Selling the house by owner gets new website advocate assisting the DIY challenge

Selling the house by owner gets new website advocate assisting the DIY challenge
Selling the house by owner gets new website advocate assisting the DIY challenge

Opportunities are increasing for vendors to advertise and sell properties themselves online, bypassing the use of estate agents and potentially avoiding thousands of dollars in commission.

Earlier this month a new player entered the DIY space – Intouch Real Estate founded by former Wizard Home Loans’ Paul Ryan – which immediately sparked an expected outcry from real estate agents on industry website Real Estate Business.

Ryan says selling your home yourself is a challenge vendors need to be up for.

Some of the issues DIY sellers must deal with, Ryan says, include ensuring photos, floor plans and description are true and correct, that vendors don’t misrepresent the property or mislead potential buyers, the negotiation process, attracting enough interest in the property and being at the open for inspections.

“Some people don’t like the concept of meeting people attending inspections, answering questions or hearing negative comments about their property,” he says.

But he maintains the sale process is far more transparent.

“The vendor can accept the offer they wish to accept and not be coerced into waiting until the campaign finishes or the auction date and potentially lose a buyer,” he says.

“You obtain genuine feedback, not clouded by real estate agent talk,” Ryan says.

And if the DIY campaign does not prove successful, Ryan says the vendor still has the option of transferring the sale to an agent.

Lorri Baxter, operations manager from Commission Free Real Estate (crfe.com.au), which offers to assist DIY sellers, says most vendors who go it alone have no idea of how to present their property, have an over-inflated opinion of the worth of their property and don't know how to finalise a sale if they find a buyer.

CRFE's service includes a professional advertising script, helping with negotiation and getting DIY listings on websites like realestate.com.au.

"In years gone by, many people have felt they needed to list with a local real estate agent to obtain a successful sale. Let me tell you, those days are long gone! It has become increasingly popular to sell your own home, as this is the only way to avoid paying excessive agent fees," she says.

Among Australia’s most dominant online real estate listings providers – realestate.com.au, domain.com.au and RealestateVIEW.com.au – only Domain.com.au provides what it calls a “self-service” offering, and most estate agents, not surprisingly, are firmly against the idea.

Robert Larocca, policy and public affairs manager at the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (which runs RealestateVIEW.com.au), says the trend of DIY selling has become more obvious because of the internet but warns that it has always “represented a false economy and still does – regardless of the apparent ease of the internet.

“In the first place, it simply may not be cheaper; many of the websites are simply conduits for a range of service providers seeking to sell a range of services that are often included in the professional fees charged by estate agents.

“Secondly, by not utilising the professional services of agents, consumers can be left exposed. They are less likely to get the best sale price and face the likelihood of having to spend countless hours doing the work normally done by their estate agent.

“It may seem cheaper, but will it really be cheaper when you take into account the cost of your time and a lower sale price?”

Despite the large number of online DIY sites (see our list below) DIY listings make up a tiny proportion of the overall market.

As an example, for the post code of 2000 (Sydney CBD), realestate.com.au has over 750 listings while Domain.com.au has nearly 950.

buyMyPlace.com.au – which claims to be the no.1 DIY listings website - lists just six properties for sale in the same postcode.

The results are similar for other postcodes Property Observer tried such as 3000 and 2011.

Vendors who do wish to explore the DIY route have a number of online ventures that offer services tailored at this market.

Services range from simply providing a template to completing an online listing to providing a collection of services such as featured listings on sites like realestate.com.au, organising professional photographs, preparing property reports, providing open-for-inspection signs and providing a legal partner for conveyancing.

Most charge a base fee, which rises as more services and features are added to a basic agreement.

Aside from the challenge of marketing, promoting and dealing with buyers, there are also legal obligations and potential hurdles, which can land DIY sellers in trouble.

Vendors must engage a solicitor or conveyance to ensure the necessary legal documents are in place and to also hold the deposit in trust.

Other challenges include estimating a fair price, vetting potential buyers and determining a settlement period.

Despite these challenges, there are numerous well-known advocates for DIY sales

Hotspotting.com.au’s Terry Ryder published a book Real Estate Without Agents, while consumer advocate Neil Jenman also backs the practice as a way to avoid commission costs and the risk of dealing with an unscrupulous agent.

Property Observer has scoured the internet to come up with a comprehensive list of online DIY offerings:

www.intouchrealestate.com.au 

Cost: starts from $995

Services: Access to LiveOffer system which allows vendors to monitor offers on their property online and in real time, yard signs, in-house online listings, listing with realestate.com.au, domain.com.au, promotional flyers. A more expensive vendor-assisted offering is also available for $1,995.

www.buymyplace.com.au

Cost: starts from $270 to $599

Services: Listing on bymyplace.com.au, for sale sign, six photographs. Auctioneering services, property reports, sales contracts and price negotiation services can be purchased for an extra charge.

selfservice.domain.com.au 

Cost:  $250 - $499

Services: The ability to build your own listing online and then publish it on domain.com.au. Prices vary dependent on suburb location.

www.forsalebyowner.com.au 

Cost: starts from $699 

Services: Listing on forsalebyowner.com.au, realestate.com.au plus other smaller listings websites, for sale board, property report, printable brochure and ability to manage your own account.

www.noagentproperty.com.au

Cost: $295 

Services: Listing on noagentproperty.com.au, 12 photos, unlimited description and time, listing on the Trading Post online.

www.cfre.com.au 

Cost: $699 for “value plus” package (also offers $299 “sell it quick” package)

Services: This is a vendor-assisted offering. It includes a six month listing on realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au, for sale sign and sold sticker, property brochure, solicitor/conveyancer advice form, how to negotiate kit.

www.propertynow.com.au

Cost: $390 listing fee + $90 recurring monthly fee 

Services: Online listing on propertynow.com.au, plus option to buy for sale sign for $75

www.forsaleforlease.com.au

Cost: $399 + $99 per month or $795 until sold 

Services: Listings on all major websites, ability to change ad yourself. Extras cost for for sale signs, photographs, a listing on domain.com.au, floorplans etc.

www.owner.com.au

Cost: $0 - $110 

Services: Standard listing on site with one photograph. For $110 you get unlimited photographs and a pair of for sale signs. Listings are free to renew.

www.diyrealty.com.au

Cost: $169  

Services:  This covers standard listing on site. ptional services. Optional services that can purchased at an extra cost include additional signage, feature listings and the option of listing on other real estate sites.

www.smartvendor.com.au

Cost: $0 -$2,299

Services: The free offer includes an online ad, five photographs. The top package includes a Google advertising campaign, a listing on domain.com.au, personalised for sale sign and 300 personalised flyers.


Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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