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Selling a house yourself.

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  1. #1
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    Default Selling a house yourself.

    Just wondered if anyone has ever tried selling a house themselves using the 'for sale by owner' type of web sites. Are they good, bad or indifferent?

    Cheers,
    FatRob.

  2. #2
    Golden Member m6sports's Avatar
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    I don't know about selling by yourself but. I personally wouldn't even bother looking at a house if it wasn't listed by an agent. For 3 main reasons,
    1. the price it likely to be higher as the seller has a dream price of what they what for the house
    2. Difficulty getting everything organised as the seller doesn't know what they are doing
    3. House inspections would feel weird, as I wouldn't feel comfortable knowing the owner is there whle I'm looking

    these are personal opinions I know plenty of people sell privately but all I'm saying is your missing out on buyers like me that wouldn't buy

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    As to a private sale having a higher price, I'm not convinced. Selling prices can vary from real estate to real estate where a vendor moves from one who has priced too high (although probably appraised it at a lower value) and can't sell it, to another who puts it on the market at a realistic price and does sell it. The vendor can be driving this high price, even through a real estate agent. It's up to the buyer to know the market.

    My partner has told me, private sales can be off putting to buyers as they can worry that something is hidden/undisclosed about the property.

    As to selling privately, all I can say is, my partner who has agents rep licence (is a property manager) and has studied/knowledge of sales, would never try to sell our house. In fact, the sales agents she works with would never try to sell their own houses either.

    It can go very wrong if you don't know what you are doing. Aside from that, you will be too close on a personal level. Contracts would have to be drawn up by a solicitor anyway.

    Agents are knowledgable in the law, responsible for the whole process and have the techniques used to get you the best price possible. That's worth paying them for.

    Would you go to court and represent yourself?

    Sorry, big rant....

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    Appreciate your honest comments. It's always good to understand how others would see the situation.

    Cheers,

    FatRob

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    The other point about going through an agent is that they have access to a data base of potential purchases which you do not have as a private seller. If the market in your area is hot then you may be ok however if sales are slow it may be even more difficult selling privately.
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    I would and have a sold house privaetly, with a little amount of knowledge and a good conveyencer you will not have any problems you will just save money on the agents fees, same goes if you are purchasing you do all the same inspections as if going through an agent only diference is again no agents fees and yes I would and have represented myself in court.

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    Thumbs down

    Plenty of people do it and I suspect it will continue to grow in popularity. As a potential buyer I would view it very favourably as it would mean I too potentially didn't have to deal with an agent.

    To suggest that the role of an agent is analogous to that of a solicitor is a very big leap.

    You can do it, give it a go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoff View Post

    To suggest that the role of an agent is analogous to that of a solicitor is a very big leap.
    That's not what I said. I used the example because, ask any solicitor, judge, etc whether you should represent yourself in court and they would all say no, don't do it. It's the same in real estate. Ask any one who is in the business and again they would all say no, don't do it. That's where the similarity lies.

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    Sold my mothers old house ourselves - through word of mouth. A friend of a friend heard it was going on the market, came had a look said how much and bought the place! No ads, no commission. Price determined from getting agents opinions.

    So why not try to tell a few people you are thinking of selling? It's not as rare as you might think. I told a friend I was looking to buy and he said one of his neighbours was thinking of selling. It is in the suburb I am looking at, in the price range I need and wouldn't be ready to sell until next year, when I would be looking at selling. Who knows. Doesnt cost much to tell friends and neighbour. They may know someone who is interested in the area. Infact, when I bought into the complex I an in now I told a work colleague there was a place available. He came he saw he bought. You just never know.

    Do agree with all the comments on selling yourself or with an agent. Pros and cons with both.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by shauck View Post
    That's not what I said. I used the example because, ask any solicitor, judge, etc whether you should represent yourself in court and they would all say no, don't do it. It's the same in real estate. Ask any one who is in the business and again they would all say no, don't do it. That's where the similarity lies.
    Analogous
    Adjective:
    Comparable in certain respects, typically in a way that makes clearer the nature of the things compared.

    There is simply no comparison between the two things. Of course it wouldn't be sensible to represent yourself in court. People receive many years of specialist training to undertake that role, not pass a simple multi choice exam.

