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Ultimate property sellers’ checklist

By George Hadgelias

1. Find the right agent

Finding a real estate agent is the first order of business for vendors. The role of an agent is to sell a home for the best price possible, as quickly as possible.

According to the Real Estate Institute of Australia, agents deliver a range of crucial services including:
– advising how much vendors can expect for their property and whether to sell by private treaty or at auction;
– marketing the property;
– showing the house to potential buyers, through booked appointments or open for inspections;
– negotiating the selling price; and
–  facilitating the sale of the property and the final exchange of contracts.

When choosing an agent, vendors should check if they are a member of their local real estate institute, the REIA says. Real estate institute members have a “commitment to service and professional standards and are bound by strict codes of conduct.”

Vendors should also interview several potential agents before signing on the dotted line, and even act as a buyer to test an agent’s performance.

2. Set a price

Campbell Cooney, director and auctioneer at Hodges, says there are two basic choices when it comes to setting a sale price.

Vendors can work with a reputable agent to set a price or pay an independent valuer.

“The agent’s job is to do their research and understand the local market, and also understand the vendors’ expectations, to reach a price that is reasonable, with a willing seller and willing buyer,” he says.

For just a few hundred dollars, vendors can also get a sworn valuation from a qualified valuer.

3. Map out a marketing plan

Vendors have to cover the cost of marketing their property, Cooney says.

“The agent will recommend a campaign, which might include a board out the front of the house, listing on, photography for the listing, the creation of a floor plan, copy-writing and press advertising,” he says.

Each listing is unique, Cooney says, and depending on budget, campaigns are adjusted.

4. Decide on method of sale

Vendors work with their agent to decide which approach is best for the property – private treaty or auction. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages and the decision is influenced by many factors, including current market and area trends.

5. Prepare your house for sale

Greville Pabst, the executive chairman of WBP Property Group, says buyers drive by to check out a property as soon it goes on the market.

He says vendors should take a “long, hard look” inside and outside of their property to work out how to make it as appealing as possible.

He recommends considering the following to prepare a house for sale:

– High-pressure washing.
– Painting.
– Cleaning and tidying driveways and paths.
– General garden tidy-up.
– New plants to freshen up garden beds.
– Trimming trees.
– Fixing fencing.
– General maintenance.
– Installing LEDs to show off the property at night.

– Steam cleaning carpets.
– General tidy-up, including inside wardrobes.
– Hiring furniture and artwork.
– Decluttering mess, like taking magnets off the fridge.
– Painting in neutral tones.
– Removing personal items, like photos.

For open for inspections:
– Burn candles.
– Open windows.
– Put out vases of fresh flowers.
– Open curtains to show space.
– Play classical music.

6. Get paperwork in order

Conveyancing is the process of transferring legal ownership of a property from one person to another and is required in every real estate purchase. It can be done by licensed conveyancers and solicitors.

The conveyancer or solicitor prepares a contract of sale for the property, which includes details of the owners, title, settlement dates, all conditions, what’s included in it, as well as the zoning certificate and sewer diagrams.

The exchange of contracts is the formal legal process that creates a binding contract for the sale on agreed terms, the REIA says. The vendor and buyer each sign a copy of the sale contract and exchange these documents, making the contract legally binding. Cooling off periods can apply.

Settlement is the final stage of the sale, when the buyer completes the payment of the contract price to the vendor and takes legal possession of the property.

7. Moving on

Once the settlement is completed, the buyer owns the property. All keys should be left with the selling real estate agent for the buyer to collect.

The property should be left in accordance with the contract of sale, ie: leaving behind what was included in the sale.

Before leaving, vendors should disconnect the electricity, water, gas, phone, internet and any other connections, re-direct mail, and cancel any deliveries.

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