How to sell your property without an agent

 ·18 Feb 2023

When the decision to sell your property is made, the first step is often to enlist the services of a real estate agent. However, it’s possible to sell your property without an agent – saving a reasonable sum of money that would have otherwise been paid as a commission to the estate agent.

Another advantage of selling your property without an agent is that you will have complete control over the sale process. You can set your own asking price, choose your own marketing strategy, and determine your own timeline for sale.

This can be beneficial as it allows for more direct communication with potential buyers. You will be able to answer any questions that they may have about the property, and you will be able to provide a more personal touch to the sale.

Additionally, selling your property without an agent can also save you time. An agent will typically handle most of the paperwork and legal aspects of the sale, but if you handle the sale yourself, you will be responsible for all these tasks.

This can be time-consuming, but it allows you to better understand the sale process and the legalities involved.

According to the managing partner of property law firm Gillan and Veldhuizen Inc., PJ Veldhuizen, selling your house yourself can be a hassle-free and financially viable option if you follow a sequenced checklist.

“Although selling your property privately is not for everyone, those that are successful achieve significant financial savings,” said Veldhuizen. His top tips for successfully selling your home without an agent are listed below.

Find an attorney 

The first step, says Veldhuizen, is to find a competent property attorney who will listen to your sale agreement requirements and draw up an appropriate water-tight contract.

“It’s unfortunate that the property industry is littered with cut-and-paste and inefficient property agreements of sale. Our firm has seen many botched property transactions that end up unnecessarily in costly litigation,” he said.

To avoid this, Veldhuizen added that before you put your property on the market, whether you have enlisted an agent or not, find a competent attorney and have the agreement template with all considerations in place, ready to be completed by both parties and signed.

Micarle van Heerden, who specialises in such litigation at the firm, said that many sellers are reluctant to see an attorney first, thinking that the fees will be too costly.

However, a consultation fee upfront will give you the confidence to sell your property without requiring an estate agent and parting with anything between 3% and 8% of the total selling price as commission or fees.

The bottom line is that if experienced attorneys administer the process, fewer delays are felt, and the success rate of selling your property for its best value is vastly higher.

Get an up-to-date valuation on the property 

Successfully flying solo will first mean obtaining an accurate property valuation, said Veldhuizen. However, he warned that a few property practitioners offer no-obligation valuation services, but make sure you don’t commit yourself to unnecessary obligations.

“Rather pay a minimal fee for a valuation than opt for a free service that materialises into a strings-attached scenario. Property 24, for example, offers an online valuation service based on researched data in your neighbourhood at a minimal cost,” he added.

Get your COC compliance certificates upfront

Any successful property sale requires electrical, plumbing, beetle and gas compliance certificates. Veldhuizen offers valuable advice here, suggesting that before you embark on selling your property, recruit the services of the abovementioned compliance officers and request they inspect and issue the certificates as a matter of course.

“It has been reported, however, that these service providers realise the success of a sale relies on the Certificate of Compliance (COC) and incorporate all sorts of unnecessary costs into issuing such certificates. Get your certificate upfront and ensure they are valid for the prescribed six months,” Veldhuizen added.

List your property online

Most online property portals have effective packages available to private sellers who want to list their properties online.

Veldhuizen said that for a minimal fee (between R240 and R4,100 on our quick search), some, such as Property 24, will provide a professional photographer and prepare a video reel for your listing.

Don’t discount listing on places such as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree, but be selective, submit a comprehensive listing, and use filters wherever available.

Make sure you have a set of good photographs, and where possible, use video too, he added.

Screen your potential buyers

When screening prospective buyers, Veldhuizen advised asking for names, surnames and identity numbers before engaging with buyers.

Carolyn Savage, General Manager at IOL Property, a company which offers private sellers an opportunity to list their properties online, said that it is fast becoming a standard requirement for buyers to provide proof of identification when viewing a property to safeguard the seller against criminal activity.

“It is also becoming popular for buyers to produce their pre-qualification certificates for affordability and finance when arranging a viewing as this saves time and speeds up the process for both buyer and seller,” she added.

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