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Selling your home can be one of the most stressful periods of your life. You have shaped and nurtured your home since you bought it, but now it needs to appeal to all potential buyers with a huge variety of tastes.
Whilst finding a new buyer is the most important piece of the house selling puzzle, there are many other factors to consider before your home is ready for viewings. Read our complete guide to selling your house to ensure your home sale runs as smoothly as possible…

Quick-fire Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Happy WomenMake an educated decision on selling – before deciding to sell you need to look at the current property market, find out what’s happening in your area and the broader region and also look into whether it would be more beneficial to buy your next home before you sell or wait until after your current property has sold.

  2. Choose an agent wisely – the agent will be marketing your home for you, so make sure you choose the right one. From listing to negotiating on your behalf, the agent will be putting in all of the hard work for your sale and it should be treated as a business partnership, so make sure it is treated as such. Scout out all of the agents in your local area, see who excel in selling properties like yours and make a shortlist of your favourites before making your final decision.

  3. Work out a plan – sit down with your chosen agent and come up with a detailed plan for listing, selling and showing your property.

  4. Set your selling price – the price you can realistically sell your home for will be determined by a wide range of factors from size, features, location and age, along with recent selling prices in your area. Always use a local property professional to accurately value your home as setting the selling price incorrectly can lead to difficulties further down the line

  5. Sign your agent’s selling agreement – this contract will be legally binding and will set out all of the details of the agent’s involvement in selling your house from commission, to advertising costs and also the estimated cost of the property.

  6. Write out the Section 32 – also known as a vendor’s statement, this document will contain all information potential purchasers will need to know about your house. This document is normally prepared by your solicitor or conveyancer and is one of the most important documents from your side of the sale.

  7. Prepare your house for showings & advertising – before your home is ready for showing, it will need to be photographed for the online advertisements. Carry out all of the repairs and decorating you want to do before the photos are taken as many buyers can be put off just by these alone. This is also the time to get your hands on or draw up floor plans and decide what you want written in the ad.

  8. Put the house on the market – you can decide whether to have individual showings or open houses for lots of people to attend.

  9. Negotiation & sale – your agent will oversee the auction of your property and will play the part of mediator between you and the potential buyer. Once a mutually acceptable price has been secured, the buyer will pay a deposit to hold the property.

  10. Under contract – at this point both the seller’s and buyer’s solicitors and lenders will be ironing out the details of the sale to make sure all financial and legal requirements are met.

  11. The sale – on settlement day, if everything has gone to plan, the keys and legal rights to the property will be handed over to the new owners in and they will pay the final balance owed on the sale.

Costs of Selling a House

hands framing beautiful houseSelling or buying a house is never cheap and all of the attached costs need to be carefully thought about before putting your home on the market. There are a selection of required and optional costs associated with selling your house.

Real Estate Agent Fees

As mentioned above, agents are a key part of selling a home and a contract will be drawn up with the agent you chose before your house is even put on the market. Real estate agents will charge commission on the sale of your home, but what they charge can vary from state to state and there are also different types of commission from flat rates, to sliding scale options.


Auctioneer Costs

Many homes are sold through auction rather than a private sale. Whilst many agent’s commission charges can include auctioneer costs it is always best to check before signing your contract as there could be additional expenses not covered if you choose to sell your house this way.


Advertising & Marketing Costs

It’s wise to discuss a detailed marketing plan with your agent beforehand and to document outgoing expenses throughout the terms of your contract with them. Often you are required to still pay all of the advertising and marketing costs even if your home doesn’t sell, but many agents can be negotiated with to offer a no sale, no fee agreement – so it is always worth asking about this.


Solicitor/Conveyancer Fees

Your solicitor/conveyancer will be working away behind the scenes to make sure all of the legal and financial procedures are carried out, so it is always advised to enlist one to carry out all of the details. Fees for this can vary greatly but it is normal to expect to pay between $500 – $2000, it is also a good idea to make sure what you have been quoted is the final cost rather than an estimate.

Optional Costs…

Mortgage

If you have a mortgage on your current property the balance of this will either need to be paid on the sale of the property or transferred over to the new house. Depending on where you are with your repayments, either of these options could incur an additional charge so it is worth contacting your mortgage provider to discuss this.


