We also recommend attending several auctions in your area for similar properties. View the property beforehand and compare it to yours, then make note of how many people are bidding during auction and what the final bid is.

Preparing your legal documents

With a real estate agent:

There are two essential documents for selling your home. These can vary state to state:

Section 32, which is prepared by your legal practitioner or conveyancer and signed by you. Your real estate agent will make this document available to prospective buyers.
Contract of Sale – a legal document that sets out all the details of the agreed sale, including the property address, buyer details, agreed price, deposit, settlement and terms of sale. Many real estate agencies offer conveyancing services to draw up your Contract of Sale. This is not a free service and is usually charged under legal expenses.

Most commonly, agents will fill out the front page of the contract with the buyers and your conveyancer will handle everything else.

By private sale:

An independent legal practitioner or conveyancer will be experienced in preparing both documents. To compare costs and services for conveyancers around Australia, visit ConveyancePro.

Marketing your property

With a real estate agent:

Real estate agents offer a range of tools to showcase your home to engage buyers, including 3D floorplans, photography, aerial imagery and virtual tours. They often recommend a mix of both traditional and digital methods to increase engagement and broaden appeal.

On the downside, campaigns can be expensive with many forms of media exposure charged as extra. We recommend setting a budget for what you’re prepared to spend, then decide on a marketing plan that best suits your property and buyer audience. You don’t have to accept every option put forward to you.

By private sale:

We’re firm believers you don’t have to spend thousands to market your home effectively. These days, 90% of buyers search for property online. All you need are some great-looking photos, some kick-arse copy and exposure across the right platforms to engage with buyers cost-effectively.

Listing your property online

With a real estate agent:

Real estate agents will put together your listing for you and upload it to all the major property websites as part of your overall campaign. They’ll also be responsible for making any necessary changes to copy or images throughout your sales period.

By private sale:

Because PropertyNow are licensed real estate agents, we can list your property with the major sales platforms, including realestate.com.au and Domain. You still get to keep control over the sale of your property and save expensive agent commissions – plus, you can make changes to your listing day or night, which our automated software will quickly upload across all of your listings.

Negotiating a sale

With a real estate agent:

Some people find the process of negotiation intimidating. If you’re feeling anxious about negotiating, a real estate agent will take away this stress. They understand the process, the mindsets of buyers and how to negotiate a strong sales price for your home. Some buyers, however, are sceptical of dealing with real estate agents because they’ve been mistreated or manipulated in past negotiations.

By private sale:

Negotiating is a skill most of us have without even knowing it. We negotiate every day in our normal lives… getting the kids to bed, at work or simply buying a washing machine. Negotiating the sale of your home is no different. And because you know your home inside out and the perks of living in it, your negotiating skills will be stronger than you think. It’s about setting your bottom line and understanding your buyer’s perspective. Here are some tips and strategies to help you.

PropertyNow are an agent-assisted sales platform, which means you can sell your house by private sale through us and have our support as a licensed real estate agency, without the expensive commissions. Call us now on 1300 664 773.

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