Preparing To Sell Checklist
An overview of the sale process
Deciding to sell
Consider what is happening in the broader market and what is best for your particular situation. Also decide if you are better off buying a new home before or after you sell your current home.
Choosing an agent
Your agent will be in charge of advertising, showing and completing the legal requirements of selling your property, so choose carefully. Prospective agents will usually appraise your property and provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA).
Next you’ll decide how you want to sell
You and your agent will work out a plan for listing and selling your property – whether you want to have weekend open homes or by appointment only, whether you will go to auction or ask for offers.
Determining your selling price and property inclusions comes next
You may have your property evaluated by an expert, who will assess its location, size, age and any extra features it has. Your agent will advise you on the current market and area trends.
You’ll sign an agreement with your agent
This legally binding contract will detail any commissions, the estimated sale price, duration of the agreement, advertising costs, the process in case the property is passed in at auction and much more. You may wish to seek independent legal advice to ensure you understand the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Prepare the contract of sale and Section 32 for your property
These will include all of the details prospective purchasers will need including details of the owners, title, all conditions of the sale and what is included in it (for example carpet, furnishings), as well as zoning certificate and sewer diagrams. Your solicitor or conveyancer will prepare this for you.
Advertising your property
This involves photographing your property, drawing up floor plans and agreeing your marketing schedule. You can choose from a range of online ads to help drive more enquiries and a higher sale price.
Going on the market
Prospective buyers will contact your agent and arrange times to view your property, or attend the open homes at the times you have agreed with your agent.
Sale and negotiation
Your agent will mediate between you and the buyer to reach a mutually acceptable price. Once you have accepted an offer or sold at auction, your conveyancer will begin preparing the final contract documents and the buyer will pay a deposit.
Before settlement, both seller and buyer’s lawyers and banks will work out the details of the sale to ensure both parties meet all legal and financial requirements.
All going to plan, you’ll relinquish the keys and legal rights to your property in exchange for the balance of payment from the buyer or their bank. You will have then sold your home.
Make A Great First Impression
It’s important to make sure your property looks its best from the moment it goes onto the market. Here are our top tips for presenting your property.
Make sure the front of your property looks appealing and inviting with a weed-free garden and some attractive pot plants.
Clean and bright
Before every viewing give your property a once over, ensuring that windows are clean inside and out – it’s surprising how much difference it makes to the light.
Cut the clutter
You want the prospective buyer to be able to imagine their own belongings in the property, so de-clutter to keep things tidy. Less clutter will also help make rooms appear larger.
Set the scene
You may want to hire furniture to create the look you desire. This is a great way to transform your home and give it extra appeal.
From leaking taps to a broken bulb, make sure the minor repairs are taken care of. A lick of paint will freshen scuffs and scrapes in the woodwork. Basic maintenance work will help to ensure buyers don’t find any faults.
Get rid of smoke or pet odours. Open the windows, brew some fresh coffee, and brighten the place up with fresh flowers.
Increase the sense of space with mirrors and lights and leave all internal doors open.
Always clean and tidy up after your pets and take them out of the property during open times.
Create warmth by preparing your home to suit the temperature of the day. If it’s cold, light fires, turn on patio heaters and heating. If it’s hot, turn on fans and cooling systems.
Choosing An Agent Checklist
To entrust and manage the sale of your property
Talk to family and friends
It is worth asking family, friends and neighbours who’ve sold property recently about their experiences and recommendations.
Understand your online advertising options
Research shows 87% of people search for properties to buy on the internet. Make sure you understand the different online advertising options available – for example, using an eBrochure or Highlight Property can help you to attract more buyers.
Check who has sold properties in your area
Taking note of which agents have sold properties will give you a good indication of which agents are doing well in your local area. You can find this out by visiting the ‘Sold Prices’ tab on realestate.com.au
Visit agents to check their professionalism
Ask to see examples of flyers and advertising they have produced for properties like yours.
Develop a short list of preferred agents
Narrow down your list to two or three agents and ask them for a valuation. The highest valuation is not necessarily the best, as an over-priced house may not sell.
Discuss advertising options
When you meet with your short list of agents, ask them how they recommend advertising your property – this will influence the number of potential buyers who see your property.
Check the small print
Once you’ve selected your agent, check the terms of the appointment; it’s your responsibility to know what you’ve agreed to before signing anything legally binding.
Avoid choosing an agent based only on their commission rate
An agent who provides the lowest commission rate won’t necessarily provide you with the best service or achieve the best result for your property. Consider the agent’s experience, local area knowledge and the quality of their proposed advertising schedule – to be confident that your property is seen by the largest number of potential buyers to maximise the selling price.
