20 Steps to Sell Your Home Privately

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Sean McCreanor

Managing Director

How to Sell Privately or through an Off-Portal Sale

20 Steps to Sell Your Home Privately

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Before you make the decision to sell your own home, you should consider whether you will be able to do it successfully and whether or not you have the time and energy. These are important steps to selling your house. 

If you are thinking of selling using a buyer & seller matching service such as Property Whispers, we recommend you carefully review the following steps to help you decide whether to sell your own home or seek the assistance of an experienced Real Estate professional.

Affinity Property has helped many clients sell and buy properties ‘Off Portal’, meaning the property doesn’t get advertised on the major real estate portals and is offered privately to registered buyers.  Registering your interest in off portal sales is a great way for Buyers to get first look at a property with limited competition.  It is also a great way for Vendors to save money when they sell.  If you would like to find out more about buying or selling Off Portal Properties, you can Register Here

Now, here are the 20 steps to selling your house…

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Step 1 - Property Market Research

Carefully research recent sale prices of properties similar to yours in your immediate area. Find out what buyers in today’s market would pay to buy your property ‘as is’ without any changes or improvements. Investigate the average days on market for properties to sell, how many properties like yours are for sale and what level of discounting is currently happening against the initial list price.  Research your property’s attributes – what is the market median price for that specific type of property in your suburb? Is your property better than others ? Know lot size, zoning and relevant property disclosure laws. Then establish a realistic price for your property based on that information.

If you need assistance with this step, CLICK HERE to arrange a FREE expert sale price assessment report to see how much your home is worth right now.

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Step 2 - Learn About Current Home Finance Requirements

Educate yourself on current lending institution guidelines and borrowing criteria to understand financing alternatives and restrictions for your prospective buyers. If banks have imposed restrictions on the amount they will finance in specific suburbs or for particular types of properties, it is important you are aware of this at the start of the sales process.

For expert finance advice, contact the team at EverAfter Home Loans.  They have helped hundreds of our clients over many years to secure the best home loans.

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Step 3 - Prepare Checklist of Maintenance & Repairs

Conduct your own mini walk-through inspection. Make note of all the items that need repair or improvement. Your checklist may include:

For a complete checklist, check out our Expert Tips for Selling Your Home at the Best Price

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Step 4 - Complete Repairs & Renovations

Make all necessary repairs and improvements before you begin to advertise your property.  Not all renovations will make you a tidy profit when you come to sell your property. Some projects will cost more than they will ever give you back.

Be careful not to over capitalise. Only complete jobs that will enhance the price and saleability of your property.  To learn more about the best renovations that have maximum impact on buyers, check out our renovation tips.

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Step 5 - Complete Building & Pest Report

Determine if your property is susceptible to termite attack and organise a pest report and/or treatment. Be prepared.

Many property sales fall over due to vendors being unaware there is a building or pest problem.  Having your home inspected for structural and termite damage gives you control over the selling and negotiation process.  If no issues are found, you will have peace of mind.  If there is a problem, you can address it and ensure it is not used as a negotiating chip to drive the price down.

Affinity Property has a register of qualified, reliable, licensed contractors in every building related trade.  If you need assistance with any building, maintenance, pest treatment, renovations, electrical, plumbing, plastering, painting, tiling, roofing, cleaning, landscaping, gardening or other home repairs to help you get your home ready for sale, you can simply log your request here Maintenance Request

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Step 6 - Check Building Compliance

Another of the steps before selling off your house is to be aware of any relevant council zoning or building issues and either rectify the fault or obtain the appropriate certificates from council.

You can check your home’s building compliance by requesting a building search report from your local council. Many council’s now also have on-line services that allow you to check zoning and development codes that apply to your street and local area.

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Step 7 - Prepare Your Buyer's Guide to the Local Area

Many buyers will not know all the great things you’ve learned about living in your local area. Information about local schools, parks, transportation, shopping, restaurants, medical centres, community events, churches, etc. are all important for many buyers. Be available at all times so that you can walk through your property with prospective buyers to answer their questions and offer insights about your local area.
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Step 8 - Prepare a Marketing Budget You Can Afford

Establish a marketing budget and gather quotes for photography, brochures, signboard, social media, website advertising etc.

Affinity Property offers a full Marketing Service to our Private Sale Vendors at a considerable discount to standard retail prices.  For more information call (07) 3293 9100 or email sales@affinityproperty.net.au

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Step 9 - Cleaning, Staging & Styling

As the old saying goes “You only get one chance to make a great first impression”  This is never more true than when selling your home.

Clean, declutter, stage and style your property to prepare your home for sale in a way that will appeal to the highest number of buyers. CLICK HERE for more information about staging and styling your property for sale

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Step 10 - Prepare Your Marketing Plan

More than 95% of property sales in Australia are now generated through digital marketing.  Consequently, it is now more important than ever to have a state of the art digital marketing campaign as part of your strategy when selling your home.

Prepare a plan to reach local buyers plus those out of town buyers who account for a large portion of today’s home purchasers.

Affinity Property offers a full Marketing Service to our Private Sale Vendors at a considerable discount to standard retail prices.  We have industry-leading digital marketing capabilities and generate significant buyer enquiries through social media, direct marketing, SMS marketing and traditional real estate web-portals.  We’ve learned the key to getting your property sold quickly for the best price is to generate the highest demand for your property and ensure it is presented well to the market.  For more information call (07) 3293 9100 or email sales@affinityproperty.net.au

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Step 11 - Launch Your Advertising

One of the most commonly used phrases in marketing real estate is “You can’t sell a secret”

You probably don’t have access to an existing data base of buyers.  Consequently, it is likely you will rely heavily on advertising to generate buyer enquiries. Prepare professional, attention-grabbing advertisements that will attract the right buyers to your property. Place your advertisements on social media, in the newspaper and any other advertising platforms that are effective in your area.