Repair Costs

When selling your home you need to factor in the costs it will take to get the property to an appealing and sellable condition. Some repairs may even be mandatory before selling whereas others might be seen as ‘nice to have’ but not essential. Any issues with the general working of the property for example electrical or plumbing faults should be fixed before selling as these will be things that can put buyers off and lengthen the time a property will take to sell. Other smaller repairs could increase the value of the house and cover cost of the repair itself so it is best to consider all potential alterations and maintenance before selling.


Home Staging

It’s not enough to simply put your home on the market and hope it sells, buyers are becoming more and more consumer savvy and will be looking for the very best their money can buy, therefore you want your house to match this. Make sure your house stands out from the crowd to really build interest by showcasing your home’s assets and making sure it is decorated to a high standard. If you’re at a loss on how to stage your home, you can even hire a home stager which depending on the estimated selling price of your home could greatly benefit you.


Moving

If you have lived in your current home for a while you will probably have accumulated a fair amount of furniture, accessories and personal affects. For many, the easiest option when moving is to hire a moving company to do all of the hard work. If you haven’t hired movers before or in a few years, you might be shocked at the price but there are many options to choose from to suit a variety of budgets from all inclusive, to do-it-yourself packages.

Should I Self-Sell?

smiling listening to clientReading the breakdown of costs above can seem daunting even for the most financially stable home owners and can lead many to consider selling their houses themselves without an agent’s help which is usually called the For Sale by Owner method (FSBO). Whilst this method could certainly save you thousands of dollars on the sale of your home, there are many factors to research to determine if this option is the right path for your home sale.

An in-depth knowledge of the process is essential

Real estate agents spend their lives selling, marketing and negotiating home sales, you don’t. If you are thinking of selling your home yourself you will need to make sure you are completely clued up on every detail of the complex process. A lot of the ins and outs of home selling can be found online, however the legal and financial aspects of selling a property are even harder to wrap your head around and it is still recommended to enlist a solicitor or conveyancer to deal with this side of the sale. Without the correct legal paperwork you could find yourself in deep trouble further down the line and most of us simply don’t have the expertise to carry out these tasks without legal help.


Realistic valuation can be difficult on your own

If you value your home too high, it could put off many potential buyers, but if you value it too low you potentially miss out on the net profit you have saved from not hiring an agent. Real estate agents work tirelessly for their commissions and you are therefore guaranteed that they will value your property at the highest possible price they could successfully sell it at, which in turn would give you the highest possible profit. This would then mean that you would have to pay them a higher fee if their commission is paid on a percentage of the total sale price, however when you also consider that agents will have access to databases of interested home buyers that you would not be able to have access to on you own, along with more widespread marketing techniques, the extra commission is a small price to pay.


It can be hard to not take criticism personally

It’s an agent’s job to be professional and business minded at all times during a home sale, but this is much harder for a home-owner selling their lovingly cared for property. Potential buyers will be looking for the best investment for their money and will therefore inspect each property with a critical mind. Whilst you may be the best person so showcase the highlights of your home, it is also very easy to become defensive or even hostile if a buyer picks apart your family home – in turn potentially putting buyers off from dealing with you.


Negotiating doesn’t come easy to everyone

Most of us are sadly not naturally blessed with negotiating skills, however agents are trained in this area. Buyers will be trying to buy your home for the lowest possible price, however you will be  aiming for the highest. Using an agent as a go-between for this stage can take the pressure off of you, leaving you room to think clearly and logically about each offer that comes through from potential buyers.


Selling a home is a full-time job

This is something that many people don’t realise before choosing to go down the FSBO route – selling your home will take up a great deal of your time. Selling a property will become a full-time job at its busiest and you will (hopefully) be handling a high volume of enquiries if your property is popular. If you have work or family commitments, you are likely not to have the spare time to cope with the level of attention needed not to mention the patience to maintain a polite and professional manner for each and every enquiry whether they are likely to end in a sale or not. The sad reality is that most enquiries will not go anywhere, but as there is no way to tell where the sale will come from, you need to stay on top of everything to be in with the best chance of selling.

