Skip to content
By using the website you agree with our cookies policy.

How to successfully sell real estate by yourself

In the last section, we focused on how to successfully sell a property. In a few basic steps, I explained to you what steps a successful sale should consist of. Now, I would like to get into details a bit and focus on how to sell if you decide to actually do a sale yourself and not with the help of a real estate agent. First and foremost, you have to have knowledge - you simply have to study the issue to a sufficient degree, whether that be on this site or elsewhere. Therefore, this article will not explain the basic concepts that you should simply know from your own research and reading. Each of the individual modules also has its own separate section with more detailed information. This part serves more as a kind of more detailed outline of the sale of real estate carried out entirely under your own steam.

 

Strategy

You have decided to sell and now you need to determine the strategy. Here I can only tell you that there are so many variables specific to your property that it is not possible to serve up a one-size-fits-all strategy on a silver platter. Unfortunately, this won't work. But I can outline a few basic features that you should definitely adhere to when creating your strategy and which should not be overlooked. The first is to determine the price: You need to find a realistic market estimate of the property price. You can use my calculator to do this, but you will see for yourself that there will be price variance to a smaller or larger degree depending on the type of property (any internet calculator that gives you one concrete price as gospel cannot be telling the whole truth. This price estimate is based only on the data entered into it, but each property is different and just because your neighbour sold the same apartment for three million doesn't mean yours will sell for exactly the same!). So that's why there is a variance, because first you state the location of the property. Then you should proceed by starting either: a) At the base price - because it represents the worst condition of the same property, and you can increase the price for the desirable features of your property: What does your property have that adds extra value? What about it is better!? Or vice versa, start: b) At the highest price - with the price of the most desirable property in this group and then reduce the price according to features that are missing from a property like yours. If you use both methods,  you will get a relatively accurate idea of ​​the market price of your property! (By the way, real estate valuers basically do this, just with a better feel for the positive and negative feature inputs).

 

Next, you need to identify the target group. Who would probably want to live in your property? Here it can help you to remember why you moved to the property, but also when and why it stopped suiting you. You can therefore work out who to focus on - what type of potential buyers will be more excited after a viewing?  Because you will want to reach out to such people with what's in your advert, e.g. If the house no longer suits you because it is too close to the city and has too many stairs, you will want to adjust the offer so that this is highlighted as an advantage for young people who want access to city services, and for whom stairs are not an issue. You really don't need people coming for a viewing who, like you, are looking for something in a quiet environment and maybe even for retirement. In other words, there is no need to embellish anything in the offer at all, you just need to focus the advantages and disadvantages towards the right target group! What is an insurmountable problem for one demographic is absolutely perfect for another.

 

These key areas will provide you with a basic price and a description for the offer. You will still need to focus the overall presentation. Prepare the property itself - in what instances should you consider home staging? In any case, hire a really good photographer. For better quality real estate, consider doing a 3D tour. A cleaning company is also an option. An apartment designer, too, who can point out defects that you don't notice because you walk past them every day, but potential buyers will spot at first sight! I'm not saying you have to have all this. But as part of the strategy, you need to  consider each possibility and decide whether you will include it or not. Each of these tools has its pros and cons (more about that elsewhere). And for a successful sale, over time a combination of them all can be very important!

Last but not least, the transfer itself needs to be prepared. Yes, this should be done within the framework of the strategy. It is necessary to decide whether legal escrow, or via a notary or bank is preferable, or whether you will try to persuade the buyer to send the money to your account in advance directly and trust that you will transfer the property to them. You need to appreciate what your negotiating skills are and which route is best. In any case, you need to prepare for this step. It is very late in the day to contact your lawyer only when the potential buyer tells you that they are interested. Most lawyers can’t draw up draft transfer agreements overnight, and relying just on the word of a potential buyer for a whole week can turn into a really ugly situation.

Do you have a  complete strategy? Do you know what, when, where and how? Do you know how to adjust it according to real market issues over time? Great, then you can move on to the next step.


Advertising

In this category we will mainly deal with our advert, which we will place according to the  agreed strategy on real estate servers, in advertising sections of print newspapers, Facebook ads, Google adwords, or create our own websites, etc. Following on from such an advert placed in this way, if it is done correctly, should be calls from potential buyers looking to arrange a viewing. Here, I recommend reserving certain days for viewings and only carrying out tours then, e.g. next week on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work from 17:00 to 20:00 and on Saturday mornings from 09:00 to 12:00. This is to help maintain your mental well-being and give you a sense of structure. If you let potential buyers decide when they want to come and then there are more of them, it will start to take up your whole week to such an extent that you feel you don't have time for anything else. In addition, in the eyes of anyone interested in your property, it might seem like you don't have many people interested if you let them just turn up for a viewing at any time they wish. And if someone is unable to adapt to such limited times (providing there actually are enough slots), then they are not as interested in the property as they might have sounded on the phone! Half an hour per tour is usually enough, so planning them strictly for every half an hour when you have a lot of potential buyers will also save you a lot of time and stress.

 

Be prepared for the fact that as an independent seller 90% of your calls will be from real estate agents. It is up to you whether you want to deal with them or not and, if so, how. In general, however, I recommend answering them with, "If you have a client, bring them here." But it really doesn’t make sense to make time to meet with any broker. They will just try to convince you that they will sell it better, but actually you have put in all the work creating the strategy and all the other things that can lead to an offer from a buyer. And watch out for other tricks from real estate agents. However, I mention this mainly so it is not part of your strategy to write in the text or anywhere else in the advertisement: “No real estate agencies” or “Real estate agencies, please don't call!”, etc. First off, all the real estate agencies ignore it and it’s not only that! These are the search keywords for such real estate agencies that tell them it's a private advert, so they will just find you more easily as a result! But the main reason is that for a lot of potential buyers, if it seems that if you are so afraid of real estate agencies, i.e. professionals in the field, then you are probably hiding something that amateur buyers like them might not spot and so they will likely give your advert a miss! So because of this you will only attract real estate agencies and people who never want anything to do with real estate agencies and you do not want either of these groups.