    The only similarity is that of course both professions are going to suggest you get one of them to do it.

    Any half sensible grown adult can have a reasonable crack at selling their own home. There are plenty of resources and tools to let you do it.

  11. #11
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    as a person who just sold our house privately we found it a smooth process. Prices for houses are set during the sale. Regardless of how experienced a real estate agent is, its a supply and demand thing that sets the price.

    A real estate agent does not inspect the property for defects to be told for the buyer. They do not ask for a list of faults, problems etc. They are paid by the seller not the buyer. It is left to the buyer to do the research.
    Arms length selling is a good reason to sell a house through a real estate agent.

    I was confident in my house. If I was asked a question about the house I answered it correctly. I allowed any inspection that the buyer wanted.

    but I guess thats not the question you asked either.

    I used face book to sell my house, but we looked into the internet sales and found that you could still list a house on domain and realestate.com etc. The cost was the same as some of the realestates here were going to charge us upfront anyway.

    As mentioned it is up to you to get your contracts for the sale drawn up before you advertise the house. Again you could go to a solicitor or but a conveyancer is a cheaper option.

    Get your real estate agents to value your property before you sell. Don't worry about not giving them the job, I am sure when they put those 'no obligation, free house appraisal' in your letter box for that reason. Haha
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    Quote Originally Posted by manofaus View Post

    A real estate agent does not inspect the property for defects to be told for the buyer. They do not ask for a list of faults, problems etc. They are paid by the seller not the buyer. It is left to the buyer to do the research.
    Arms length selling is a good reason to sell a house through a real estate agent.

    I was confident in my house. If I was asked a question about the house I answered it correctly. I allowed any inspection that the buyer wanted.
    Real estate agents do collect information about the property and do pass on any information about the house to prospective buyers when asked questions about the condition of the property. That's not to say there aren't dodgy real estate agents out there who are unethical. I would say there are private sellers out there who are also unethical. A report from an independent inspection will go a long way in helping a prospective buyer make informed decisions, regardless of whether it's private sale or through a real estate agent.

  13. #13
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    I reckon it depends a lot on where you are an how difficult is the process. In the ACT it is simpler to do the conveyancing and it can be done by the owner. My personal experience is that I use a lawyer for that, but do the real estate stuff myself: ie: the marketing, showing and negotiation. It also depends too on the market - is it a buyer's or seller's market.

    The lack of an agent's fee (there are still sales costs though) means the seller can accept a lower price so long as they am not greedy about wanting to keep all that fee to themselves - both parties can work out what the agent's fee might have been although the buyer will not know what the agent's 'profit' would have been ie: will be not so aware of the costs of sale.

    Like DIYing anything - it often looks easy, but if it were so easy then real estate agents' would not exist or at least not so many would, as the law in most cases does not mandate an agent.

    So go in eyes wide open and do plenty of research before going down that path - but also shop around agent's too and negotiate the fee with them to0. I am amazed that few even ask for a reduction and/or a fixed fee yet agents I know generally will agree to them.
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    I bought a unit from a friend many years ago. It had been on the market for months with no takers. I had been looking to buy and couldn't find anything. I did like my friends unit though. They had taken it off the market before I asked if I could buy it. My friend didn't want to budge on price, though he did split the difference for the agents commission. So we both had a bit of money left in our pockets.

  15. #15
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    FatRob I've just sold my house privately....in fact settlement is in 9 more sleeps!!! Yippee!! Over many years I've sold every house we've ever owned privately, it's not hard and imho, doesn't take anymore work than if you were to sell through an agent. I don't do my own legal work as I prefer to leave that part to a professional, but once or twice I've found a mistake in the legal paperwork and had to send it back to be corrected.

    I notice you are in Brissie and I'm not sure about regs in your state (I'm in NSW) but all the info you require is on the Dept of Fair Trading website and you can still call with further enquiries, they are only too willing to help and that is free. You must have a Contract of Sale drawn up before listing your house for sale and then it's up to you where you choose to advertise it.