Get Your House Viewing Ready

 Couple hanging picture on the wallOnce all the necessary repairs and decoration have been carried out and you have decided whether you want to hire an agent of go it alone, it’s time to get your home ready for viewings. Frequently seen as the most fun part of the home selling process, staging your home is still an extremely important activity to achieve the sale you are looking for. Presentation is everything and if your home isn’t looking its best, you stand much less chance of getting the best price. Here we have gathered some key tips on how to get your house viewing ready from the professionals…

  1. Any real estate agent will tell you that creating a good first impression is extremely important when you are putting your property on the market. Whatever work you put in to refresh and style your home will help your home appeal to buyers and reward you with an improved result on the big day.

    Apart from the usual decluttering, cleaning and painting, my top tip for attracting prospective buyers right from the get go is to stage your home. Staging creates a welcoming impression and looks great in advertising brochures and online websites. It highlights your home’s strengths and helps appeal to a maximum number of potential buyers. It also helps the buyer imagine how they would live in the house, visualise redecorating the space with their own furniture and connect emotionally with the property.

    La Maison Jolie

  2. Artful wall pieces are key to elevating and breathing life into any space.

    Good quality photographic prints are perfect for this – they provide a sense of ‘life’ that invites viewers to project their own styling ideas onto the property.

    When they can actually picture themselves living there, they’re more likely buy.

    Kara Rosenlund

  3. One of the main objectives when selling your home, is enabling the potential purchasers as much opportunity as possible to envisage themselves living in the property. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to de-clutter and de-personalise the home. Remove everyday mess, unnecessary furniture pieces and personal photos. This will minimise curiosities around the house and create a simple, minimal space.

    Field Notes

  4. Selling your home is not the time to get sentimental about items in your home. The easiest way to ensure your home is looking fab for inspection day is to walk through the room and pretend you are inspecting it for the first time. Remove personal items such as photos or children’s artworks and declutter the space as much as possible. Potential buyers will get distracted by personal items and clutter so keep the space looking as fresh and minimalist as possible.

    Emma Blomfield

  5. The best way to draw potential buyers into your property is to remove all personal items from the space. Family photos, toys, antique furniture and family heirlooms restrict potential buyers from imagining themselves living in the space. Relocating these items help create a potential home for all possible buyers.

    Naomi Findlay

  6. Think simple and fresh! The most important thing is to clear surfaces of clutter so that potential buyers can start imagining their lives in the space, not get lost in all the ‘things’ you have on display. Make sure curtains and blinds are pulled back to allow natural light in and a beautiful vase of flowers goes a long way.

    Get In My Home

  7. Top tip to selling your house would be to declutter! A decluttered home will appeal to prospective buyers more, give the illusion of being a larger property and one with ample storage – helping you to achieve a higher price at sale. When decluttering, also consider removing personal items like photos so people can begin to visualise themselves living in the property.

    Of course, a good first impression is also key so make sure your front entry looks appealing. Mulch in the front garden, put numbers on the letter box (so they find the property easily), a fresh coat of paint on the front door, new door mat and even a flower pot or two, are all inexpensive improvements that can create an inviting first impression.

    Style Curator

  8. We put things in off-site storage so cupboards looked used, neat and organised but not full. Many people move home purely because they’ve run out of storage space. People will open your cupboards during inspections. Your storage needs to look like it’s functional, is doing the job, and still has space for extra things.

    Undercover Architect

  9. When selling your home , its the perfect time to have a really good edit of your space, not just the things that are on display but everything!

    Prospective buyers really just want to see the space and how they can live in it too – Strip things back and avoid clutter – less is more, edit back what you have on display in each room and on each surface – if in doubt simply – think about each room and how best to show off the space, and make sure each space has a clear function and use. Of course key pieces are essential I think its best to put your best of display – think bed linen in the bedroom, towels in the bathrooms and plants and flowers always help.

    Mr Jason Grant

Selling House FAQs

What is the commission to sell a house?

The commission fee is what you will pay a real estate agent to act on your behalf to sell your house. This can include everything from valuation of the property to marketing, staging and viewings and you will sign a contract which will state everything you require the agent to do before they start working on your house. The commission is normally charged as a percentage of the final selling price and can vary from state to state in Australia, the current averages sit at around 2-3.7% but this will depend greatly on which agent you decide to hire so it is always advised to get a selection of quotes from agents in your area before making your decision.


What will my house sell for?

