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The Art Of Selling Homes

With the help of a boutique coaching industry more investors are saying goodbye to real estate agents and embracing private sales themselves, writes Joanna Mathers.

By: Joanna Mathers

31 July 2023

Selling houses is an esoteric art. The process is complex and may seem best left to experts. But more homeowners and investors are bucking the trend and saying goodbye to real estate agents and embracing private sales.

Now, a boutique industry has sprung up around them, aimed at helping those who go it alone to gain the skills and resources they need to succeed.

The most compelling reason for selling a home yourself is the money you save. Agents usually charge between 2.5-3.5 per cent commission on sales, with advertising and marketing fees additional.

That’s a hefty chunk to carve off the sale price, but there are other benefits to selling privately. You have complete control of the sales and negotiation process and, as an owner, insider knowledge of your home: no-one knows it, and the area you live in, better than you.

There are crucial facts you need to establish before you start the sales process. Buyers will need to be made aware of any issues that could affect the property’s value or legal status such as unconsented alterations, boundary conflicts or potential developments nearby. If these aren’t disclosed from the outset it can lead to a failed sale or, in the worst case, legal action against you, the seller.

Outside of this consideration, there are many decisions to be made around various aspects of the sale. The price expectation is a good starting point. It’s important to understand the market and be realistic about the price you aim for. A valuation can be pricey (expect to pay up to $1,000), but it provides an excellent baseline from which to establish a price.

Selling homes privately can save you money and put you in charge of the entire process.

Sale Method

You will also need to decide on the method of sale. Deadline sales and negotiation are popular and the easiest options for private sellers. Auctions are also possible, but you will need to use a private auctioneer and arrange a venue if you decide to go down this path.

You will need to choose a lawyer to help with sales and purchase agreement; gain a copy of the house title; order a land information memorandum (LIM) report from council; and have these available for buyers to view.

And then there’s the marketing and advertising. You will need street signs, internet advertising … whatever it takes to get your home noticed.

A property coach can talk you through the process for a fee.

Gap In Market

Garry Bond has been helping private sellers market their properties for many years.

His journey began when he was looking to sell his own house in 1999 but couldn’t find any information about it. After extensive research, he realised there was a gap in the market, so decided to write a book. Selling a Home Privately in New Zealand was self-published, but picked up by major retailers. Still in print it’s a simple step-by-step guide to selling a house yourself.

Bond’s book came out when newspaper advertisements were the primary means of marketing homes. But with the rise of the internet, Bond’s business model changed.

His company, DIY Real Estate, now provides an online platform for buying and selling, alongside real estate products and signs. And now his book can be ordered online.

Bond says there is a common misconception that you should knock off money from the house’s price when selling privately – the money you’d save from not using a real estate agent. This is something he disagrees with.

“A house is worth what it’s worth. Sellers need to let the market decide.”

And he feels that given the right support, selling privately is a legitimate alternative to real estate agents.

Street signs and internet marketing will get your home noticed.

Helping Out

Andrew Thiele (aka The Property Coach) also helps private sellers with the process of selling homes.

After 30 years he left the real estate industry and was looking for a new opportunity when a friend asked him to help sell her house.

He took photographs, helped her arrange open homes, and coached her through the process. She ended up selling the house for a great price.

“She said to me ‘I would have paid an agent $30,000 for this,’” he says. “And she suggested that I think about coaching private sellers professionally.”

Thiele was interested but felt he might run foul of the Real Estate Agents Act, but he discovered this only applies to people acting as intermediary between buyer and seller. Working alongside the seller in a coaching capacity didn’t sit within the purview of the act.

Suddenly, Thiele had a new career.

For a fee just shy of $5,000, Thiele advises clients on every aspect of the sales process.

“I inspect the house, advise on home presentation, help to get documents together, help determine modes of sale – whatever the client needs.”

His service ends when the sale is finalised, and he has the same seven-day availability as an agent.

Private sale by auction will need a venue and auctioneer.


Thiele agrees there is a misconception that you need special training to sell a house. Real estate agents acting on behalf of a seller do need training, but homeowners wanting to sell their own homes don’t have the same restrictions.

Offers and counter-offers can be emailed between seller and buyer; open homes arranged and hosted; signs purchased and erected – all privately. Lawyers are needed for the sales and purchase agreements, but this is the case whether you use an agent or sell privately. The rest of the process can be undertaken by sellers.

“People use agents because it’s what’s always been done, and people often don’t realise there is an alternative,” says Thiele.

For more information on selling privately, visit settled.govt.nz


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