GUIDE TO SELL MY HOUSE OR APARTMENT
The Property Sale Process - A Complete Guide
We are often asked the question ‘how do I sell my house?’, or ‘what’s the process of selling a house?’ Given the significance of investment homeowners have in their property these are really important questions to ask.
To help people who are looking to sell their home, we created this guide as a resource to walk you through the steps involved and importantly to show you how to generate maximum interest in your property and achieve the highest price possible.
Here are the 13 steps to selling your house or apartment.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO SELL MY HOUSE OR PROPERTY?
2. RESEARCH THE LOCAL REAL ESTATE MARKET
If you’re selling a house or an apartment doing your own research and understanding what is happening to the national and state economy, along with what is happening in your local real estate market is a good first step. The good news is a lot of information can be found online and by talking to your local real estate agent.
Here are some resources you can access and an overview of the type of information you’d expect to find there.
Knowing what similar properties are selling for and what is currently on the market is very useful. To understand what is on the market, what has sold recently and for how for much, head to mcgrath.com.au, realestate.com.au and domain.com.au.
Websites such as CoreLogic RP Data, Residex, APM Price Finder provide downloadable reports on pricing trends, demand, rental yields and more for suburbs right across Australia. Our very own McGrath Report also provides national and local insights, trends and forecasts. Download the McGrath Report here.
Provide community profile information, insight into planned development projects, building regulation information, suburb demographics and the number of people properties in the suburb.
The McGrath Insights Centre
Our library of in-depth articles, eBooks and checklists provide insights, advice and guidance for buyers, sellers, investors and renters. This is your go-to resource for practical information if you are looking to find out how to sell your house or apartment.
Your Local Real Estate Agent
They live and breathe real estate in your area and have insights into exactly what is happening in your neighbourhood. They can provide you with a free local market report, insights into the wider macro trends affecting the market, what is selling and for how much, the average time it takes to sell a house or apartment and more. Connect with your local McGrath Real Estate Agent here.
Real Estate Portals
2. CREATE A SHORTLIST OF AGENTS THAT COULD SELL MY HOUSE
Finding the right agent to sell your house or apartment can add 5% -10% on the sale price, so getting this right is important. A practical first step to find an agent right for you is to jump online and search for your local real estate agents.
Review their website, look at what properties they have sold, what they specialise in and their social media footprint to get a shortlist together. Look at past sales results and key metrics such as time on market, clearance rates, along with what they currently selling and past client reviews on sites such as Google.
It is also worth going to an open home they are hosting in your area to see how they interact and follow up potential buyer leads. This will enable you to gauge what they would be like selling your property.
3. FIND OUT HOW MUCH YOUR PROPERTY IS WORTH
The next step when selling a house or apartment is to invite a couple of your short-listed real estate agents in for a property appraisal. This is an easy and informal process that will provide you with an estimated market value of your house or property, or in other words a sale price the agent believes you could sell your property for in the current market.
To determine the market value of your property, a real estate agent will conduct a comparative market analysis by looking at similar properties that have sold in the area in the last 90 days, along with current competition, wider market trends and the following features of your property:
- Location of the property
- Building structure and overall condition
- Size of the property and size of land
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Overall appearance of the property
- Condition of the interior including the quality of fixtures and fittings
- Any renovations or home improvements
- Opportunity for improvement
- Local zoning restrictions
While they are at your property doing a property appraisal it’s the perfect time to quiz them about their local market knowledge.
Can they discuss local trends and properties that have sold in the area? Can they talk about what method of sale they would recommend for your property and why? Can they elaborate on what sort of marketing plan they would recommend? Do they have a strong database of local buyers?
For a complete list of qualities to look for and questions to ask an agent click here.
For more detailed information about property appraisals and what to expect click here.
To understand the difference between a property valuation and property appraisal click here.
4. SELECT A REAL ESTATE AGENT TO SELL MY HOUSE OR UNIT
Having researched your local agents and invited one or two agents in for a property appraisal, now is the time to choose your preferred agent and to sign an agency agreement, which authorises an agent to do certain things for you in relation to the sale of your property.
The agreement will outline responsibilities such as hosting open home inspections, arranging advertising and receiving offers and deposits from buyers. It will detail the fees, the commission and the conditions under which it is payable and how you will pay these fees.
