Selling Your Own Home: Your Ultimate Guide
Selling your home can be both exciting and stressful—doing it without the help of an agent is even more so. However, the money you could save by handling everything yourself can make the extra time and work worth it. In fact, you could save up to $50,000 on agent commissions and marketing costs—and that’s no small bickies.
Most of us know that real estate agents follow a formula to get the best results when selling homes. But getting one to let you into their sales secrets is pretty unlikely—after all, that’s what you pay them a commission for.
The good news is that with some research, the right advice and a step-by-step guide to selling your own home, you can sail through the process forewarned and forearmed while pocketing enough extra cash to buy a new car or take your family on holiday.
Sound good? Let’s get started!
1. Understanding your home’s value and setting the right selling price
Your home is likely your greatest asset, but how do you determine what it might be worth in the current property market?
Setting the right price is crucial. Set it too high for your local market, and your home may never sell. Set it too low, and you’ll be giving away money.
When you engage an agent, they’ll include a market valuation for free. But the thing is, they’re selling something—they want your business and are therefore likely to value your home higher than it might actually sell.
Using an independent Australian Property Institute Certified Practising Valuer will get you closer to an accurate evaluation. They may cost a few hundred dollars (including an in-person inspection and thorough review of your local property market), but the investment can be worth it for your peace of mind.
Our Free Property Value Reports
PropertyNow also offers free property value reports containing comparable sales data, market statistics, and an estimate of your home’s current value. Armed with this information, you can research for yourself what similar homes in your area are currently selling for and price yours accordingly.
For more tips, check out:
2. When is the best time to sell my home?
Most people will tell you that spring is when you should sell your home because it’s the property market’s busiest season. But the truth is you can sell well at any time of the year as long as the economic and market conditions are good and the time is right for you.
Here is a quick overview of what to expect throughout the year:
- December to February. Selling during the silly season is tricky (unless you’re selling in a holiday destination) because many people are on holidays, and property services often close. But February is a great time to start marketing your home as those who missed out before the market slowed will be itching to buy.
- March to May. Buyers looking to make a move before winter are on the lookout for properties, but you should avoid putting your home on the market just before or during the Easter holidays.
- June and August. Fewer homes on the market can mean more competition between buyers and, therefore, better sales prices. Don’t discount winter as a possible time to sell.
- September to November. There are more houses on the market during spring as the weather warms up, and many buyers attend open houses and auctions. But beware if the market floods—you could end up getting less than you planned or taking longer to sell.
3. How to make potential buyers fall instantly in love with your property.
First impressions matter, never more so than when you’re selling a house. The popularity of DIY reno shows and interior styling competitions have upped the game in terms of what Australians expect when looking for a potential home.
Remember, they’re likely to inspect multiple properties, so yours must stand out from the crowd. But don’t overcapitalise—always consider whether you’ll make your money back when your home sells.
Here’s our guide to the inexpensive things you can do to present your home in the best possible light:
Outside the Property
If your property doesn’t have street appeal, a potential buyer might just drive on by without ever venturing inside. Everything should be neat and presentable during the selling period, including:
- Mow lawns, trim hedges, and weed gardens
- Mulch garden beds and fill any gaps with colourful flowers
- Paint, repair, or replace your fence, letterbox and front door if necessary (don’t forget to keep your house number visible)
- Add a couple of pot plants next to your front door to welcome buyers in
- Re-stain the deck and tidy outdoor entertainment areas
- Declutter your garage to make it look roomier
- Clean external walls, gutters and outdoor furniture.
- Clean and tidy water features.
Inside the Property
- Repaint rooms in a neutral colour for an instant update
- Add new throws and cushions to chairs and lounges
- Update flooring such as carpets or add new rugs
- Replace dated light fittings, door handles, and cupboard handles with contemporary versions
- Update splashbacks kitchen appliances, benchtops or handles and tapware
- Update bathroom vanities and tapware
- Declutter every space to add to the sense of spaciousness
- Clean carpets and wash curtains to freshen them up
- Fix dripping taps, squeaky doors or hard-to-close windows
- Patch plaster holes and mend cracks in tiles or flooring.