 

However, the viewings themselves are in this category. And you need to be properly prepared for them. There is more in the section, "How to prepare the property for viewings". It's really important and as you can see in that article the difference in sales price can go into the hundreds of thousands!

 

After the viewings, you can wait to see if those interested will contact you to say that they want to buy a house, or if we will instead repeat the advertising process, or adjust the strategy. It can be very helpful if you actively call the people who visited your property but didn't decide to go for it (ideally a week after the tour) and ask them quite openly why they did not choose the property. You can state as a fact that we are only interested so that we can improve something, not because we are trying to persuade them to change their minds and buy it.  Really avoid this and accept criticism completely openly and only as an incentive to adjust the strategy. If you start offering excuses for and explaining the problems they raise, people will just shut down the conversation and not tell you anything else. Information such as, "We didn't like the general smell there" might sound insulting but actually it's worth its weight in gold. For example, this is a typical feature of some apartments. We each have different natural smells, we each cook different things, we each have different pets. If you live your whole life at home with a dog and two cats, then the property will inevitably have a unique odour that you absolutely do not notice, but for people who are not used to it, it may be the reason for a definitive NO! An air freshener and a deep clean of surfaces will cost a fraction of what it costs to instead reduce the price because you just think no one wants to buy the property, but you can't understand why.

 

Negotiations

There is a moment when potential buyers say that magic phrase:  "So....we'll take it." It is then assumed that you will be the one to take the initiative at this stage. (Remember when I said at the beginning that it is necessary to prepare a lawyer for the transfer?). So I assume that you already have the basic wording of the draft transfer agreements, i.e. purchase agreements and escrow agreements (the purchase money held by a lawyer, conveyancer or bank). During the sale, you had the opportunity to discuss with a lawyer and adjust them to a form that suits you, so now you need to send such proposals to the interested party and let them express whether they want or need to change anything within them. If they are financing the property with a mortgage loan, then they will have to send it to a bank, which will also have its say. The transfer of money directly, without being held for safekeeping by a third party (an escrow agreement), will definitely not work here, and for the strategy you know that if you insist on something like that, an potential buyer using a mortgage is not worth inviting for a viewing.) You will also have to sign a lien with a financing bank. This means that the bank will hold a lien on your property for a time even if the purchase money is not  held in third-party custody. If you do not want to sign a lien agreement, you will not be able to proceed with the sale so again it is not worth dealing with potential buyers being financed by a mortgage. And it has happened to me many times that the owners were trying to sell, found an interested party and when this potential buyer presented a lien agreement, the seller simply refused to sign it because they simply did not know that something like this would be required.

 

Surprisingly, at this stage, the price or other essential conditions of the contract are not agreed on because usually everyone has naturally agreed on them during the viewing or after it. So you are really dealing with formal things concerning the transfer, and according to the advice given here, you will have had these prepared and ready to go right from the start, and this will now save you a huge amount of stress.

 

Transfer

The transfer itself must be resolved when the contracts are signed. It is not a problem to sign them all at once. That is, when the buyers sign the mortgage agreement with the bank. They will also receive the lien and can take it with them to sign the transfer agreements. I recommend making an appointment with a lawyer, because the signatures will then be verified and it is much more convenient to do it in one session than to take each contract to the post office individually to verify each signature  (which is really funny if there are more sellers and buyers. You sign all three sets of contracts - lien, purchase, escrow - and the associated proposals to place in the real estate cadastre).

 

And you will need to verify the signatures on the lien, which will be submitted to the cadastre and returned to the bank. Also on purchase contracts, which will be submitted to the cadastre and delivered to the bank. There is no need to verify signatures on escrow contracts. Please note that two purchase contracts with verified signatures will therefore be in circulation. It will probably be delivered to the bank by the buyer, and it needs to be stated there that it is a contract "Only for the purposes of the bank" - this can easily just be written by hand. But importantly, it must be written on at least the first and last page. This is because if it was not there, a buyer with such a contract can immediately head to the cadastre and transfer the property to the cadastre without ever having to pay you! The second contract verified in this way will be kept by you or, if you so agree, by the lawyer who arranges the safekeeping of the escrow money (custody of agreements).

Furthermore, it is necessary to deliver the lien to the cadastre and to the bank, then the money will be paid into the escrow account. As soon as the money is in the escrow account, the purchase agreements are submitted to the cadastre office. After 20 days, the cadastre will transfer the ownership right to the property, after which the lawyer will send the money from the escrow account to you.

 

Completion

The property has yet to be officially handed over. And the rewrite of contracts with energy suppliers and cancellation of permanent residences/business addresses, etc., have to be done. Unlike transfer contracts, the handover protocol is a really simple document, where only who took over the property from whom and when is important and it is good to have meter readings written here - this document can be downloaded from anywhere on the internet and customized for your needs. When transferring energy supplier accounts, it is necessary to know to which provider the new owner wants to switch, or whether they want to stay with the existing one. In any case, your current supplier has their own forms for this purpose, which you can obtain from them and you can fill in and send to individual providers when handing over the property. By changing your permanent residence and possibly canceling the registered business address of companies (which you can do earlier, there is no need to wait for the property to be rewritten) the sale of the property is over for you in relation to the buyer. However, you still have obligations to the state! But more about that here.

Previous: Should I sell my property myself or through a real estate agency?

Next: How can you tell when your property broker is thinking more about you than their commission?