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Questions to ask before selling your home yourself

Profile photo of Samantha Thorne
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Samantha is a Sydney-based real estate and home improvement writer. She is currently Head of Marketing at OpenAgent.

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Is it worth trying to sell your home yourself? Some people certainly think so. But while some may have gotten the price they wanted, we will never know what price an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent could have negotiated for them.

Why sell a home yourself?

There are plenty of pros to selling your home yourself. For starters, you could save yourself thousands in agents’ commission and you don’t have to put up with a poor agent that’s difficult to deal with. You are in the drivers’ seat and you can show your home when and how you want to.

You also don't have to go it completely alone. To assess your home’s value, you could call in a qualified property valuer. In addition, a range of online resources are available to assist you through the process. Starting from as little as $399, they offer you online advertising, advice and even “for sale” boards to put up in front of your home.

But before you start, however, you need to ask yourself some crucial questions, such as:

  • Do you have the knowledge, personality and energy to sell your home yourself?
  • Do you have the time needed to handle a high volume of enquiries, most of which will not result in a sale?
  • Will you be available when you need to be? For example, can you excuse yourself from meetings every time you get a call from a potential buyer? And can you take off work for a mid-week open inspection?
  • Do you know much about selling homes and the complexities involved?
  • Do you understand the current property market and what’s driving demand?
  • How good are you with the paperwork that may be required for the sale?

Do you understand what style will help to sell your home?

Presenting your home for sale is one of the most crucial tasks you will need to undertake. You may have great taste, but that’s not what counts here. It’s not about creating something you love. Instead, it involves taking yourself out of the home, appealing to the widest audience and suggesting how a buyer may want to use the space. It's not just about the home itself, it's also about the lifestyle you're selling.

  • Do you know what commonly puts off prospective buyers?
  • Are you aware of your home’s flaws, or oblivious to them because you see them every day?
  • Do you know what the simplest or most cost-effective changes you can make to your home to boost its appeal are?
  • If you need to renovate or make some repairs, do know of any good tradesmen and builders?
  • If you need to stage your home, do you know a tried and tested stylist?

An experienced real estate agent will be able to advise and direct you on all these issues having dealt with them countless times before.

How much do you know about real estate marketing?

There’s definitely a well-trodden formula for marketing a home. There’s no reason why you can’t implement it yourself, but you should first ask yourself:

  • Do you have an accurate indication of what your property is worth and what prices similar properties are going for? If you set the price too high, you could rule out interested buyers. And, if you set it too low, you could get less than you should.
  • Do you understand which forms of advertising will be more cost-effective for your particular property?
  • Do know which would be the best way to sell your property – for example, by auction or an asking price?
  • Can you devise the same or better marketing campaign than an experienced real estate agent?
  • Will you lose out by not having access to an agent’s client list or database of interested buyers in your area?
  • Are you capable of making your property stand out from the sea of competition?
  • Are you able to organise an auction if you need to?

Are you an expert negotiator?

If you are selling your home yourself, you will also need to talk to potential buyers yourself and be able to persuade them that your property is the one for them.

  • Will you be able to keep your emotions out of the process or be offended by criticism of your property?
  • Will an agent be better and more experienced at countering potential buyer concerns than you?
  • Will you be as effective as an experienced agent in following up on buyers who have shown interest in your property?
  • Can you judge which buyers are serious so that you don’t waste time and resources on those that aren’t?
  • How good are your negotiating skills? These skills can make a huge difference in the final price paid for a home. Experienced real estate agents will have negotiated hundreds of home sales before and come across just about every negotiating trick in the book.

In addition to weighing up these questions carefully before making the decision, it’s a good idea to talk to some friends who have already been through the stressful process of selling their homes. You may also want to talk to some real estate agents in your area to gain further insights. To find out who is best in your area, click here.