There are many online calculators out there but one of the best ways to gage what your house could sell for is to look at recent sold prices for similar properties in your area. On The House is a fantastic website to glean this information from and they also include a house price calculator with information on over 12 million Australian homes for comparison.


What saint do you pray to sell your house?

St Joseph is the patron saint of selling houses and many enlist his help whilst trying to sell their home. The legend goes that if you bury a small statue of St Joseph in your yard within three feet of the For Sale sign upside down and facing the direction of the house and recite his prayer below, your property will sell in no time:

Prayer to Sell a House


O, Saint Joseph, you who taught our Lord the carpenter’s trade, and saw to it that he was always properly housed, hear my earnest plea. I want you to help me now as you helped your foster-child Jesus, and as you have helped many others in the matter of housing. I wish to sell this [house/property] quickly, easily, and profitably and I implore you to grant my wish by bringing me a good buyer, one who is eager, compliant, and honest, and by letting nothing impede the rapid conclusion of the sale.


Dear Saint Joseph, I know you would do this for me out of the goodness of your heart and in your own good time, but my need is very great now and so I must make you hurry on my behalf.


Saint Joseph, I am going to place you in a difficult position with your head in darkness and you will suffer as our Lord suffered, until this [house/property] is sold. Then, Saint Joseph, I swear before the cross and God Almighty, that i will redeem you and you will receive my gratitude and a place of honour in my home.


Amen.


What can I do to make my house sell faster?

There are many small or larger changes you can carry out to make your home sell faster and we have a whole section on this topic above written by the professionals, but for a quick overview here are our top tips:


  • You don’t get a second chance at a first impression – make sure your home has the wow factor from the start.

  • The kitchen is the most important room in the home – a kitchen renovation can be costly but can also add serious value to your property. If your kitchen is looking out of date, look at what you can do to update it with your budget.

  • Always make sure your home is viewing ready – viewings can pop up at any time so make sure your home always looks like a show home.

  • Don’t go overboard – don’t do huge home improvement projects before putting your house on the market, the chances are you won’t see return on the investment. Easy fixes with big impacts are much more beneficial.

  • Hide pets – you of course love your beloved pets but potential home owners might not, keep them out of sight if you can during viewings.

  • Focus on lighting – good lighting will go a long way in making your home appealing to potential buyers so make the most of natural light and add more light sources to darker rooms.

  • Remove some of the personal items – buyers want to imaging themselves living in the property which becomes harder if all they can see is your own personality and the life you’ve made there. Remove up to a third of your things including family photos, personal keepsakes and memorabilia to offer more of a blank canvas.

  • Empty storage spaces – make your home’s storage spaces speak for themselves by removing half of what’s in there. Don’t fall into the trap of stuffing items in them out of the way during viewings, buyers will want to look at the available storage on offer so ensure even these spaces are neat and tidy.

  • Price your home correctly – make sure you’re at market value or even just below and you could see interest in the property really take off, pushing the selling price far higher than the asking price if there are numerous buyers interested.

How to sell the house by yourself?

Whilst selling your house yourself without the help of an agent could save you thousands, it is not a decision to enter into lightly. Self- selling requires extensive knowledge of the entire process along with legal knowledge if you also decide not to pay out for a solicitor or conveyance and you could find yourself in hot water if even a tiny part of the process isn’t carried out correctly. We have talked about this topic in detail above but here is a run-down of the basics that will need to be carried out if you forgo using an agent:


  1. Price your home accordingly

  2. Carry out all urgent and smaller ‘nice to have’ repairs & renovations

  3. Prepare to show your home, including giving the home a thorough deep clean

  4. Plan-out your home’s main selling points

  5. Market/advertise your property

  6. Show your property

  7. Put aside all personal feelings about the home and deal with all enquiries professionally

  8. Negotiate any offers from buyers

  9. Ensure you comply with all property laws in your area during the administration of the sale

How long to sell a house on average?

