Blog: Adventures in 'for sale by owner'



Hi again…

Well my property has now been on the market for 3 weeks. I am handling all the open house inspections myself which has been very interesting to say the least.

I have also had an endless array of Real Estate agents approach me to take over the deal because they feel that they can do a better job. All said and done I can see that an incredible amount of their leads really come straight off the net and through sites such as Real and Domain. The rest is a matter of open house and dealing with people and their expectations.

I present the property every morning as if it was about to be inspected which keeps me very busy, but the place is always immaculate. The general public or the average punter always wants more for less and sometimes their expectations are unrealistic and then it is up to you to very politely try and educate them (if that isn’t trying to push you know what uphill).

Imagination is limited and hence why you need to be prepared to supply for them. I present street maps with all amenities located (restaurants, cafes, shops, transport etc) on it. I also explain how it can be expanded and even possible property scenarios for increasing their investment. It’s a case of listening to objections and not getting emotional about it all and to present solutions.

I really look for the person that just tells me they hate it and are not interested which is OK because I can then move onto the next person that is playing with ideas in their head.

At present it is tough (boy is it tough). I am competing against some very cheap properties in outer suburbs (more bang for their buck) and although I am much closer to the CBD at this particular time that is not the crucial thing that will swing a sale.

My place is small so I have to show them how that is an advantage and how they can create more room if they need it. I know if I dropped it by $20k it would walk out the door but I am not prepared to do that. Worse case I will rent it out by the room and renegotiate my loan to interest only which will then totally cover my mortgage but that’s my fallback position.

That’s something else you must have, a fallback position. What if it doesn’t sell or you can’t get what it’s worth then what? You must know all the if’s, buts’ and maybes. I have walked through everything with a number of experts in finance, investments and with property experts to know and understand what I can quickly do should it sell or if it doesn’t.

My current strategy is to keep my open house inspections going till December and if not sold then I will redevelop the garage into an additional large living area (less than a $2k project) and give it a refresh and place it back on the market with new photos in February (when the market usually fires back up again). Fall back after that would be to rent it out by the room and go to an interest only loan which will hold the property at no cost to me. Then sell when the market picks up a little more.

Some key points in summary are:

·         Photos, photos, photos are so important when listing your property as most people judge it from the comfort of their own home via your photos on the website.

·         A really good write up or advertisement is critical. I let my agent partner write the ad which was the usual agent spiel and so boring and told nothing of what you could do to try and at least entice them to come and have a look.

·         Presenting your property is also super critical, neat, and tidy and makes it look bigger so remove clutter etc.

·         Open house inspections need only be for 30 mins on weekends with a number to arrange private inspections. I tried everything and believe me long inspection times do nothing as all your traffic comes through the house within the first 30 mins. After 30 mins you just sit there and stare at the wall. Inspection times are best in the morning so people can arrange their days. I asked everyone that came through and tried different times and always found a morning time somewhere between 10am and 11am to work the best.

Till my next instalment….

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Recently divorced and just about 15 years from what he had thought would be his retirement age, Kevin is afraid he won’t be ready. But he’s now doing something about it, and aiming to use his passion for property to help him get back on track. He is starting from zero after giving up the two investment properties he had bought with his ex-wife, but he has big plans ahead as he strikes out on his own.

Top Suburbs : hebersham , tweed heads south , emerald , marrickville , freshwater

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  • Lisa H says on 08/11/2012 03:18:26 PM

    With and Domain being the main websites that property buyers look at, yet these sites being restricted to real estate agents, would you please advise where you advertise your property?

  • Kevin says on 12/11/2012 11:10:39 AM

    Hi Lisa,
    you are quite correct, if you are not listed on either or Domain then it's an uphill battle to sell your property. I just negotiated with real estates to partner them in selling my property. It took me a little while to find a Real Estate business willing to enter into the arragements but in the end I found someone. The deal is a 60/40 split where they get the 60% of standard REIQ commission. That's a 40% saving for me!
    I worked out a business plan in which I listed all the duties of selling a property (like photos, open house, follow up on leads etc) and assigned the tasks out so that I picked up a lot of their work. It hasn't been easy but in the end it will be well worth the savings!...

  • Arby says on 15/11/2012 12:50:02 AM

    Stick with it - I sold my own property and was never sorry! It can take a lot longer than you think, but you will find the right buyer... just depends how long you can wait!

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