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How to save up to $17k on real estate fees when you sell your house

five ways to sell your home

Whether you use an agent or do it yourself, the name of the game is to get the best price. Here are five ways to sell your home.

1. If you want to go the traditional route… heyagents.com.au

A good real estate agent can add tens of thousands of dollars to the sale of your home but how do you go about finding the right one?

The new website heyagents.com.au does just that!

By simplifying the process it helps you find the perfect agent.

You tell them about your property and what you’re looking for in an agent and it delivers a brief to the most relevant local agents. From there you’ll receive a tailored proposal that compares and ranks the agents.

With over 40,000 agents on its database, co-founder Matthew Gregory likens the website to TripAdvisor for real estate.

“You can browse and compare your local agents anonymously,” he says. The service is free for sellers. Heyagents.com.au receives a referral fee from the agent who sells your home.

2. If you’ve got the gift of the gab… forsalebyowner.com.au

If you’ve got the time and the right personality you may be able to bypass a real estate altogether and sell it yourself.

Forsalebyowner.com.au, one of the largest private sale businesses with around 2000 listings at any given time, offers two packages (Essentials $699 and Essentials Plus $969) to help vendors sell their own home.

Both packages are “listed until sold” and include listings on property portals realestate.com.au and domain.com.au, plus “for sale” boards, marketing materials and support if needed.

Other portals that For Sale By Owner uses include juwai.com (Chinese), homely.com.au and homesales.com.au.

“We give sellers the opportunity to do well and not be prejudiced by not having a real estate agent,” says founder Colin Sacks.

“With the property marketing softening, those who have only recently bought just don’t have the equity to be eaten up by agent commission and marketing fees.”

3. If you want to do it yourself but with the option of some help… buymyplace.com.au

This would suit those who want basic help with the option of extra services.

You simply select one of four packages, write your property description, upload your photo and buyMyplace puts your listing on its website and seven others, including the big guns, realestate.com.au and domain.com.au.

The basic package starts at $695 and includes a “for sale” board, market comparison report and brochures.

If you intend taking your property to auction, you’ll need to add a further $895 on top of your selected package. Chief executive Colin Keating says sellers save $17,000 on an average home sale and most are sold within 30 to 40 days, although it’s not unusual for some to be sold within a week.

4. If you have an expensive property… hello.com.au

The one-size fits all model from Hello real estate may be worth investigating if you have an expensive property.

There are no commissions or agent fees but rather a fixed fee. Vendors have the option of selecting from three packages – basic $7990, standard $9990 and premium $11,990.

On a $900,000 home you can expect to save $12,000 (typical commissions would be around $20,000).

If your home is worth less than $400,000 you need to weigh up if it’s worth doing all the work, as employing a real estate agent would cost only around $12,000 in commission versus the standard package fee of $9990.

5. If you want to avoid all fees… visit a buyer’s agent

Something you could try first is to approach a local buyer’s agent to see if they have any clients who might be interested in buying.

This way you might be able to sell the property without going through the whole rigmarole of listing it for sale.

A buyer’s agent does not sell real estate; rather they look for a home on behalf of buyers whereas the selling agent works for the vendor (seller).

By law an agent cannot act for (and accept a commission from) both parties in the transaction. This means that if your house ticks the checklist of a buyer’s agent’s client you could technically sell it and pay no agent fees whatsoever.

Rich Harvey, CEO of propertybuyer.com.au, says you should always get an independent valuation so you’re confident you’re selling it at the right price. He also notes that it’s not as easy as it may sound as the clients of buyer’s agents are very specific on what they are searching for, “so you need have that perfect home”.

6. If your house doesn’t sell… relook at the home, the price, the agent or take it off the market

Don’t underestimate how important it is to present your property in the best possible light. Less is always more when it comes to styling and a clean, shiny home with sparkling benchtops and bathrooms could make all the difference.

A different price may also seal the deal. Demand can change so don’t lock yourself in with a fixed number.

If you’re using a real estate and are not happy with their work you may be able to give them the flick. Take care, though, as you have entered into a legally binding contract.

You’ll need to refer to the fine print here. An agency agreement can either be open ended or for a specified period. It is important to properly end your agreement with them before signing up with another agent. Otherwise, as the NSW Department of Fair Trading warns, both agents may charge you commission when the property is sold.

Written by Effie Zahos

Effie Zahos

Money magazine editor Effie Zahos started out as a graduate trainee for one of Australia’s major banks. She moved to TV in 1997, kick-starting her career in finance journalism as head researcher for Channel Nine’s Money Show. A regular finance commentator on TV and radio, she is the author of The Great $20 Adventure.

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