Finding an estate agent to sell your property ranks in the top tier for many property owners on the ‘tiresome-task’ list as listing and negotiating a property transaction can often mean you’re on the radar of many an eager salesperson. Using an agent to assist along the way has its merits, however, PJ Veldhuizen, of specialist property law firm Gillan and Veldhuizen Inc. says that selling your house yourself can be a hassle-free and financially viable option…if you follow a sequenced checklist.

Find an attorney first

“First step, says Veldhuizen, is to find yourself a competent property attorney who will listen to your sale agreement requirements and draw up an appropriate water-tight contract. He goes on to say that it’s unfortunate that the property industry is littered with cut-and-paste, and often inefficient property agreements of sale, citing that his firm has seen many a botched property transaction end up unnecessarily in costly litigation. “Before you put your property on the market, he continued, whether you have enlisted an agent or not, find an attorney and have the agreement template with all considerations in place, ready to be completed by both parties and signed.”

Micarle van Heerden, who specialises in such litigation at the firm says that many sellers are reluctant to see an attorney first, thinking that the fees will be too costly. “However, a consultation fee upfront will give you the confidence to sell your property without requiring an estate agent and parting with anything between 3 and 8 percent of the total selling price as commission or fees,”  says van Heerden.

Get a valuation

You would have set yourself limits as to timing, specifically how much time you will allow yourself to fly solo and stick to it. Successfully flying solo will first mean obtaining an accurate valuation of your property.  There are a few property practitioners who offer no-obligation valuation services, but make sure you don’t commit yourself to any unnecessary obligations. Rather pay a minimal fee for a valuation than opt for a free service that materialises into a strings-attached scenario. Property 24, as an example offers an online valuation service, based on researched data in your neighbourhood, at a minimal cost.

Get your COC compliance certificates upfront

Any successful property sale requires electrical, plumbing, beetle and gas compliance certificates. Veldhuizen offers valuable advice here, suggesting that before you embark on selling your property, recruit the services of the abovementioned compliance officers and request they inspect and issue the certificates as a matter of course. “It has been reported, he cautions, that these service providers realise the success of a sale relies on the Certificate of Compliance (COC), and incorporate all sorts of unnecessary costs into issuing such certificates. Get your certificate upfront and make sure that they are valid for the prescribed 6 months.”

List your property online

Most online property portals have very effective packages available to private sellers who want to list their properties online. For a minimal fee, (between R240 and R4100 on our quick search), some, such as Property 24 will provide a professional photographer and prepare a video reel for your listing. Don’t discount listing on places such as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree, but be selective, submit a comprehensive listing, and use filters wherever available. Make sure you have a set of good photographs and where possible use video too.

Screen your potential buyers

Ask for names, surnames and identity numbers before engaging with potential buyers. Carolyn Savage, General Manager at IOL Property, a company which offers private sellers an opportunity to list their properties online says that it is fast becoming a standard requirement for buyers to provide proof of identification when viewing a property to safeguard the seller against criminal activity. Savage adds, “It is also becoming popular for buyers to produce their pre-qualification certificates for affordability and finance when arranging a viewing as this saves time and speeds up the process for both buyer and seller.”

Although selling your property privately is not for everyone, those that are successful achieve significant financial savings. Bottom line is that if the process is administered by experienced attorneys, fewer delays are felt and the success rate of selling your property for its best value is vastly higher.