Goodbye real estate agents, hello self-service

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Traditionally, if you wanted to sell your home, one of the first things you’d do would be to engage a real estate agent.

Your real estate agent of choice would be trusted with putting your home on the market, organising and hosting inspections and handling the auction or private negotiations, right through to the contract stage.
However, in the past few years, several DIY sales platforms have emerged in recognition of the growing appetite for self-service in the property market.

Home owners can now bypass real estate agents and sell their own home, which may be appealing to those concerned about commissions or control of the sale process.

The DIY route

DIY platforms offer a range of services, from listing properties on websites to providing advice and ‘For Sale’ banners. Some of the options include:

  • For Sale By Owner
  • Minus the Agent
  • Agent in a Box
  • PropertyNow
  • Sell My Own Place
  • Sale By Home Owner
  • No Agent Property
  • Sell My Property Now
  • buyMyplace.com.au

It’s important that prospective sellers do their due diligence on any self-service platform and know their obligations.

Also read: Real estate disrupters are fighting for your business.

For example, you will still need legal assistance or a conveyancer to prepare the contract of sale.
Websites like NSW Fair Trading, Consumer Affairs Victoria and other state equivalents can help.

One more futuristic option that is popular in other countries, but not quite in Australia is the concept of “ibuyer” that will buy your place from you before onselling it.

Why self-service?

The main reasons people opt for DIY are price and control.

Self-service means you don’t have to pay commissions to a real estate agent. Real estate agent commissions can add up to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the final sale amount.

Some sellers feel the agent’s fee is money well spent, given the expertise required and volume of work involved, but others would rather pocket the extra cash even if it means a bit of extra commitment.

The other key benefit of the DIY path is control. Sometimes, sellers are concerned agents aren’t acting in their best interests.

The seller can also choose to do every part of the process according to their schedule and specifications. In contrast, an agent has multiple clients and may not be able to accommodate the perfect open house or auction time for all clients.

Potential DIY downsides

Having said that, there are certain skills and advantages a real estate agent can bring that the DIY seller won’t necessarily have.

For example, an agent will likely know the local market, may have a buyer database to tap into and may have negotiation skills that could secure either a quicker sale or a higher price.

A real estate agent also offers objectivity. When it’s your own home, it’s hard to not get emotionally involved in the sale and, for some, that could see the property sit on the market for longer than optimal. It could also see potential deals dismissed due to emotional subjectivity about what the place should sell for.

Read more: DIY Conveyancing – Is it a good idea to do your own

It’s up to you

Whether to follow the traditional real estate path or go DIY ultimately comes down to personal preferences.

As with any aspect of real estate though, it’s important to do your homework. Any DIY offering should be thoroughly investigated and you should be across your responsibilities as a seller.

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