Can you save money by selling your own property?
In Canada about 20% of home owners sell their own properties without paying commission to a real estate agent, but in Australia only about 2% of home sales are commission free, says Mark Korda, co-founder of KordaMentha.
His company is investing in buyMyplace.com.au. Korda says the online business, which is due to list on the ASX in March, is well positioned to drive digital disruption to the traditional real estate agent model.
Sellers who want to save big bucks or have a lack of faith in agents, or the internet generation who do everything online, are the driving forces behind the disruption of the $6 billion home sales industry.
There are now several providers, including hello.com.au and propertynow.com.au, specially set up to enable vendors to sell their own properties at a considerable discount to paying agents' commission.
Make no mistake, the increasing ability of the internet to match buyers with sellers means the established practice of real estate agents charging hefty commissions for what often seems little effort is under threat.
Most real estate advertising is now online and 86% of potential buyers use online as their main tool to search for property, according to the buyMyplace website. And this has led to the evolution of commission-free real estate sales platforms.
All this means selling our own property, with a little help from the internet, has never been easier.
BuyMyplace suits those who want basic help, with the option of extra services. For $650 it will list your property on its website and six others, including the two big guns, realestate.com.au and domain.com.au.
Sellers also get a selling board and four hours of support with property experts. You can pay extra for things such as professional photos, negotiation, auction services and conveyancing. Chief executive Paul Heath says sellers save $15,000 on an average home sale.
According to buyMyplace, it's a myth that you need a lot of time to sell your own home, saying on average its vendors spend less than 14 hours doing it.
Another myth is that an agent who has never lived in your property can do better job selling it than you. Neil Jenman, a consumer advocate, says we have been conditioned to believe that buying or selling real estate is difficult. "For years we have been told we need agents.
But in most cases that is not true," he says.
If you have an expensive property, the one-size-fits-all Hello Real Estate is worth investigating.
For a flat fee of $9900 you say "goodbye to traditional agents and hello to personal mentors", according to the Hello website. Services such as independent valuations, styling and photo shoots, digital advertisements, colour brochures and a signboard are all included.
Selling a home for $1.5 million using a traditional agent would cost $30,000 in commission based on a 2% rate. With Hello you would save over $20,000 on the transaction. But if your sale price is $500,000, commission would only be $10,000 and the savings negligible. Of course, many agents also charge a marketing fee as well commission.
Propertynow.com.au describes its service as a hybrid between traditional real estate and private selling, labelled "agent assisted sales".
Its core service costs $499 and includes standard listings on several websites, including realestate.com.au (listing on Domain is an extra), a for-sale sign, printable brochures, support and advice, instant forwarding of email inquiries and a guide to selling.
Even if you decide to use an agent there are several sites, including agentselect.com.au and agentscompare.com.au, to help you pick the right one. These sites enable you to register your property online and receive competitive selling quotes from local agents. They are free to vendors.