For more tips, check out:
4. How to successfully market and advertise your home
Now that you’ve prepared your home to wow potential buyers, it’s time to alert them to your property. Marketing effectively to the right buyers is essential when selling your own home. And you’re in luck—it’s now easier than ever to market property, thanks to the internet. Here’s a rundown of the basics you’ll need and some links for what to do next:
- A picture says a thousand words. Great photography is your secret weapon for selling your own home. You want your photos to grab a potential buyer’s attention as they’re scrolling through all their options online (or perusing a sales window or thumbing through the newspaper’s property section). If you don’t feel your images will inspire a buyer to view your property, it’s worth investing in a professional to get the job done perfectly.
- 3D walkthroughs. Video is now a powerful marketing tool in any seller’s arsenal. Why not invite a potential buyer into your home from the comfort of their own iPad? Plus, post-pandemic, virtual inspections are a safe way to encourage more buyers to consider your property. PropertyNow’s 3D virtual house tour service is seriously affordable and could add thousands to your asking price.
- Signboards. There’s still room for traditional advertising methods—a bold, colourful, appealing signboard can grab attention from passers-by at all times of the day and night.
- Ad copy. Writing a real estate ad that sells isn’t as hard as you’d think. You just need to follow a few golden rules. Check out some of our guidelines here to find out how.
- Selling your house online. Marketing your home in print has become less effective as more than 80% of buyers now use the internet to find a property they love, according to realestate.com.au. Check out our easy to follow step-by-step guide to selling your home online
For more tips, check out:
5. How to survive a home inspection.
One aspect of selling your own home some homeowners find confronting is having to self-host open for inspection times. But it doesn’t have to be tricky. DIY open for inspections can even help you get a better price for your property because you’ll be building a genuine rapport with potential buyers.
Most people are reasonable, but you can bet there’s always the odd exception that disproves the rule and wants to make life interesting. To learn how to sail through inspections and deal with tricky walk-ins, we recommend taking a look at the following articles:
6. Negotiating with buyers like a pro.
Your home looks perfect. Inspections are going swimmingly. Now you’ve finally got a bite from a buyer. How do you close the sale?
Many people are afraid to negotiate, but deftly wielding negotiation tactics can be the difference between settling for the best you can get and adding thousands of dollars to your sale price.
You need to be crystal clear about your bottom line, and removing emotions from the negotiations are crucial to getting more of what you want. For a complete guide to how to negotiate like a property pro, take a look at the following videos:
7. Taking care of the legal stuff.
Congrats! You’ve secured a buyer and a great price for your home. Now what?
It’s time to make sure all your legal documents are in place to complete the paperwork and close the sale.* Selling your own home in Australia is simple and perfectly legal and not complicated, but it’s important to know your legal responsibilities.
Every state has slightly different legal requirements for selling homes, so make sure you’re fully appraised of your local responsibilities to avoid any nasty surprises.
- Contract of sale. You’ll need to prepare a Contract of sale (or hire a conveyancer to do it for you). It will contain a 5-day cooling-off period during which the buyer is free to change their mind (unless you’ve sold via auction). Once the buyer signs the contract of sale, however, it’s a legal, binding document.
- Once both parties sign, you’ll need to make sure any special conditions outlined in it are met until settlement day.
- Pre-settlement inspection. The purchaser can inspect the property 2-3 days before settlement to ensure it’s still in the same condition as when they agreed to buy it.
- On settlement day, you (or your conveyancer) will meet the seller (or their representative) at an agreed time and place to sign and hand over documents and monies.
For more tips, check out:
- DIY conveyancing – is it the right option for you?
- What to expect in a final inspection pre-settlement
*This information is offered as a guide only and is not meant as professional legal advice.
With some research under your belt and a step-by-step approach, you could be a sell your own home success story, too.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out—we’d love to help.