With the recent spate of press surrounding underquoting by real estate agents and the exorbitant fees they charge, it is not surprising that vendors are choosing the DIY approach to selling their properties.
Technology has played a hand in making selling a home even easier, with numerous DIY resources and websites now available.
Paul Heath, CEO of buyMyplace, a commission-free company that provides information and tools to vendors to sell their property online, said that since his company listed on the ASX in March 2016, the number of sellers using the website has doubled, despite a decline of 1.9 per cent in new listings for the total market between April and December 2016.
This increase, said Mr Heath, comes from vendors becoming disenchanted with agents, and in particular the issue of transparency and the way agents manage the sale along with the high commission they receive.
“Owners are asking ‘why I am paying so much to an agent to sell my house?'” said Mr Heath. “Property sale prices are so high, which means agents make a lot on commission for the work they do.”
For example, commission on a median Sydney house ranges from 1.8 to 2.25 per cent – equating to about $24,000.
“Everyone wants to save and depending on the stage of life, whether it’s retirees funding their future or a family needing a bigger home, can save as much as $15,000 to $25,000. This is considerable,” he added.
For those who would rather use an agent due to being time poor or who have interstate property and cannot be at the open home for inspection, buyMyplace now offers a full package service with the use of an agent for $4995.
With only a couple of weeks before open day, Sydney homeowner Sandra is confident of selling her home herself.
The retiree made the decision after calculating an agent could make around $40,000 in commission on the sale of her house in the leafy northern suburbs.
“This is a lot of money for me. It’s almost a year’s worth of living expenses. A home across the road sold recently for $2.7 million,” she said. “I have the time and the resources. My good friend is a lawyer and he has acted for other DIYs. He has guided me through the process.”
Sandra has spent a month preparing her home for the sale. She has painted and decluttered the home ready for inspection. Aside from legal help in preparing the paperwork, she has set up a separate mobile and email address for selling purposes.
“I was given this tip so I can control unsolicited calls. I also paid $800 for a surveyor for the property. There is work involved. I’ve written the sale ads and will market it myself and I’m confident that it will sell.”
Jo Vadillo, principal at Advocate Property Services, which acts on behalf of sellers and buyers, said it is understandable that vendors want to save on commission, but she added that an agent can bring a lot to the table.
Ms Vadillo said that if vendors became too emotionally involved, this could sabotage the sale.
“I’ve been present at open homes where vendors follow potential buyers around and get quite offended when a buyer makes negative comments about their house. It can be an awkward situation,” she said. “If it’s an investment property sale, it’s easier to separate yourself from comments about the property.”
Don’t forget there is always room for negotiations.
“Negotiate the commission and don’t feel pressured into taking on all of the marketing budget ideas. Some agents have hundreds of people on their database. Let them sweat and make the phone calls.”