ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SELLING PROPERTY IN SOUTH AFRICA
Selling a home in South Africa is not as easy as it may sound. For property sellers, especially those doing it for the first time, selling simply means listing the property on relevant advertising platforms and transacting with prospective buyers. On the contrary, selling actually involves a tedious process of prepping the property, listing it, liaising, and possibly negotiating with a countless number of interested buyers, as well as working through the relevant paperwork and legal steps of transferring a property.
Here’s a quick and easy guide on how to sell property in South Africa:
1. Decide what route you’ll be taking to sell
Before setting out to sell your property, decide what avenue you’ll take to sell it. You have the option of enlisting a real estate agent or selling privately. Although both options have their advantages and disadvantages, it’s important to note that the value of an estate agent can’t be downplayed, as discussed further in this article.
Selling your home privately puts you in control of the selling process. This means you’ll be able to choose when people get to view your property. Added to this, you’ll be able to provide credible knowledge about the home and area since you’ve likely been living there for a while or have lived there previously, which potential homebuyers will find quite useful. An added benefit of selling privately is that you won’t have to pay anyone commission, so it’s more cost-effective to sell privately.
Should you wish to sell privately, remember that you need to have good communication and negotiation skills to do so effectively. You will also have to aggressively market your home yourself, so factor this into your costs as well.
The disadvantages of selling privately include the fact that it is time-consuming. You have to dedicate yourself to the entire process, which can distract you from your other endeavors and cause stress. Furthermore, you most likely don’t have the expertise and experience that a well-seasoned real estate agent has, so you may make mistakes that can cost you down the line. Marketing your home on your own, screening potential buyers, answering queries, and staging a home sale could also prove difficult, as will the lack of advice from a real estate agent regarding the legalities and administration you have to be privy to as a home seller.
Selling through an estate agent
Selling through an agent presents a myriad of benefits. For starters, you don’t have to worry about marketing your home, staging a home sale, or preparing the legal documents required for a home sale. You can rest assured that the biggest financial investment you own will be handled with care by a property professional. Even though nobody likes parting with money, it’s certainly worth paying the commission to receive the guidance and value that an agent provides.
Selling through an agent involves finding the best real estate agent for the job. Before enlisting an agent, you have to interview at least 3 different people. And while it’s okay to receive recommendations from friends and family, that doesn’t take away any responsibility you have to thoroughly vet the agent.
Once you’ve found someone that’s a great match and is knowledgeable about your local real estate industry, the agent will ask you to sign an agreement detailing the legalities involved, including how much commission they will receive.
2. Choose a selling price for your property
Listing and marketing your property isn’t enough — it also has to be listed at the correct price. An overpriced property can deter people from showing any interest in your property.
Determining a price for your property entails having knowledge about specific areas, as well as market conditions and insight into what the typical buyer wants. If you’re selling through an estate agent, they’ll know the average selling price of a property like yours in your area. They’ll be able to use their expertise to set a fair and competitive selling price that reflects the current market value of your home. This will increases the chances of a speedy sale, preventing your home from remaining on the market for too long, which can also be a deterrent to many buyers.
If you’re selling privately, you’ll have to do this on your own. This will require a lot of research, as, unlike an estate agent, you won’t have the knowledge needed to set a fair selling price. When selling privately, remember not to get too attached to your property. It’s not about what you think about your home’s worth, but it’s about the market value and what potential buyers will be willing to pay for it.
3. Prepare your home for sale
Preparing your home for sale involves fixing any issues that your home may have. You may think a potential homebuyer won’t notice that crack on the wall, but little things can actually turn people off from potentially buying your home.
By making the necessary repairs and renovations, you also help speed up the process of selling your home as it reduces the amount of back and forth that can be caused by a home inspector identifying key issues with your property.
4. Choose a reputable conveyancer in your area
A conveyancer is an attorney that will help you with the legalities of selling your home. This point is particularly important when selling privately. They will help with the transferring of ownership from you to the buyer without any legal bumps and delays.
5. Market your home extensively
You need to market your home as much as possible to attract as many interested buyers as possible. This is a cost that must be factored in when selling privately.
If you have an agent assisting you with selling your home, they’ll likely factor in the advertising costs (i.e. property portals with paid extra features, paid social media marketing, agent boards, etc.) in their commission, which will expose your property to their network of potential buyers.
6. Home stage your property
The next step you need to take is to stage your home. You will have to declutter and depersonalize your space in order to make it appealing to people with broad tastes. It’s recommended that you make your home as minimalistic as possible and put away any photographs so that potential homebuyers can picture themselves living in your home.
If you’re selling privately, you’ll have to be home when hosting your home stage, so that you can show people around and answer any questions. If you don’t live in the property you’re selling, arranging for the tenants to be away while you show the home is important. If an agent is helping you sell, it’s likely that they’ll ask you to not be around for that duration.
If you’re unsure of where to start with your home stage, you can hire a professional home stager if your budget allows. Remember to also take safety precautions during home staging. Put away any valuables and personal information, and be vigilant of any suspicious characters.
7. Finalise the sales agreement and close the deal
You’re almost at the finish line! To move forward, you’ll have to receive an Offer to Purchase from an interested party. Once it is signed by both the buyer and the seller, it becomes a legally binding sales agreement that includes the purchase price, a detailed description of the property, the date of occupation, occupational rent (if applicable), special conditions of purchase, and other important information.
It’s the conveyancer’s duty to take the sales agreement and draw up the necessary paperwork for transferring the title deed from your name to the buyer’s. Please note that it may take a few months for the process to be finalized, after which you will receive the money (and your agent receives a commission if you enlisted one).
The above points describe the process of selling property privately and through an agent in South Africa.