The first thing to consider is whether you have a right to sell your property without an agent. The answer is yes, you absolutely do. If you’re at all worried about this, you can confirm it with South Australian Consumer and Business Services. With that out of the way, let’s discuss the steps to selling your own home in South Australia.
Step 1: Preparing the contract of sale:
Ensure you have your contract drawn up by your solicitor or conveyancer before advertising your property for sale. This will include the Vendor’s Statement (called a Form 1) which includes details of the property title, outstanding mortgages, easements, zoning and outgoings. In your contract specify if any chattels are to be excluded, such as pot plants or appliances. Dishwashers, rangehoods, curtains and blinds are generally included in the sale.
The Vendor’s Statement must be given to a private treaty buyer at least 10 clear days before settlement.
Step 2: Setting your price:
When you set your price ensure it does not misrepresent the property’s sale price, as that is illegal. The selling price should not be lower than an agent’s estimated price or the lowest amount you would accept. To research your price, you can:
- Request a free property valuation report online at PropertyNow.com.au, and if available you will also receive a free property suburb report for your postcode. Research similar sold properties and for sale properties online, e.g. at http://www.realestate.com.au , or http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/property-and-land/buying-a-home-or-property/researching-a-property/median-house-sales-by-quarter .
- Obtain a valuation from an independent property Valuer.
- Request a property valuation estimate or range from real estate agents.
Step 3: Open Homes and Private Inspections
Once your property is advertised you will likely need to allow buyers to inspect the property through open homes or private inspections. At this time (or on request), you should provide prospective buyers with a copy of the Buyers Information Notice (‘Form R3’), available here: http://www.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/18857/Form-R3.pdf . You can supplement this with the ‘Assessing suitability of a property statement’, downloadable here: http://www.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/10714/Assessing_suitability_of_a_property_statement.pdf .
Step 4: Receiving the offer:
Every offer and counter-offer must be put in writing and signed. Sometimes buyers may add an expiration clause to the sale contract so that the offer does not remain open indefinitely if the vendor has not signed by a certain date. Have your solicitor or conveyancer review any changes made by the buyer to the sales contract.
If someone makes you an offer on your property you may only take a holding deposit of up to $100.
This would generally be held in your solicitor’s trust account or a trust account you’ve arranged through PropertyNow, to be returned if you do not accept the offer.
Step 5: Signing the contract of sale:
The next step in the legal process of selling a property in SA is for you and the buyer to both sign the contract of sale. Once an offer is counter-signed by the vendor it becomes an enforceable contract of sale.
There should be two copies of the contract, one for you and one for the buyer to both sign. From this point, you could consider marking your property as “Under Contract” on various websites, but you should still keep a record of any enquiries from other buyers in case the sale falls through.
Step 6: Exchange:
Exchange simply means that both you and the buyer have signed a copy of the contract of sale and have exchanged these with each other. Exchange doesn’t necessarily have to happen in person, it can also be done via mail or via a third party such as your conveyancer. Keep in mind that you and the buyer aren’t legally bound until all copies of the contract have been signed and exchanged.
Step 7: Cooling Off:
In SA, the buyer is entitled to a cooling off period of two business days. This commences from the latter of when the vendors statement was received and when the contract of sale was signed. During this time, the buyer can cancel the sale. If the buyer cancels the sale in this period, they’ll have to forfeit the holding deposit.
To withdraw from a sale, the buyer must complete a signed cooling-off notice and deliver it to the vendor or their agent via registered post, fax or in person.
After the cooling-off period has ended, the balance of the deposit is payable by the buyer and should be held in trust until settlement occurs (e.g. 10% of the purchase price less $100 holding deposit).
An important thing to keep in mind with regards to cooling off periods in SA is that they only apply to the buyer, once you’ve exchanged contracts, you cannot simply cancel the sale as a seller.
Once the sale has cooled off or unconditionally exchanged, you can go ahead and mark it as sold on the websites.
Step 8: Settlement:
On signing the contract, you and the buyer will agree to a settlement date. Settlement is commonly six weeks after exchange but this can be varied if both parties agree. At settlement the buyer 'settles' their purchase by paying the purchase price, less their deposit. If you're using a solicitor, they may meet with the buyer’s solicitor to ensure they have everything needed for the sale to proceed.
With those five steps out of the way it’s time to put your feet up and congratulate yourself on a job well done – you’ve just successfully sold your house without an agent. Hopefully we’ve demystified the sale process for you somewhat but if you’re still confused about anything leave us a comment below or get in touch with us at propertynow.com.au
Selling via Auction
If there is high demand for your property you may prefer to sell it at auction. Ideally you should book your Auctioneer prior to listing your property, so that the date and time can be included in any advertising.
The vendor’s statement (Form 1) and buyer’s information notice (Form R3) must be available for inspection for at least three business days prior to the auction at the auctioneer’s or agent’s office, and must be on display at the auction for at least 30 minutes prior to the auction start time. The reserve price cannot be more than 110% higher than the price you stated in the sales agency agreement if you are using an agent.
Once the reserve price is met or exceeded, then the property is sold. There is no cooling-off period for a property sold at auction. If the property is passed in, but the sale is negotiated after on the same day as the auction, there is still no cooling-off period.
Settlement occurs in the same way as for a private treaty sale.