    This current house sold to the first genuine inspection...a few tyrekickers prior but you can pick them a mile even though they think they have you fooled...and I am still getting enquiries even though the ads have been edited to show 'Under Contract'.

    The last house sold in 8 days and that was over the Xmas/New Year break with not one cent spent on advertising (due to the hols) but a friend who had a sign business made a corflute sign (I bought him a bottle of Scotch) and because I didn't have anywhere to put it out of harms way, decided on Xmas Eve at 9pm to shove it in the window...first phone call 20 minutes later!!! I couldn't believe it!! No contacts on Xmas Day but on Boxing Day at 7am the first knock on the door, then there were another 4-5 enquiries through the day.

    This time I paid for a one month ad on Domain ($299) as well as TradingPost ($20) but TP's policy is that if the item isn't sold within 4 weeks they refund the $20 and leave the ad in place!! I also put it on Gumtree (LOTS of tyrekickers and sob stories etc etc) and any other freebie site I could find...better to have it out there in as many places as you can. Then just as the Domain ad was about to expire I received an SMS offering a $99 once ONLY fee to advertise on realestate.com.au ...so I grabbed that due to it being the premier site (imho). Their fee is generally $xxx initially then $xxx per month to continue. So my total spend on advertising was $398, oh I also re-used the corflute sign from the previous house.

    Sorry but I don't buy the 'agent has access to sales history' because 'you' can get it now that everything is online....you have the choice of paying for it, but, if you care to spend a couple of hours doing your own research it's all there at your fingertips (literally). I live in a small town with very little passing traffic and didn't really expect the sign would be a huge attraction but I was surprised how many people replied via the sign LOL.

    Once you've set your acceptable price (same as you do with an agent) take into account how much you will save not having to pay an agents fee, I usually split that cost with the purchaser so we've both saved a big chunk of $$$s. When an offer is put forward, tell them you will consider it overnight and let them know tomorrow...and make sure you do, nobody likes to be ignored. If their offer isn't enough, come back with a counteroffer. Most importantly don't get emotional, it's only a house afterall.

    As manofaus said, agents don't do an inspection of the condition of the property, they are not interested and the buyer usually gets a PrePurchase inspection and/or their bank wants a valuation...neither of these are at your cost, they are at the buyers cost. It's up to the buyer to satisfy themselves the house is not misrepresented, this is no different if it's being sold privately or via an agent.

    I wish more people would sell privately as that's my preferred option when buying, but a lot are scared of the unknown and lack the confidence in doing it themselves, it's not hard as stated above...you just need to be honest and open with your prospective purchasers and treat them how 'you' like to be treated!! Your house is your biggest investment and yet you hand it to someone else to do the selling when they've only walked through the door 5 minutes ago?? How many times have you done an inspection with an agent and asked a question or three and get the same response every time....'I will find out and get back to you' Argh!! you never hear from them again, but, if the owner was the seller and you asked that same question you get an immediate answer.

    Finally....a few months ago I went to an open house one Sat arvo, agent near the front door on her mobile (sounded like she was talking to her date for that night), she didn't have a visitors list for everyone to sign but pointed to the front door so I went in, about 50 people in the house (with her on the front porch), people picking up ornaments etc, looking in the fridge one lady helped herself to a can of drink, then I walked into the main bedroom through the WIR heading to the ensuite only to discover THREE ladies in the WIR with the owner's clothes (still on hangers) holding against themselves looking in the mirror and making comments about the clothes, one was trying on a blouse!!! My jaw dropped and as I was leaving the house tried to tell the agent she should get back into the house and do her job....she was afterall, entrusted with the house (and it's contents) while the owners were shipped out for the open house. The agent was 'still' gooing and gushing on the phone and even though I indicated I needed to talk to her she motioned me to leave. I know this doesn't happen with every agent but it's an eye opener as to how they treat 'your' house when it's in their care. I don't know how long those ladies had been going through the owners clothes/jewellery/etc (presumably the 30 min duration of the open house) or 'if' they took anything when they left....I just got out of there!! So if you plan on engaging an agent do yourself a favour and visit their open houses 'before' you list with them to gauge how they treat your house (and possessions) when you are not around.

    Better still, educate yourself on selling your own house and reap the rewards...it's very satisfying!

