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Selling your house in a buyer’s market

June 4, 2019

Australian property can be a solid investment that pays big dividends long term.

Global housing markets have experienced a steady rise, with an increase of over 13% since the 2008 financial crisis (1). But like all reliable investments, the Australian property market has times where the bubble bursts, and that’s what has happened during the roller coaster that was 2018.

In times where the market is in decline, it may be a better option to hold your investment and weather the storm. If you’re in this situation right now, but still want to sell, all is not lost – there are always options to sell your property at a profit, even when it is a ‘buyer’s market’.

Going through a real estate agent is traditionally the go-to approach when selling your house. But agencies are not necessarily the best avenue, especially given the rise of more options to help you sell privately. For instance, an agent doesn’t necessarily have the same sense of urgency that you do in offloading your home. But the worst part for many is that when you do sell, you get hit with a hefty commission.

Selling your house without a regular agent can be quite economical, and gives you the added advantage of being in control of the entire process. Services like Buy My Place and Purple Bricks allow you to get help doing it yourself or source an agent through a network rather than going through a company.

Let’s weigh up a few of the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches to selling your home.

Benefits of selling with an agent:

For most people, Real Estate agents are the most obvious way to sell a house. After all, agents offer sellers many combined years of experience that can be quite appealing to an inexperienced seller.

It’s no secret that selling your home can be a stressful experience, and there are many moving parts to manage any real estate sale. For instance, keeping the house clean and tidy, creating attractive advertisements, closing the sale, and handling the legalities of the contract and handover can be a lot of work especially for people already working full time.

By leaving these factors in the hands of an agent, it leaves you with more freedom to do other things while the agent handles the details.

Secondly, agencies are often connected to multiple advertising portals to ensure your property advertisement gets the most reach and is seen by as many people as possible. They also have access to a large database of previous clients and or people who may be interested in your property and can quickly draw attention to your house. The more interest your house gains, the more competitively priced your house becomes – this can mean an overall higher revenue earning for you and the agent. The chances that you actually sell your house within a reasonable time period also increases.

Thirdly, finding yourself a good, experienced agent is key as they hold prior experience selling different houses. They know what things people are looking for in their homes, as well as the types of homes they will most likely buy. They have access to a wide range of skills and resources to help them appraise your property correctly, capitalizing on efficiency to generate results.

Here’s an example of a beautiful home being sold in Melbourne, Australia, through two Real Estate agents, currently valued at AUD$1.2million dollars!

Benefits of selling without an agent:

Real Estate agents aren’t the only option for successfully selling your home. Selling without an agent also offers its own set of advantages.

For starters, it is more cost efficient in that it saves money off commissioning an agent. Agents often charge an average of 2-3% (in Victoria, Australia)(2), meaning a $500,000 sale comes with an extra $15,000 commission charge – that’s a lot of money that doesn’t necessarily need to be spent. This is not to say that you are saving on overall costs, as your potential earnings could also decrease, but, should you decide to invest some time into educating yourself on selling real estate, you could find yourself saving more in the end.

It’s important to note that education is key here – selling a house is not impossible to do yourself, but it’s vital that you make sure you’re aware of the common pitfalls and requirements of selling your own home.

Secondly, there is a potential to save time. Aside from having direct communication with the prospect (cutting out the ‘middleman’), you can also move things along on your own schedule. This way you can optimize your efficiency be scheduling appointments and inspections without having to push other important business aside.

Thirdly, a more human connection can be built with prospective buyers. As mentioned earlier, without an agent passing messages along, you can offer your prospective buyer dedicated service. An agent may be dealing with several properties at the same time, so messages might get held up while the agent works on other sales. Having one-to-one contact means no waiting for the chain of communication to come around.

A more efficient (and more human) connection is important as it can potentially lead to a faster sale. Another factor that could lead into this is the fact that you know your home best; while an agent might have visited your house and checked the place out, but they will never have the full experience of actually living in your house and will not be able to give the most authentic review possible.

Hopefully, this article has got you thinking and weighing the pros and cons of selling with or without an agent. The decision to sell your home is a big one, so think carefully about what is important to you before choosing whether to go with an agent or alone.

(1) IMF, ‘Global Housing Watch’,

(2) Which Real Estate Agent, ‘How Much Do Real Estate Agents Charge?’,

Jane Domain
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