I successfully sold a house on Trade Me myself.
It took a while but it sold. Real Estate agents are not really required these days but people think they are. They don’t offer a lot if you think about it. And if you think they will get the best price for your house think again.The 4 percent they will take from the sale price will probably negate extra that they might have negotiated. There is also evidence that agents don’t hold out for the best price because they want turn over. In a freakonomics chapter the authors outlined a study which showed agents take much longer to sell properties they personally own so they can get a better price.
I had a lot of real estate agents contact me wanting to sell the place. I asked them what they offered that I couldn’t do myself. Many offered up that the negotiation process was ‘uncomfortable’ for people. That’s probably true. But you know what your bottom line is. You know what you have to get for a house to buy the next one. Are you really going to agree to a price you can’t afford? Unlikely.
Another thing agents told me was that they knew the market. This is pretty easy for you to know too. You can look on trade me for similar properties and see what they are lited for. You can follow the links to recent house sale information. You can read detailed information that a lot of agents won’t have – they skim the surface of the wider area but you can go deep.
They don’t take a lot of time getting to know a potential buyer but you can find out a lot more about them.
In my case the buyer was going to be my neighbor for a long time so it was in my interest to sell to nice a reasonable people. That isn’t probably someting most sellers would be interested in but some people might be selling an apartment they own in the same building or, like me, a house in the same street.
Agents don’t know the local ammenities well but you do. You can tell potential buyers where things are that they need and what you like about the area. While I was building up to selling I visited a lot of open homes and I frequently asked agents if the house was in a particular school zone. They didn’t know. Or else they did know and the answer was negative so they didn’t want to tell me. This is such basic information. But an agent is dealing with 5 – 20 houses so they don’t know much about it. Their relationship with the house is hopefully going to last a few weeks so they don’t want to understand it.
I got quite a few people trying to test my vulnerability. A common test was to ask me to show them the house at a very unreasonable time. I think the reasoning is that if I’m desperate I would show it. I had a few back up times organised with my tenants and I never budged from these. I also had lots of extra photos I offered to send to these people so they could work out if they were interested. These people want to see if they can get a cheap deal from soemone and they often asked why I was selling. They want to hear the d word. (Divorce). While I never hid the information that my partner and I had split up, I never let on I was desperate to sell. In fact I’d tell people one of our options was for one to buy the other out of the rental property. This was in fact true. My preference however was to sell and get my mortgage down on the house I live in.
There were a few people who were keen to buy the house. Two couples and two singles. The two I most preferred had properties they needed to sell before they could buy mine. I did something a real estate agent would never have done: I went to their open homes, I said positive things about their homes to other potential buyers. I took better photos of their homes and gave them to their agents. I added links to my advert as ‘similar houses’. I used the networks I’d built as a seller to redirect to their properties. Eventually the domino effect happened. The nice couple I wanted most to buy my house managed to sell theirs and then they bought mine. Yay!
I had tenants in the house while I sold it. They were new tenants and I told them the rent was low because it was on the market. They went into the tenancy knowing it would be sold and they would have 6 weeks notice. I also asked them if I could come in and clean before I showed it. So – they got a cleaning lady! I deliberately picked tenants I thought would be tidy. I left them fresh flowers and/or baking each time. I still run into them and they tell me I was the best landlady ever.
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