It's possible to sell your home quickly at a great price – and it could all come down to one thing: how you do it. Here's what you need to know about the different ways to sell.

Sale by auction

How it works

A licensed auctioneer sells your home at a scheduled time, date and place. Before a home auction, the government requires that sellers provide a "Statement of Information" to interested buyers. It outlines a specific selling price, or an indicative selling price within a range of 10%. Your home is "on the market" once it matches your reserve price, and the buyer with the highest bid wins the day.

"By going to auction you have given the property the best chance of obtaining a higher value under competition," says Sally Zelman, Director, Gary Peer Real Estate. It's all about supply and demand. "If your home is passed in, she says, "turn it into a private sale with a realistic asking price."

Why it's right for you

  • It whips up competition, which can drive up bids
  • There's no cooling-off period, so once the hammer comes down and the contract's signed, it's sold (unless you’ve agreed to different terms with the buyer beforehand, like the contract being subject to finance)
  • There's a beginning and end date to the sale process
  • The seller has more control over the process
  • The process is transparent
  • Best for sought-after properties in great locations in a strong seller's market.

Get to know the auction process, and discover handy tips for a winning auction strategy.

Why it isn't right for you

  • A buyer's market could keep competition down, and bids low
  • Auctions generally cost more than private sales to advertise (unless your private sale is on the market for a while), and you'll need to pay the auctioneer
  • You have to sell once your home meets the reserve price
  • A passed-in home creates uncertainty and stress.

Sale by private treaty

How it works

The seller sets a price tag on the home and you or your real estate agent negotiate with interested buyers to match it as closely as possible. It's a flexible process, where offers can be made at any time, in writing or verbally – but only written offers can lead to a binding contract of sale.

Why it's right for you

  • Your home could sell quickly, as anyone can make an immediate offer
  • There's more room – and time – for negotiating the price you want
  • Costs are typically cheaper than an auction, especially if you make a quick sale
  • It's just that – private. You don't have to disclose anything to anyone, especially your final sale price.

Read our tips on how to have a successful private sale.

Why it isn't right for you

  • You need to know the market to ask for a realistic price
  • If there's no immediate offer, your home could be on the market a long time
  • A cooling-off period gives the buyer a chance to back out
  • The contract can be subject to conditions such as the buyer obtaining a loan or a satisfactory building inspection report
  • The pressure's on you to compromise on the price if you can't wait for a sale
  • Open for inspections can be inconvenient and if the house doesn't sell quickly, they will be ongoing.

Expressions of interest

How it works

Expressions of interest (EOI) are used by agents so they don't scare off potential buyers for a property by quoting a price range. Buyers are invited to make offers by a specific time and date during a marketing campaign that can take several weeks. Offers are made in writing, include terms and conditions of settlement and finances, and are strictly confidential. EOI's are used almost exclusively for high end properties.

Why it's right for you

  • The buyer has control over the sale process and price expectation
  • EOIs can provide the competition and speedy bids of an auction, without the actual stress or costs
  • There's a closing date for the tenders
  • Buyers can't compare prices
  • It gives you a good idea of what the market will pay.

Why it isn't right for you

  • A strong marketing campaign, usually four to six weeks, is needed to whip up interest.
  • You could get a lower-than-expected offer range
  • If no acceptable offers are received, the property often gets put back on the market as a private sale.

Fixed fee online platforms

This method employs a real estate agent to sell your home for a fixed fee, typically on a digital platform. The drawcard is that you can pick a local agent near you who has knowledge and expertise in your area. But on the flipside, they won’t be as available or comprehensive as a standard agent.

Fixed-fee real estate agents offer an in-person appraisal of your home, marketing, advise on pricing, as well as additional add-on services. From there, the level of service is up to you, depending on the package you choose.

Why it's right for you

  • Typical fixed fee structure helps you save on commissions. For example, Purplebricks packages start at a $4,500 flat fee
  • Online portals allow instant access to agents in your area, property data, sales information and floor plans
  • You can control the sale process and schedule
  • Like a private sale, offers can be immediate and you could sell fast
  • Multiple listings can create competition.

Why it isn't right for you

  • The flat fee has to be paid, whether or not your home sells
  • There's a lot of heavy lifting on your part, including market research, scheduling open for inspections, negotiating with buyers, and getting across the to-dos of the settlement process
  • The process is largely online, and you don't get to see your agent often
  • Like a private sale, your home could sit on the market for some time.

For sale by owner

In this DIY approach, you sell your home without the help of an agent. There are companies and online portals available to guide you through the process for a fee, which usually includes marketing and advertising material, and market reports.

Why it's right for you

  • The biggest drawcard is the potential to save on costs
  • You control the entire process, including asking price, timing for open homes, negotiations and final sale price
  • Works best if you know the ins and outs of the property market and are confident of your market research.

Why it isn't right for you

  • You have to do everything yourself from start to finish: market research, appointments with buyers, negotiations, and the settlement process (unless you get the add-on services)
  • Unless you're organised, the process can be challenging

Glossary

Auction

An auction is a popular property-selling method where interested parties make offers to buy a property at a specific time and place – usually at the property itself, but sometimes at auction rooms.

The bidder with the highest offer is the successful buyer and must pay a deposit then and there, which is usually 10% of the sale price. All auction sales are final.

Passed in

A property is passed in when it doesn’t sell at auction because the reserve price isn’t met.

Private sale/private treaty

Private sale or private treaty (also known as sale by negotiation) is a selling method where a property is advertised at a set or ballpark price. Interested parties submit offers in writing to the vendor, who accepts the most desirable offer.

Settlement

The process where you finalise selling or buying a property, including handing the keys over to the new owner.


Important information

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. NAB does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of any information in this article which is stated or provided by a third party. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB is not providing any legal, financial or tax advice in this article. You should seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.

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