Carefully reviewing this agreement with your conveyancer or lawyer is important to understand the detail of what you are agreeing to.
5. CHOOSE A METHOD OF SALE
Whilst your agent will help advise you on the best method of sale for your property, understanding the options will help you make an informed decision. The three key ways to sell a property are:
Private Treaty / Private Sale
This is the most popular method of sale across Australia and is when a property is listed for sale with an asking price. For more information on private treaty / private sale click here.
This is a public sale of a property, where prospective buyers gather together to publicly to bid on a property. This is becoming increasingly popular in many suburbs across Australia due to the fact that is held on a particular date at a specific time, creating a level of urgency and excitement. Parties interested in purchasing the property bid to buy and the highest bid is awarded the purchase of your property. For more on property auctions click here.
Tender / expression of interest
These methods are essentially a type of closed or silent auction, where potential buyers confidentially submit the highest price they are willing to offer for the property. The property owner then reviews the offers and accepts or negotiates. This method is predominantly used for unique or high-end properties. For more detail on tender / expression of interest click here.
6. PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY FOR SALE
According to our agents, styling, or preparing a property for sale can add up to 10% to the final sale price. A well styled and prepared property can help attract more buyers, generate excitement for your property and improve your chances of achieving a higher sale price.
To help you prepare your home for sale, download our room by room Preparing Your Home for Sale Checklist.
7. ENGAGE A CONVEYANCER OR SOLICITOR TO DRAW UP THE CONTRACT
Selling a property is a legal process so having a skilled team by your side to ensure the documentation and Contract of Sale is prepared correctly is critical. A conveyancer or solicitor are licenced professionals who understand real estate law and what is required when selling a property.
A conveyancer or solicitor will help you:
- Prepare documentation such as the Contracts of Sale including any special conditions such as settlement date, inclusions and terms
- Conduct the title and planning searches
- Prepare a vendor’s statement
- Check for easements and other information needed for the Contract of Sale
- Hold your deposit in a trust account
- Calculate rates and taxes
- Manage the property settlement process with the buyer’s conveyancer
- Contact your mortgagee and arrange for this to be discharged on the date of settlement
When choosing a conveyancer ensure they are licenced, they have current professional indemnity insurance and of course check their references.
8. MARKETING YOUR PROPERTY TO SELL
Creating a high impact marketing campaign is one of the most important factors in a successful sales campaign. It will help generate excitement and competition for your property and it’s this excitement and competition that will help drive up the sale price.
Your agent will work with you to create a bespoke marketing plan for your property, but options you will most likely be recommended include:
- Professional photographs, floor plans and copywriting
- A signboard for the front of the property
- A digital marketing campaign including website (McGrath and real estate portals) and social media advertising
- Promotion of your property to the agent’s database
- Property brochures
- Local and national newspapers
Marketing costs are normally separate to an agent’s commission so understanding what you are agreeing to is an important consideration as you don’t want to be hit with any surprises down the track.
9. YOUR PROPERTY IS OPEN FOR INSPECTION
The open for inspection process is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have as a seller.
Together with your agent you’ll set the open for inspection times for the duration of the campaign that ensure your property is showcased in its best light. Most properties have two open homes per week during a sales campaign. This time is then publicly advertised so interested buyers know when to visit.
Ensuring your property is presented well for inspections can help make a big difference to buyer interest. Download our room by room Preparing Your Home For Sale Checklist to ensure your property is sparkling come open day here.
In addition to open inspections, many agents offer the option to buyers to have a private inspection of the property. These are run on a more flexible schedule and are becoming increasingly popular as they give buyers the opportunity to talk to the agent in depth and inspect the property at their own pace.
10. RECEIVE OFFERS VIA PRIVATE SALE OR GO TO AUCTION
PROPERTY IS SELLING VIA PRIVATE TREATY / PRIVATE SALE
If selling your house or apartment via private treaty or private sale, interested buyers will contact your agent with offers in writing to buy the property and your agent will in turn present these to you for consideration.
Whilst your property has a listing price, rarely does the property sell for this price. What normally happens is after a period of negotiation, where offers pass back and forth between the seller and the buyer, they will normally come to a mutually agreeable price and the property will be sold.