As with any aspect of the property industry, how long a property takes to sell will depend on a variety of external factors. The current market is usually the biggest indicator of how long a property will take to sell, if demand is high for homes in your area, the chances are your house (if in good condition) will be snapped up quickly, however if the market is on a downturn it could take much longer. It’s also good to look at major events happening in the area to get a good gage of the market. For example, if a large business is opening in the area or travel connections to major cities are being improved, it is highly likely that the market could pick up even further. The time of year you are looking to sell can also play a part in how long a property will take for sell, as many people opt to move in good weather seasons than colder or wetter times of the year. Families will also look to move during children’s holidays to minimise upheaval. The country’s or even the world’s economy is another factor that could affect selling time, with low interest rates, rising house prices and increased demand significantly reducing the time it takes to sell a house. If the economy switches the other way however, with high interest rates, an oversupply of housing and steady prices it could quickly become a buyer’s market, greatly extending how long the average house take to sell.


What is the best colour to paint walls when selling a house?

It has long been believed that a neutral home will sell the fastest as it gives buyers more of a blank canvas to visualise their own belongings in it. Whilst yes, these types of homes will have more universal appeal, adding more design flair could mean less people in total fall in love with your house but those that do fall head over heels and may be far more passionate about the purchase and hopefully hit or even exceed asking prices. Opting for neutral colours however is still the safest bet when selling your house, but neutral no longer has to mean bland magnolia, think greys, taupes and beiges for a chic take on neutral to blow potential buyers away.


How to stage a kitchen to sell your house?

If a full kitchen overhaul just isn’t in the budget, or if your kitchen is relatively new and it just needs a freshen up there are many things you can do to make sure the room is staged to perfection ready for viewings. You want to make sure your kitchen look spacious and bright so make sure to remove all but essential appliances from the worktops to show off the area. Get rid of any unwanted odours by taking out all rubbish and recycling even more often when showing and ensure all pet-related items are not on show. If you can’t afford new kitchen cupboards and yours are look tired, give them an update by painting them and refresh the walls too with a new lick of paint which can go a long way in improving the aesthetics. As we have mentioned already in this article, potential buyers will want to look in cupboards to determine how much space is available, so ensure you tidy and organise as many as you can.


Once you have done the big jobs, it’s time to dress the kitchen. Start by getting the room professionally cleaned including the oven and the cooker hood which can build up years of grime between cleans. Have a selection of accessories on display to show the home is used and lived in, but make sure the items on display are styled to look as appealing as possible. If you have open shelves, show that they are useful for storing everyday items but leave some empty space on each shelf so as it not look crowded, also make sure if they display tableware or glasses that the designs and colours match and complement the rest of the kitchen. A staged kitchen is much less practical than a lived in kitchen, so try to use this opportunity to start detaching yourself from the home. Instead of viewing it as your family home that will soon be someone else’s, try to get into the mindset that it is a property about to be sold on to make the process easier.


How to stage a bedroom to sell a house?

The master bedroom of any home needs to be warm, inviting and have a certain wow factor for potential buyers to be able to imagine owning the house themselves. Some tips above for staging the kitchen, including not having too many everyday pieces on display and cleaning and organising your cupboard space, can be carried over to bedrooms, however they do require a slightly different approach. Like any room in the home, a fresh lick of paint if walls are looking drab will go a long way and if you have carpet, it is always a good idea to get it professionally cleaned before you start showing. Whilst bedrooms should be inviting, it is best to steer clear of too many personal effects when staging as this will be harder for buyers to envision their own family living in the home, keep it to a few books and select art pieces if possible. Neural tones with odd pattern always work well in a bedroom and don’t forget to finish the room with a selection of soft furnishings including rugs, throws and cushions preferably in a range of textures to add depth to the space.


How much are conveyancing fees for selling a house?

As with choosing a real estate agent, deciding on the right conveyancer or solicitor for your house sale can come down to a variety of factors including experience, location and reputation. Fees will also vary greatly between different conveyancers and going for the cheapest is not always the best idea. You need to ensure that your conveyancer will carry out every detail associated with the legal requirements of your sale, so ensure that the cheaper quotes still cover everything required which for selling a property includes:


  • Preparation of the Contract of Sale and Vendor’s Statement

  • Prepare all necessary transfer documentation

  • Keep in contact with the mortgage lender (if applicable)

  • Perform an up-to-date title search

  • Explain what happens at settlement

Think conveyancing have explored each of these areas in much further detail in their Explaining Conveyancing Fees article which we advise reading before hiring a solicitor or conveyancer to take on your home sale.

At Think Conveyancing, transparency and integrity are our key values. To get in contact with our friendly team today about your conveyancing needs, call us on 1300 932 738, or request a free quote online.

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