  16. #16
    Senior Member activeman's Avatar
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    My best mate just did, using a company that allowed advertising on real estate . com . au for $400.

    Depends how good a salesperson you are? Can you be honest with yourself.

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    I don't think you 'need' to be a salesperson, the house will sell itself. Just be honest and open with your purchaser. Anyone who has done an inspection of our houses over the years have always thanked us for being honest and answering their questions truthfully.

    If you can't be honest with yourself then who can you be honest with??

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaysideNana View Post
    I don't think you 'need' to be a salesperson, the house will sell itself. Just be honest and open with your purchaser. Anyone who has done an inspection of our houses over the years have always thanked us for being honest and answering their questions truthfully.

    If you can't be honest with yourself then who can you be honest with??
    Apparently most prospective purchasers hunt down potential homes on the web these days before they have even spoken to an agent. There is no reason why you can't give it a go perhaps talk to your convayencer or solicitor about what you need which is essentially the contract of sale and be prepared. As long as you can pitch the price to market it should sell. FWIW a real estate agent should be able to give an honest appraisal of value, but in the end it comes down to a willing seller and a willing buyer both agreeing to a price and there are pricing surprises sometimes that skew these price points. Good luck, I probably would be reluctant to market myself but entering into a private contract (non agent) shouldn't involve to much risk.

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    I would never sell without an agent, my last sale, the agent was able to screw, I mean secure an extra 28 grand after passing the property in at auction, immediately after auction, they have very good negotiating skills which is what you are paying for.
    As far as buying from a private vendor, never again, I don't want to go into details on here. Upshot was though, we could of sued them for every penny they had, but instead we let them off the hook so that we didn't look like cretins.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnc View Post
    Apparently most prospective purchasers hunt down potential homes on the web these days before they have even spoken to an agent.
    John that's just the point...there is NO reason to go talk to an agent, it's all on the internet these days and you search at your leisure in the middle of the night....in your PJ's if you wish!!


    [/QUOTE]There is no reason why you can't give it a go [/QUOTE]

    ....I've done just that, the house settles in 9 more sleeps!! ...and...for a price higher than expected.

    Since my previous post there was some junk mail in the letterbox from a local agent who was continually harassing because he wanted to list this house, he knew it would return a good commission. It was his bullying attitude that was a huge turnoff, anyway his blurb today was boasting about him selling a house for 96% of the original asking price. I beat him by 1%...not much, but just proves you don't need to miss the boat because you chose to sell privately. The last house got the highest sale price in that area, as did this one, again it's not rocket science!

    I'm not wanting to argue, just pointing out it 'can' be done....and quite successfully, I've sold all of our houses over many years so don't listen to knockers who haven't given it a try. There is NO hard sell, you just show prospective purchasers through your house and answer any questions, because they would prefer to buy withOUT an agent. In saying that, there will also be those people who don't have the confidence to buy/sell privately and they go through an agent.

    Back to packing.....

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaysideNana View Post
    I don't think you 'need' to be a salesperson, the house will sell itself. Just be honest and open with your purchaser. Anyone who has done an inspection of our houses over the years have always thanked us for being honest and answering their questions truthfully.

    If you can't be honest with yourself then who can you be honest with??
    The house may sell itself, but if you are a good salesperson then you may be able to get a higher price than had you used a RE agent. Whether this is important to you will decide whether or not you will give it a go yourself.

    Plenty of people, both buyers and sellers, are deluded on a daily basis. They are found holding out for unattainable prices or going in offering stupidly low (potentially missing out on a house because of greed). Being honest with yourself means not overestimating your abilities to sell or cope under pressure.

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    BaysideNana - great response. Thankyou for giving me some inspiration when it comes time to sell my house. The agents fee on my house could be anywhere from $15 to $25K so I'll be looking at selling it myself. I've earned each one of those dollars over the last 4 years that's for sure .
    Plum - apples with apples mate. A private seller isn't going to auction their property. We are talking about an advertised price which is negotiable. This discussion is about whether the agent can get the value of your property plus their commission. If you think they can then sign them up. If you think they can't and you have the stomach for selling then have a go at it.