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Step 12 - Install Your 'For Sale By Owner' Sign

Purchase an eye-catching and weatherproof sign and install it at the front of your property.  Your sign should include:

  • Number of bedrooms, bathrooms and car parking
  • ‘Trophy photos’ – showcase the best photos of your property
  • Contact telephone number
  • How the buyer can download/receive a complete property brochure
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Step 13 - Prepare Fast Facts - Why People Should Buy Your Home

Prepare a “feature/benefit fact sheet” outlining specific features of your home and corresponding benefits to prospective purchasers. Also, prepare a list of inclusions that will stay with the property and any other items that may stay by negotiation.

For great ideas on the type of information to include in your fast facts, check out this example SOLD PROPERTY WEB BOOK

The Marketing Service we offer for our Private Sale Vendors includes a custom designed web book for your property.  For more information call (07) 3293 9100 or email sales@affinityproperty.net.au

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Step 14 - Manage Property Inspections

When considering steps to selling your house there are always different types of property buyers in the market.

  1. Active Buyers are looking to buy right now.
  2. Passive Buyers have an interest in buying but may be in the research phase or just looking for their next investment property.
  3. Buyers Agents work with qualified buyers and are often ready to pounce on what they see as a good deal for their clients.


You should schedule and conduct inspections with qualified buyers only. Don’t be afraid to ask a few questions. Ensure they are really looking to buy a home and do not have a hidden agenda. Learn how to separate the “lookers” from qualified buyers. Ask for names and phone numbers and be sure to follow up with telephone calls

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Step 15 - Commence Negotiations with Buyers

A wise truth to always remember when selling your home is: “Marketing and advertising attracts buyers, but negotiation skills sell homes”

Buyers are at different stages in their purchasing process.  Some may be conducting property research, some may be arranging finance and others may be ready to buy right now. 

Be prepared to negotiate with the buyer(s) as though you are an impartial third party. It’s important to remain calm and refrain from any emotional outbursts that might spoil a sale or jeopardise your sale price.

Here’s an example of how not to negotiate

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Step 16 - Prepare Your Legal Documentation

Selling your property is not without its risks.  Every property sale needs a Contract of Sale.  Depending on the type of property being sold and negotiations between the buyer and vendor, other documents may also be required including:
  • body corporate disclosure statement
  • zoning certificate
  • pool compliance certificate
  • notice of neighbourhood dispute
  • drainage diagram
  • certificate of title
  • relevant special conditions
  • relevant disclosures
  • survey report
  • building certificate

For an example of a blank REIQ Contract of Sale for a unit, apartment or townhouse in Queensland CLICK HERE

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Step 17 - Final Contract Negotiation

In most instances a buyer’s first offer is not their last offer.  The first offer is generally a signal of the buyer’s intention to negotiate.  Given this is the start of the process, most buyers will expect the vendor to come back with questions or potentially a counter-offer.

The terms offered by buyers may be simple or complex.  For example, one buyer might offer an unconditional contract $5,000 below the list price with settlement to occur in 28 days.  Another buyer may offer a conditional contract $5,000 above the list price but subject to finance, building & pest inspection, 90 days due diligence and sale of their own home.  Which offer is better?  This may depend on the seller’s circumstances.

Determine the type(s) of financing or contractual terms that you are willing to consider such as:
  • vendor finance
  • option sale
  • extended settlement
  • sale subject to council approval
  • sale subject to building certificate
  • sale on lease back
  • access under licence agreement

Negotiate with the buyer(s) all final terms of the sale including price, financing, building and pest inspections, unconditional date, date of possession and other pertinent considerations. If you are not legally trained, it is recommended you have a solicitor review the contract.

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Step 18 - Pre-Settlement & Settlement Day

In the lead-up to settlement, it is important that all contract conditions are closely monitored. Request written confirmation from the buyer’s solicitor when each condition is met. When all contract conditions have been met the buyer’s solicitor should formally advise the contract is now unconditional.

Until settlement is completed, the vendor is still 100% responsible for the property. Consequently, you need to make sure the property remains insured.

Before settlement, arrange a pre-settlement inspection and have a final walk through with the buyer(s). Buyer’s remorse is real. It is important to be reasonable with any final requests from the buyer. If they are simple and easy to address it’s generally best to respond to the requests to avoid any dispute/s. However, some buyers can be unreasonable. If the contract is unconditional it is not reasonable for a buyer to request significant work be done to the property at the last minute. Have a witness present for the pre-settlement inspection so any matters can be documented and witnessed.

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Step 19 - Co-ordinate Contemporaneous Settlement

While you are marketing your current property, locate and negotiate to purchase your next home. Attempt to schedule both transactions so that they close simultaneously. In this way, you and the buyer are able to move at the same time.

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Step 20 - Request Expert Assistance When You Need It

One of the most important steps to selling off your house is to ask for help when required. 

It is true that you can save many thousands of dollars selling your home privately.  However, a lot of things need to be done to achieve a successful property sale.  Managing the entire process is not for the faint-hearted.

Unexpected obstacles can and do crop up with many property sales.  Consequently, it is important to seek expert assistance when you need it.

Affinity Property offers a professional and comprehensive  Private Sale Vendor service that will save you thousands of dollars when you sell your property.

For more information call (07) 3293 9100 or email sales@affinityproperty.net.au  If you would like to take the first step and have a FREE appraisal of your property CLICK HERE.

Call us now