Negotiating the offers is where the expertise of a real estate agent will really help you. Choosing an experienced real estate agent who knows your local market and is a strong negotiator can make a significant difference to the final sale price.
Property is selling via auction
At the advertised date and time, your property will go to auction. On this day, prospective buyers will be invited to inspect the property one last time before the auction officially commences. Auctions are governed by strict rules and regulations and your auctioneer and sales agent will work to ensure that the legal process is followed.
After the auctioneer has given an overview of the property and its features, they will call for opening bids. Interested buyers will then bid on the property in increments until either the property is sold, or it is passed in (not sold).
As the vendor you are entitled to place one vendors bid. You must inform your agent what this is before the auction commences and either the auctioneer or another legally permitted person will place the bid on your behalf. Keep in mind the vendors bid must be below the reserve price. Make sure you talk to your agent about what you can and cannot do with vendor bids as each State and Territory is slightly different regulations.
If the bidding has reached the reserve or is close to it, the auctioneer will ask the vendor if the property is on the market which means it will be sold to the highest bidder. When you sell at auction there is no cooling off period and the buyer is legally bound to sign the contract and pay the deposit at the conclusion of the auction.
During the course of the auction marketing campaign, you still have the ability to accept pre-auction offers before the auction day deadline. These must be submitted in writing to your agent, who will in turn present them to you for consideration. You are under no obligation to accept these offers and it is best to talk to your agent as to what they think considering the level of interest from other buyers, market changes etc.
For more information on selling your house or apartment via auction click here.
11. CONTRACTS OF SALE ARE SIGNED AND DEPOSIT PAID
SIGNING THE CONTRACT OF SALE
The signing of the contract is the first step in the legal process .
The first step to legalise the sale is to exchange sale contracts. There will be two copies of the sale contract, one for you and one for the buyer. You each sign one copy before they are swapped or as it’s called in NSW ‘exchanged’. This process can be facilitated by your real estate agent, solicitor or conveyancer.
At the time of the exchange, the buyer will be required to pay a deposit, which is normally 10% of the purchase price, which will be held in trust by the real estate agent or your conveyancer.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CONTRACT OF SALE
- The buyer and seller are not legally bound until signed copies of the contract are exchanged (subject to cooling off periods and whether the contract is conditional or unconditional).
- If you sold your property at auction, there is no cooling off period and the buyer is legally bound to buy your property once the contract is signed and exchanged.
- If you sold by private treaty / private sale, there may be a five-day cooling off period. This may have been waived, extended or reduced in your contract so it is important to be aware of this.
- Generally, a seller does not have a cooling off period, once the contracts are exchanged, they are normally bound to complete the agreement.
12. THE PROPERTY SETTLEMENT PROCESS
This is the final stage of the process of selling a house or an apartment. It is the process of transferring the property from the seller to the buyer.
The time between the signing of the contracts and the settlement date varies but it is normally 4-6 weeks. During this time, the buyer will finalise their finances and you as the vendor will fulfil any special conditions that were outlined in the contract of sale.
For example, your contract may stipulate that you need to complete repairs or maintenance on certain elements of the property. You need to make sure these are carried out before settlement day otherwise you risk being in breach of the contract and the sale falling through.
PRE-SETTLEMENT INSPECTION AND FINALISING SETTLEMENT
The buyer is entitled to a pre-settlement inspection to ensure you have met your obligations and that nothing untoward has happened to the property since they signed the contract.
On the agreed of date of settlement, your conveyancer or solicitor will contact the buyer’s legal representative to ensure all conditions of the contract have been fulfilled. They will notify your mortgagee that the property is being transferred and arrange for the balance of your loan to be paid off and the buyers home loan to be registered against the property title.
Your legal team will pay all necessary property taxes, land transfer duty and water rates. And once everything is settled, the transfer documents will be completed and lodged with the land registration office in your state or territory.
13. Celebrate a great result
I'M READY TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP TO SELL MY HOUSE OR APARTMENT
Looking to take the next step and get a property price guide for your home?
Have an obligation free property appraisal with a McGrath Sales Agent and we will provide you with a property valuation estimate, including an assessment of your property, its location, recent comparable sales and an estimated price guide.
Simply enter your details below and one of our local agents will be in touch to help answer the "how much is my house worth" or "what can I sell my property for" questions.