  23. #23
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    I've bought without an agent, sale wasn't an issue and all parties walked away happy and the vendor picked up 100% of the sale, no commissions. There are good and bad agents, good and bad vendors, dito for purchasers, there are some agents I would not use for very sound reasons and others I'm quite comfortable with. The key is honesty, trying to screw people through underhand methods leaves a lot of unhappy campers so what I would stress is that a decent ethical agent makes the job easy, but there is no guarantees, so providing you approach selling in an open manner and you have the ability to judge the price of your home it will probably work out. If you have difficulty negotiating and you don't like dealing with people then you should use an agent. Agents facilitate the operation of the market, it is difficult for many to judge the value of their own home and agents have a valuable role in setting prices and assisting in sales but if you have ever had to deal with a dodgy dishonest salesman you will also wonder why we don't have a better way of regulating the cowboys.

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    Well said Johnc.

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    nicely put john...
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    Quote Originally Posted by activeman View Post
    The house may sell itself, but if you are a good salesperson then you may be able to get a higher price than had you used a RE agent. Whether this is important to you will decide whether or not you will give it a go yourself.

    Plenty of people, both buyers and sellers, are deluded on a daily basis. They are found holding out for unattainable prices or going in offering stupidly low (potentially missing out on a house because of greed). Being honest with yourself means not overestimating your abilities to sell or cope under pressure.
    Funny thing is mate every house I've sold or been involved with starts with the real estate telling you what a great price they can achieve then once you sign them up they spend the whole campaign talking your price down so it sells easy at auction which gives them their comission and makes them look good cause they sold it. I treat realestate agents with the same lack of trust and respect as used car salesmen. I recently had my house valued by 4 agents and there was $150,000 difference between what they thought I could achieve. In other words most of them don't have a clue. And to conclude my rant a $600,000 sale nets real estate agent near $20,000??? WTF? lets see (being generous here) 8hrs to write sales blog and take a couple of (usually crap) photos, 4x 1/2hr open homes, 3hrs fielding phone calls, and 2 hrs auction day. In total Mr real estate has done 15hrs work and they think they have earnt $20,000???? Done the math, that's $1333.34/hr, YES PER HOUR!!!!! Doctors save lives and earn nowhere near those figures. So IMO those real estates can shove their greedy arses back into their audi's, BMW's and Mercedes and leave me alone in peace to sell my house myself - and prob do a better job in the process.

    Just my opinion but sold a few houses and this is often the case. I'm sure there is one or two good ones, I just haven't found them yet!

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    The thing with real estate agents and their companies/businesses is some will set a realistic price and will often sell the houses. Others, across the street from that real estate agent, will consistently set higher prices than the first to get the excited vendors custom but will not easily sell the house and either drop the price or after some waiting for a sale that doesn't come through, lose the sale to the first agent. Occasionally a house will sell for the high price but typically will not. It's up to the vendor to understand who they are dealing with, reputable or dodgy.

    A good real estate agent spends a lot of time developing a customer base, understanding the markets needs and requirements and will/should know where your particular house sits in the market. They also will know how to guide you in presenting the house in it's best light, given that part of the market.

    I agree that the fees are big but I also think they do more work than you can easily attribute to your house sale. A good agent has no life.

    Not all of the commision goes to the actual sales agent. He/she shares most of that with the company they work for and in some cases agents in the one business will share the commissions. An actual example - 1.3% to the selling agent and then 2% to the company so total of 3.3% Then you have to think about business costs. Renting a commercial building, licences, computer/office, blah blah, etc, etc... We've seen the arguments for this in other posts on trades that seem to earn great money.

    I've even been told that in the case of a particular real estate, that is the best in sales in this town, it's the rental market that keeps the branch afloat.

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    What most people don't understand is that commission in the old days was at a set percentage. Now you can negotiate commission, doing this you can make your agent work harder to get a higher price by scaling the commission with higher sales price. My agent, who sold a few properties for me always new, the higher the price, the better commission.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shauck View Post
    Real estate agents do collect information about the property and do pass on any information about the house to prospective buyers when asked questions about the condition of the property. That's not to say there aren't dodgy real estate agents out there who are unethical. I would say there are private sellers out there who are also unethical. A report from an independent inspection will go a long way in helping a prospective buyer make informed decisions, regardless of whether it's private sale or through a real estate agent.
    When we were looking to buy a house none of the real estate agents would say anything about the condition of the house even when there were completely obvious major structural problems. A few of them told us that they were not legally allowed to comment on things like that because they were real estate agents, not builders or engineers. Just wondering if this is true??

