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Selling Your Home Yourself: Part 1 – Where to start

Selling Your Home Yourself - Part 1

Have you ever looked at real estate signs on the side of the road and privately thought, “I could do that”? You could be right. Selling your home yourself has become much easier with the likes of TradeMe and social media, and with some care and information, almost anyone can do it.

The benefits are you save on agent’s fees and some advertising costs, and you can organise open homes for times that suit you rather than the agent. However, there are still costs associated with selling a home plus your time.

So where do you start? The first thing is to take an objective look at your property and decide whether there are any projects you need to undertake before putting your house on the market.

Non Negotiables

Next, get a good lawyer. They will explain the sale process to you, prepare your Sale and Purchase agreement, and most importantly, make sure you’re legally protected during every step of the process. This is one area you can’t make a saving – you must be prepared to spend money on legal advice.

Next, it would be useful to get an independent valuation of your home, which will cost around $500 (depending on the size of your house). This has several benefits. Firstly it will tell you what your home is worth in the current market, which will help you set the price. Secondly, if someone offers an amount drastically lower than your asking price, you can justify your price with reference to your independent valuation. When I was selling, I had a developer offer $30,000 less than the asking price. I told her I had a valuation much closer to the asking price. She paused and said, “Oh, you’re smart.” We were then able to negotiate a higher price.

Another step is to obtain a LIM (Land Information Memorandum). You can get this from your local council and it will cost around $300. This is optional, but it can be to your advantage to make this investment. Being able to present a LIM with no problems on it to potential buyers can increase their confidence in your property. Also, most buyers make the sale conditional on a satisfactory LIM. If you can present it as soon as someone is interested, it eliminates this condition (good for you) and saves interested buyers from having to pay for the LIM (good for them). The council can supply the LIM via email, so you don’t have the cost of printing out dozens of pages; you can simply email it to interested parties.

Once you have all your documents in order, you are ready to move on to the all-important step of grooming your house for sale.


Now you’ve got your paperwork in order, it’s time to market your property. There are various ways you can do this, including newspaper advertisements, online advertisements, a sign outside the house, or fliers on community notice boards and in letterboxes in your neighbourhood.

Investing in a professional photographer to capture high-quality images of your property is a smart decision when trying to sell. Professional photos can significantly enhance the visual appeal of your home, making it stand out in listings and attracting more potential buyers. High-quality images showcase the property’s best features, create a positive first impression, and can even help you achieve a higher selling price. By presenting your property in the best possible light, professional photography can expedite the selling process and make your listing more competitive in the market.

Advertising on TradeMe is probably one of the best options. It has a number of advantages, including the fact you can list multiple photos, write as much as you like about the house’s good points, and it is accessible 24 hours a day. The cost to list your property on TradeMe start from $599 (depending on your properties CV and listing type) for as long as it takes for the property to sell. The listing will expire every month, but you can relist as many times as you like at no charge (for a basic listing).

Property sections in newspapers offer several different types of advertisements, and charges are based on the size of the ad. You should list price, type of house, open home times, your contact details and the address.The advantage of a newspaper is it’s very portable; people can pick up the paper and drive around for the day looking at houses.

Fliers are always a good addition to your marketing strategy, but probably won’t pull in the buyers like TradeMe, newspaper advertising, and a sign outside the house. You never know though – you only need one buyer, and the wider you spread your net, the better.

Know your market

Before you list your house anywhere, think about your market. If your house would be attractive to someone wanting to do a renovation, market it as this. Don’t describe it as a castle if it’s not – you’ll just waste potential buyers’ time. Don’t think that saying your house could use some TLC will decrease your chances of selling; there’s an enormous pool of people good at DIY who want to stamp their personality on a place.

Conversely, if your house is a perfect mansion, play up those features. Let people know what you expect; there’s no point pulling buyers through the door who have a budget $200,000 less than your asking price.

It’s the prerogative of each seller to decide whether or not to list an asking price. When I was looking for a house, I got fed up with ‘POA’ listings. There were lots of houses I simply didn’t go to because finding out whether they were in my price range was just too much trouble. You want to make it easy for buyers, and certainly at the lower end of the market, price is the first thing buyers are looking at.

At the upper end though, people might be more likely to take the time to look through a house without a price indication.

Stay tuned for the next step: when the marketing is done, it’s time to prepare your house for open homes.