How To Sell Your House Privately In NZ: The Definitive Guide

Date Feb 14, 2022
Blog category Mortgage
By Staff writer
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Selling your house privately in NZ, or without the help of a real estate agent means you get the full amount of the property. It can save you loads of money as you don’t have to pay commission and other fees to an agent or listing agency. You can also make decisions without going through a third party.

As easy as that sounds, selling your house privately is actually not an easy feat. It can be very daunting as you need to know real estate processes, transactions, and risks, among other legal technicalities. With good research, however, you can sell your house in New Zealand on your own.

1. Make your house presentable

Location, neighbourhood, and availability of services and utilities are just some of the things that buyers look for in a house. However, these factors are out of your control. What you can do, however, is to make your home appealing to potential buyers. Here are some areas you can start:

Declutter and rearrange your belongings

Buyers visualise how their belongings may look in your house. If it’s too cluttered, it may be difficult for buyers to configure your space, driving away potential buyers. Empty your space as much as possible. This also presents a great opportunity to dispose of things you don’t need.

As you’re still likely to live in the house until it’s sold, you may keep your important belongings in one space only. It’s unwise to keep them in your storage room or garage as buyers tend to measure how spacious the areas are.

Don’t forget to declutter your yard or porch too, if you have one. Tidying up also makes it easier to move out when it’s sold. 

Touch up problematic areas

Over time, paint can stain and peel. Your roof, ceiling, and walls can also develop heat and water damage. While these can be easily repaired once the house is sold, some buyers may be turned off from these damages. Before selling your home, you might need to touch it up.

A fresh coat of paint goes a long way in making your home look well-kept and maintained. Remember that buyers want a ‘ready’ home. They don’t want to purchase a home that needs a DIY project here and there. As much as possible, present your home as somewhere that they can move in right away.

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2.  Learn to market your house

Keeping your house clean and ‘ready’ is just the start. You have to make it an appealing choice for buyers. To reach a wider audience, you should know how to market your house, where to advertise it, and how to upsell it.

Photograph your house

In this regard, it's wiser to hire someone to do it. Professional photographers showcase the beauty of the house, add depth to the space, and know how to use proper lighting to highlight the most important points.

Make sure every part of your house is photographed. Include even the areas or parts you may not think of like the foundation walls, ceilings, floorings, sink, toilet, fences, railings, and more. If a potential buyer requests photos of these areas, you won’t have to take potentially deal-breaker photos of your house.

Upsell your house on a home listing website

Pictures alone won’t convince a buyer to purchase your house. Information like the lot area, floor area, ceiling and wall finishes, floorings, and other important details aren’t measurable in photos. That’s why you must describe your house as enticing and detailed as possible.

You can always refer to other descriptions on home listing websites and simply add your own flair to it. Keep it short yet precise. As much as possible, limit it to one to two paragraphs. This way, readers keep engaged with all the relevant details of your home.

Read: Best Real Estate Agencies In New Zealand

Don’t forget offline buyers

These days, most buyers actually search for properties online. However, there are still others who are looking for houses the traditional way. Here are some practical ways you can attract both online and offline buyers.

Offline

  • Put up a ‘For Sale’ sign outside the property. It’s also recommended to leave contact information in case you’re not home.
  • Prepare a brochure or a document, detailing all the relevant information that you’d list if it was on an online listing website.

Online

  • List your house on real estate listing websites in New Zealand. Do note that you may have to pay a fee relative to the cost of your house.
  • Some listing websites don’t allow private selling. It’s best to search for the best possible option for you.

3. Be ready with your legal obligations

Once you’re done with making your house look sellable, it’s time to do all the legal obligations. This is usually taken care of by a real estate agency, but you have to do it all yourself when selling your house privately. 

Prove your identity

Under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (the AML/CFT Act), real estate agents, lawyers, conveyancers, and banks must verify their identity before any transaction. The same law applies to you as the seller.

You can verify your identity through:

  • A valid ID with a clear photo such as a passport, certificate of identity, firearms licence, travel documents, drivers licence, among others
  • Any ID without a portrait such as your birth certificate or certificate of citizenship, supported by any photo identification of yourself
  • An NZ driver's licence, backed by a bank card or IRD letter

Prepare all the necessary documents

Selling your house privately comes with a lot of legal paperwork. This proves your house is legitimate, valid, and authentic. It’s also wiser to print plenty of copies, especially as most buyers request this upfront.

  • Title - Coming from the name itself, the title mentions the ownership of the house and lot. It’s proof that you own the property and have rights over it.
  • Memorandum of Lease -  This outlines the terms and conditions of any lease agreement of your house. The document includes crucial information such as the start and date of the lease term, names, addresses, parties involved, and more.
  • LIM Report - Short for land information memorandum, this elaborates information about the land where the house was built. This discloses potential flooding, soil erosion, earthquakes, and more. An LIM report can be obtained from your local council.

Hire a lawyer

A lawyer or conveyancer needs to confirm your identity to help you with the legal technicalities. The legal processes may differ greatly depending on your circumstances.

At the same time, you may also want to consult them on how to price your house. Property lawyers can help you evaluate the value of your property, according to the location, build quality, materials, future developments in the area, and more.

Drafting the sales and purchase agreement

It’s the last paperwork to prepare. Only a lawyer or conveyancer can issue a sales and purchase agreement. You can work together to draft the agreement, or you can simply find a template online. Either way, you as well as a lawyer needs to sign the agreement for it to be legally binding.

This elaborates terms about deposits, sales, and other key details about your house. Once you and the buyer sign this agreement, you both agree that the house is sold and purchased.

4. Price your house accordingly 

Once you’ve prepared everything up, it’s now time to price your property. When you’re selling your house with the help of a real estate broker, pricing your house will come easier.

Pricing can be really tricky because you have to balance between making a profit and not overselling your house. Fortunately, certain websites help you put a price tag in your house, such as Property Value. Or, you can also look for other ‘for sale’ properties within your area to get a ballpark of how much your house is worth.

Note: Don’t rush to sell your property

Be open to house visits but don’t rush. Entertain potential buyers as much as possible, but be firm with the price you’ve set. In some cases, Kiwis sell their properties under the market price. In some cases both parties have already signed the sales and purchase agreement but there'd be someone who wants to purchase your property for a higher price.

5. Sell it to the right buyer

As mentioned, the house is considered sold once the sales and purchase are signed. While any buyer can be picky with their purchase, you, as the seller and the owner of the house, can also be picky. After all, you want someone to take care of the house just like you did.

Sort out any financial responsibilities

Both the buyer and seller have financial responsibilities with the purchase. Mortgages, debts, taxes, and other obligations should be settled and agreed upon by both parties. This way, there’d be no unnecessary transactions once the new owner moves in.

Regardless of what you purchase or sell, it’s always best to have the right financial tools that cater to your needs. Be it insurance, loans, mortgages, KiwiSaver, deposits, and more, get the best rates and customised quotes, using glimp’s free comparison tool.

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