To use a property agent or sell by yourself? That is a dilemma many home sellers are facing.
Today, we will look at the top 5 frequently asked questions on using a property agent versus for sale by owner.
Q1 - How much money can I save by going FSBO?
According to the Council For Estate Agencies (CEA), there is no fixed commission amount or percentage for property agents.
Whilst the industry standard is 2% of the transacted price, some agents charge as low as 1% and some specialised agents may charge up to 5%. It all depends on the level of service and expertise the agents can offer.
As resale prices keep going up, the 2% commission can be a lot of money. However, if you go FSBO, the money you save may be lesser than you expected.
Without an agent, you would have to market the property yourself and that would mean marketing costs.
Placing ads in the classifieds, both print and online can add up to quite a bit, especially if your unit is on the market for an extended period of time.
For online portals, there are some that allow direct sellers to post listings for sale for free but you will find that your advertisement will be in the back pages and almost unnoticeable.
Then there is the cost of staging and ensuring that your unit is desirable and attractive.
With the current pandemic restrictions, it would be wise to use a 360 virtual video walkthrough to showcase your unit before actual viewings. Most vendors that offer video services charge between $200 to $500 each without voice-over. Some may charge by the size of the unit, so it is best to check with the vendors for their latest prices.
Q2 - Do I have the expertise and know-how?
Selling a property is not guesswork, neither is it rocket science.
However, you do need to have access to relevant information if you want to price the property reasonably and transact fast.
Price your unit too high and it will remain unsold for a very very long time, price it too low and you short change yourself.
Many agents subscribed to property portals that give them the latest transaction prices and some agents even have tools that can generate a reasonable selling price based on recent transaction data and computer-generated appraisal of the unit.
However, for the public, you can access resale transaction prices of the past 2 years via the HDB resale portal to check transacted prices within 200m of any HDB block, and the data is updated on a daily basis.
Q3 - How complicated is the selling process?
Selling or buying an HDB resale flat can be a little bit intimidating especially if you are a first-timer.
There are certain criteria that you have to meet such as Minimum Occupation Period (MOP), Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) etc. Then there are forms to submit and inspection for unauthorised renovation works by HDB officers before handover.
For first-timers, all these can be quite daunting.
Q4 - How fast can I sell the property?
HDB resale property is a hot item right now. Prices have gone up 14 straight months as well as the number of transactions.
The main reason for this is the delay in the completion of BTO flats.
Many resale flats are sold within weeks and sometimes, days after it is listed for sale.
Property agents have their own network of clients and co-broke agents and that makes it easier for them to transact faster.
If you are a direct seller, think of the time you will need to stage the unit, market it, conduct viewings, negotiate and finally close the deal.
It may take more than a few months, especially when the pandemic has stabilized and foreign construction workers can enter Singapore and quicken the completion of BTOflats.
Q5 - Can I afford the time?
Selling a property is a full-time job, that is why there are more than 30,000 licenced agents in Singapore and also the reason we pay them a commission.
An agent’s job is more than just selling your property. They have to market it, stage it, provide advice on pricing, arrange virtual tours and property valuations, arrange and conduct viewings, negotiate and close the deal and handle the paperwork.
That’s quite a handful of things to be done for a direct seller, especially if you are a working person.
Imagine being stuck in a meeting with your boss and your phone keeps ringing from potential buyers or after a long hard day in the office and you have to rush home to prepare for a viewing.
Most buyers are also working people and more often than not, can only view properties at night or on weekends. So, you too have to keep your evenings and weekends available for this purpose.
Before all that, think of the time you will need to be available when you are staging your unit, be present when the videographer comes to film the virtual tour, do research on pricing the unit, placing ads on the various platforms and answering enquiries.
If you are considering selling your home and you are sure if you want to sell it by yourself or engage the services of a property agent, these 5 FAQs should help you decide. Good luck!
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