3 Things Private Sellers Wish they Knew (That Estate Agents Do!)

For most homeowners, it makes sense to use the services of a real estate agent to handle the sale of their home. While it’s not easy to find stats on the number of private property sales in South Africa, a small percentage of sellers decide to go the ‘Private Seller’ route, aka For Sale By Owner or FSBO.


The most obvious advantage of FSBO transactions is there’s no agent fee involved in a private sale. On the face of it this can amount to a sizable ‘saving’ of many thousands of rand.

Unfortunately, that’s about as good as it gets. Few other benefits come with selling without an agent. Here are three things that not every private seller knows about FSBO, but that estate agents do:

1. There is a stigma attached to ‘private seller’ transactions
As anyone that’s been to view a private sale as a buyer will know, it can be inhibiting to view someone’s home with them in it. Also, it can be awkward to negotiate with someone who has an emotional involvment in the property, like the seller.

Then there are a few unspoken questions with private sales: why didn’t the seller use an estate agent? Is there something wrong with the house? Has the saving on agents commission already been discounted in the price?

2. Homes for private sale are usually over-priced
Many home owners who decide to put their homes on the market as Private Sellers base their selling price on what they need from the proceeds of the sale. This means if the seller has a large mortgage that must be covered, or if any unrealistic expectations abound, this could have a devastating effect on the marketing of the property.


An overpriced home will languish on the market and potential buyers will wonder why it hasn’t sold. In this way the property becomes stigmatized and eventually, when the home has been on the market for an extended period of time, it sells at a reduced price and often below market value.

3. Private sellers fail to properly screen potential buyers
One of the biggest reasons why private sellers have disappointing results is due to not knowing how to properly screen potential buyers. Many sellers don’t know the difference between a buyer that’s pre-quailified and one that’s pre-approved. There’s a big difference. Knowing the right questions to ask can help filter out un-qualified buyers, and many hours of wasted time and effort.


Then there’s the security aspect of home viewings. Professional estate agents are careful to determine the authenticity of an appointment before bringing strangers to view the sellers home and will confirm names and identity details before the viewing. Professional estate agents tend to walk through the property with visitors rather than leave them unattended.

Frans Theunissen of Fisherhaven Properties launched his estate agency more than 30 years ago and has the experience to help sellers determine the right selling price for their properties. Frans is also skilled at helping sellers identify cost-effective measures to help make their properties more saleable.

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