Make sure that you are comfortable with the selling process and if you are unsure, or don’t know – ask!
Ask for feedback
Your agent should keep you updated throughout the sales process. If you advertise on realestate.com.au ask your agent to register you to receive a weekly vendor report by email – so that you can see how many times your property has been viewed.
What is a Statement of Information?
In May 2017 changes to the Estate Agents Act 1980 came into effect to strengthen laws against underquoting in Victoria. One of the items required under the changes was when listing and selling a residential property in our state a Statement of Information must be provided to prospective purchasers. You might be asking “what exactly is a Statement of Information?”
The Statement of Information must include;
- an indicative selling price for the property. This may be a single price or a price range of up to 10 per cent. It must not be less than:
- the real estate agent’s estimated selling price
- the seller’s asking price
- a price in a written offer that has already been rejected by the seller.
- details of the three most comparable properties, including the address, date of sale, and sale price; or – if not taking into account three comparable properties when setting the estimated selling price – a statement outlining that the agent reasonably believes there are less than three comparable sales within the prescribed period
- the median house or unit price for the suburb. This may be for a period of between three and 12 months, and must not be more than six months old.
Modern day buyers have a wealth of knowledge at their finger tips and do a lot of research online before they make a call or email the agent. In most cases the prospective purchaser can see a property that might interest them on today’s market and know what the property looked like last time it sold, when it sold and how much for. They have most likely been watching the market over a few months looking for the property that suits their needs. So in some ways the Statement of Information isn’t telling buyers anything they might not already know if they have done their due diligence and investigated the property and its surrounding suburbs online. What the Statement of Information does do however is provide buyers with information on how the asking price was arrived at between the seller and agent.
The heart of the matter is the changes to the Estate Agents Act 1980 were made to address the need for the laws that apply to residential property sales to meet the false and misleading representation provisions of Australian Consumer Law (ACL). So that’s a good thing for purchasers. What does it mean for sellers though?
Well hopefully your agent has already discussed with you the reasoning they came to when they provided you with their estimated selling price (appraisal price). They probably (well the good agents do) also talked to you about the reality that in the end the market will tell you what your property is worth. So how does your agent know that? Well to keep the answer simple for this discussion; your property will get enquiry, and then inspections and offers and then it will sell.
If your agent hasn’t had this discussion with you about the Statement of Information then ask them to show you a copy and remember the Statement of Information must be:
- displayed at all open for inspections
- included with online advertising
- given to a prospective buyer within two business days of a request
- updated if there is a change in the indicative selling price.
You can get more information from your local real estate agent or Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)
What is a Section 32?
Also referred to as the Vendor’s Statement must be prepared by, or on behalf of the vendor and given to anyone who wishes to purchase the vendor’s property before they sign the Contract of Sale.
- Section 32 refers to the Sales of Land Act which requires the Vendor to provide certain information BEFORE a Contract of Sale is signed.
- Failure to provide it gives the Purchaser the right to withdraw from the sale if they wish. Of course there are exceptions to this rule but Purchasers shouldn’t assume that this technicality will allow them to end the Contract.
- Basic information that you will find in a Section 32 are;
- vendor’s details
- title details
- statutory warnings
- information regarding building permits issued in the past 7 years
- particulars of owner-builder warranty insurance
- inspection report (if owner-builder)
- particulars of mortgages or charges over the land (i.e. debts charged against the land)
- information regarding covenants, easements and any other restrictions on title (whether they appear on the title
- planning information, particularly where zoning restricts land use
- information regarding outgoings payable by the owner of the property
- disclosure of any notices or orders issued by the authorities, regarding fencing, road-widening, sewerage etc
- if there is access to the property by road
- information on services connected to the property
Who prepares the Section 32?
It is recommended that the Section 32 should be prepared by a qualified solicitor. While this is not stated in the Sale of Land Act the statement is a legal document and the Vendor should seek legal advice to understand their obligations. It is a criminal offence for a Vendor to knowingly provide false information or ‘all’ the information about the property. The Vendor must sign the Section 32 and it is then given to the real estate agent to pass onto Purchasers pre-contract. It also then forms part of the Contract of Sale. A Purchaser should have the document checked by their own legal representative. As a Vendor you should ensure that your name is on the Certificate of Title sometimes this isn’t the case as you may be acting for example as a Power of attorney or an executer of an Estate. That’s okay you just need to provide in addition a copy of the Power of Attorney or other legal document that provides proof that you have authority to sell.
For more information contact us or a solicitor.