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Should I use a real estate agent or do it myself?

The internet has disrupted the property market and there are more options than ever for buyers and sellers alike. So, we ask the critical question -  is it better to find or sell your home yourself? Or should you use an agent? Answering the questions below may help you decide.
 
Have you bought or sold property before?

If yes, you can give private selling/buying a go. If not, an agent will take a lot of the angst out of the process as they know what to expect, what is expected and what can go wrong. They also have a wide range of tools and contacts that private individuals don’t have at their disposal.
 
Do you have a legal background?

There's a lot of legal work involved in the sale or purchase of a property and you'll need some exposure to property law if you want to take this on yourself. Yes, you'll use a conveyancer to get your deal signed and sealed, but you need to know what your legal rights and obligations are, for example with regards FICA and the CPA.
 
Do you have lots of time at your disposal?

On average it takes a lot longer to sell or buy a house yourself. An agent smooths the way and their networks are a significant advantage. Also factor in the cost and time involved in marketing your property or searching for one. An agent will take this on for you as it's included in their mandate. But if you have the fortitude and pockets to do this for yourself, a private sale is an option.
 
Are your work hours flexible?

Are you able to drop everything to meet a buyer or visit a seller at the property in question, at a time that suits them? If not, an estate agent can do this for you and make a buyer assessment on your behalf.
 
Do you love paperwork?

If not, consider carefully the advantages of collaborating with an agent. There is a mound of admin involved in property transactions.
 
Are you sure you have the right resources?

Today, one is able to find a great number of properties and market your own via internet sites like My Property. But are you confident you know how best to present your home or find your dream house? Can you see through the tricks unscrupulous sellers are employing? Are you sure you have a good idea of market value and that you know the value of the home you want to buy/sell?

If you answered ‘No’ to three or more of the above, it would be best to consider mandating a reputable agent.
 
We’re not just talking about sellers here. A buyer’s mandate gives buyers the peace of mind that a property professional is ensuring they experience transparency in the buying process, that they get access to the right properties and that they have an ally in the negotiations..
 
So how do you choose a good estate agent?
 

With close to 100 branches nationwide, Just Property is one of the few national property companies that offers a buyers mandate. So, we spoke to Paul Stevens, the CEO. He advises individuals entering the market to do thorough research when looking for an agent. “Whether you’re buying or selling, go first to the agency’s national website. Evaluate the tools the site offers you – is there a focus on information sharing? Does it offer no-strings-attached, value-added information? Is the technology employed innovative and market leading? Then take a reading of the values the company holds their agents to.”
 
Qualities that are important are a sense of optimism, integrity, excellence and innovation. “You need to be able to trust your agent, so look for an agency that is driven by a strong sense of right and wrong, with a proven track record of success,” Stevens continues. “At Just Property, for example, we strive to constantly add value to people’s lives and view the buying or selling of a home as collaboration and the start of a long association. Our clients should feel like partners in the process.”
 
Essentially that’s the difference between trying to do it all yourself, or appointing an experienced partner who can give you expert guidance at this most important time. With an agent by your side you have a partner working for the best outcome together with you. “It’s not impossible to do it yourself, but I don’t know many people who’ve done it twice! That tells you something,” Stevens concludes.


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