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    An agent is really there to negotiate with the purchaser once they get one. It is then up to you as the purchaser to make their own enquiries into the property, building, pest, asbestos, neucular waste dump etc. They can be liable if they say the wrong thing or advise incorrectly

    The only information they get is what government searches are required, council etc, and make it avilable to the purchaser. Not point out every detail of the property and hold hands. Agents have their reputations for a reason! (Btw, The only comparison between lawyers and real estate agents is they are both better at the bottom of the ocean)

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    I was under the impression that if they have been told by the owner, for example, that the house has asbestos and they are asked by a potential purchaser if the house has asbsetos, then they must answer honestly. It wouldn't make sense for them to comment too much on things they don't understand or are not qualified to judge but when something is clearly known, I think it's up to the purchaser to enquire and the real estate agent to respond honestly. I will ask my partner about it to be sure.

    [QUOTE(Btw, The only comparison between lawyers and real estate agents is they are both better at the bottom of the ocean)[/QUOTE]

    You may then see natural selection take place, with the fittest of the species growing gills and selling underwater real estate. Imagine some of the catchy phrases. "Secluded underwater paradise. Bring your snorkel. Inspection will not disappoint"

  32. #32
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    If the owner says there is asbestos for example, and if the agent is then asked if there is adbestos, he can not lie and must say yes. Does not mean that they have to state it to you without being asked. Like wise if the owner doesn't know if there is asbestos and the agent is asked, they cant say no, they have to say 'I don't know' to cover their @@@@.

    Bad example seeing as adbestos registers are coming/already out and is being focused on a lot more but still the same principle.

    ^love it, the lawyer evolutions charging 100 shells per 6 minute block too)

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    Quote Originally Posted by SirOvlov View Post
    If the owner says there is asbestos for example, and if the agent is then asked if there is adbestos, he can not lie and must say yes. Does not mean that they have to state it to you without being asked. Like wise if the owner doesn't know if there is asbestos and the agent is asked, they cant say no, they have to say 'I don't know' to cover their @@@@.

    Bad example seeing as adbestos registers are coming/already out and is being focused on a lot more but still the same principle.

    ^love it, the lawyer evolutions charging 100 shells per 6 minute block too)
    Something fishy bout those underwater lawyers....

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    OK, so what, (apart from being a salesman who is on commission and therefore untrustworthy), is the point of a real estate agent???

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    It depends who you ask!!......but I don't think there is any need for an agent when it's something you are quite capable of doing yourself while saving heaps of $$$s in commission. I discussed this with an agent recently and he is amazed that more people don't sell privately, it's soooo much easier now with online listings. Btw, he wasn't the usual pushy, high pressure salesman and quite different from the regular agent.

    Negotiating price and conditions with a prospective purchaser is not something a lot of people are comfortable with, but if do your calculations beforehand and stick to your plan then you won't have a problem. In saying that, some agents (again imho) aren't good negotiators either, and you suffer the consequences.

    You are handing your most valuable possession to a (mostly) unknown person who you hope will get you the best price when they know zilch about the property and more often than not, aren't too concerned because they get their commission with little variation, whereas that variation could mean thousands of $$$s in the sale price.

    Some vendors don't have the time or inclination to sell their own property, it's not hard but it does take time and effort on your part....then again you are rewarded by having the commission in your pocket as opposed to handing it to someone else. I always engage a solicitor or conveyancer to do the legals, just in case there is something tricky that could be missed.

    If you think you might want to sell privately I could pass on a few tips that I've used....I'm definitely NOT into high pressure selling, just open and honest replies to any questions a purchaser may have and don't rush them through an inspection. This is what I've found most people want...and it's what I want when buying too!

    Feel free to PM me if you wish. Good luck with your decision, would love to hear some feedback!


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