I was recently introduced to a guy, let’s call him John, who sold his house himself after just three weeks on the market and, by doing it without an estate agent, saved over €36,000.
“How in the name of %*$@ did he do that?” is the expected response. This is a short piece that will explain just that.
John was selling a house in Glasnevin and wanted in-and-around €368,000. He enlisted the help of an estate agent with whom he had previously sold a house. So far, so good.
The estate agent contacted John saying that he would be showing the property to an interested couple. Great stuff, thinks John. After the viewing, the couple was still interested. They had a surveyor inspect the house and he came back with an estimate of €12,000 worth of work that needed to be done to the house. The estate agent said that the couple had made an offer of €343,000, but wanted the €12,000 worth of work to be factored in, so the offer was in fact €331,000. “But, good news” says the estate agent “I think I can get them up to €335,000.”
John was flummoxed by the labeling of that news as “good”. John realised that the estate agent was being motivated to sell quickly rather than sell for the price he wanted. The difference between the asking price (€368,000) and the offer (€335,000) of €33,000 was huge to John, but the estate agent’s cut of this – at 1.5% – was €495. Maybe not worth another week’s work in the mind of the estate agent.
John didn’t think the estate agent had his best interests at heart so he made the decision: cut the estate agent loose and sell his house himself.
So John took some photos of his house, making sure to emphasise the sizeable garden, and put the ad on Daft. He said that he put a lot of thought into the description of the house in the ad as “this is when people decide to view”.
Almost immediately, John had three interested parties. The first viewing that he did led to an offer, but the offer was too far below what John wanted and the bidder wasn’t willing to budge.
The second viewer, let’s call her Jessica, also made an offer, this time of €340,000. John told Jessica that there was still some distance between her offer and a price that he found acceptable. Jessica came back a few days later with an improved offer of €350,000.
In the mean time, John had shown another couple, let’s call them the Doyles, the house. This viewing resulted in a bid of €355,000. Doing the viewings was obviously John’s specialty.
John told Jessica and the Doyles that there were two bids and that they should both post their absolutely final bid to John’s solicitor; the higher of the two would be accepted.
The Doyles came in with a bid of €360,001 (the cheeky little extra €1 was to give them the edge if Jessica bid €360,000). However, Jessica blasted them out of the water with a bid of €365,000 and so this was the one that John accepted.
John told the Doyles that, although he had accepted Jessica’s bid, the deal isn’t final until the money’s in the bank and that if Jessica pulled out for whatever reason, he would accept their bid of €360,001.
Let’s compare the options that John had:
- To accept what his estate agent was saying, i.e., €335,000 was the best he could get, or
- Sell his house himself.
If he went with (1) he would have received €335,000 from which he would subtract the estate agent’s fee of 1.5% (€5,025) and VAT (€1,055) which would leave him with €328,920.
Choosing (2) he got a much higher price for his property (€365,000) and didn’t have to pay the estate agent’s fee of €6080. Comparing the two outcomes €328,920 vs. €365,000 leaves a difference of €36,080. Using any scale, that is a significant amount of money.
Some lessons to come out of this story:
- Selling your property yourself isn’t as difficult as many people think (John readily admits that he didn’t do anything special or magical);
- It is important to understand the motivations of the estate agent and to make sure that s/he is acting in your best interest;
- Marketing your property correctly is important. John made sure that the description of his house on Daft was accurate, complete, and worded attractively;
- When conducting viewings, highlight the best parts of the property, but also put viewers at ease by being up-front about likely issues. John said that there was a water stain on a downstairs wall in his house. He would always bring people’s attention to it and emphasise that there was no structural damage because, if he had ignored it and the viewers saw it, they might construct their own reason for the stain;
- The above item highlights the fact that the people who own a house are quite frequently the best people to conduct the viewings. They know the area very well. They can comment on the neighbours. They can provide some details on the history of the house, etc.
- Sale Agreed isn’t Sold. John kept in-touch with the Doyles so that he had a Plan B if Jessica changed her mind.
I will just finish by saying “Well done John!” For people like John, The Good Agent offers all of the tools, advice, and support they need to sell (or let) their property themselves. You will be assigned a dedicated case manager who will assist you throughout the process and if you want The Good Agent to do any of the steps for you, then you can simply add on that service. For example, John is obviously quite a savvy negotiator, but not everybody would be comfortable doing this. If you go with The Good Agent you can just add on negotiations to your package. This applies to all of the services that a traditional estate agent provides.
Have a look at this video for more information: click me, I’m a video!