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How to sell your home privately

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While technology has made marketing your private sale easier than before, there are some gaps private sellers need to ensure they have covered to ensure a successful sale of their home.

Chris Fick, of Chris Fick Attorneys Inc. and a founding member of the Attorney Realtor Hub (ARH), says private sellers need to be able to rest in the knowledge that:

  • They have assessed and priced their property correctly;
  • They have, or can find, a willing and able buyer; and
  • Their attorney is able to assist them with the necessary documentation and support required to seamlessly transfer the property to the new owner

Fick suggests that anyone choosing to sell their property privately consults with their attorney or an attorney realtor before putting the property on the market and any deal is concluded. This can be on an agreed or time-based professional fee basis. The cost of involving a property lawyer at an early stage will be a fraction of an estate agent’s commission, typically between 5% and 7.5% of the sale price, but the guidance of a property lawyer is crucial before entering into this venture and exposing such a large asset to many risks without having done the necessary homework.

“Ideally, you should speak to your conveyancing attorney as soon as you first consider selling your property,” says Fick. “They can assist you by ensuring that you have all the up-to-date information and necessary documentation at hand so that you advertise your property correctly and provide interested purchasers with all the relevant information and documentation.

“Your attorney will also ensure that the contract is correctly drafted and reflects the intention of both parties, contains full and correct information of the property, the parties and other relevant factors including whether the transaction is a VAT transaction or not, and various other relevant aspects.”

Setting the priceprice cut resize

An important aspect is establishing the market value of the property for sale. Sellers should not be tempted to overprice in the hope of getting more than a fair market price, but should rather rely on sales figures of comparable properties in their area. This can be obtained from property-related websites, from property professionals or agents active in the area, or through Windeed, Lightstone, CMA Info and various other sources.

How to find a buyer

Buyers are found by advertising the home for sale on property-related websites and increasingly social media. Recent, quality photos to should be used to showcase it, combined with accurate and appropriate information, and having show days or show times for the property.

“There is also the recommended option of including a virtual reality tour so that interested buyers can view the home online before making an appointment with the seller,” says Fick. “Through this technology, interested buyers from anywhere in the country, or the world, can view the property to see if it is what they are actually looking for.”

Vetting the buyerclever clued up buyer

When purchasers enquire about the property and make appointments to view it, ensure that they supply information about themselves. Ask questions about what kind of home they are looking for, what their specific requirements and needs are, whether they require a mortgage loan to pay for the purchase, and whether they need to sell their property to pay for the new purchase.

“It is as important to know your prospective buyers (and ascertain whether they are serious prospects and can afford it) as it is for them to know your property,” says Fick, noting that when there is a serious buyer, provide them with as much detailed information as possible. “Have copies of the property’s title deed at hand, a copy of the latest approved building plans, management and conduct rules of the body corporate (if selling a sectional title property or property in a community scheme), a completed defects’ disclosure list for any known defect, a copy of the latest sectional title levy account, a copy of the latest municipal rates and services account and any other documents or information which may be relevant to the property being sold.

“When you choose to sell your property without the assistance of a traditional agent, whether you do it yourself or with the assistance and guidance of your attorney, always get your attorney to draft the Offer to Purchase and to approve the purchaser’s offer before you sign in acceptance. Selling your property yourself is possible, but protect your asset and the deal by utilising your attorney’s guidance and expertise throughout the process.”

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