Selling Real Estate in the ACT
Everything you need to know about selling property in the ACT.
From what a conveyancer will do for you to finalising and exchanging contracts of sale, here is your guide to selling ACT real estate.
Selling property in the ACT is a huge undertaking and it is a good idea to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible, before going through with the process. Understanding the ACT sale process in full can help you work out an ideal way to maximise profits and reduce stress. With this in mind, let's run through the entire process so you know how to approach it.
Choosing an agent in the ACT
A real estate agent is a licensed professional that can act on your behalf during the ACT selling process. They can take charge of marketing, work out a sale price, and negotiate your terms. However, you should make sure you work with a real estate agent that suits your own needs. Think about asking the following questions before you sign on with one:
- What are their fees and charges? How are they paid and what services will these costs include? Are the costs negotiable?
- Are they licensed? Do they have a code of ethics?
- How much experience do they have selling ACT property in your part of the territory?
- Have they sold property like yours before? Can they provide examples?
- What is their estimated sale price for your home and can they back this up with evidence?
- Do they have references you can look up?
- How will they sell the property?
- What is their marketing strategy?
- Are there any advertising costs that are not included in their initial price?
- What are the terms and conditions they want in the agency agreement?
You can even ask the agent to give you a written proposal of how they would sell your ACT property. The agent that gives you the highest price is not always going to be the one that can sell your home.
Once you have done your research and found an agent you want to sell your home, you sign a legally binding sales agreement that outlines every detail of the process, from your name to how long they have to sell to the exact listing price. If you want to find out more, LJ Hooker has agents right across the ACT that are ready to help.
Methods of selling ACT property
When you decide to sell property in the ACT, there are usually three main processes that an agent might recommend:
This is an ongoing process where buyers make offers based on your listed price, and your agent negotiates with them until a price that satisfies both parties is reached. This sale can be subject to conditions like building and pest inspections, and the buyer gets a cooling-off period of five business days in which they can pull out of the sale.
This is a one-off bidding competition for your home. You set a reserve price and an auctioneer (often your agent, if they are qualified) handles the bidding. If bids go over reserve, the highest offer will win your home. This has no cooling-off period and is unconditional - once a home passes reserve, it will be sold.
It is crucial that you speak to your real estate agent to ensure a realistic reserve price is set.
No price is listed in the tender process: rather, buyers make blind offers accompanied by a deposit (usually 10 per cent of the offered amount). Your agent takes these on board and you can accept or reject them as you see fit - you do not have to accept any. There is also no cooling-off period here.
It can be difficult to work out what the best way of selling your ACT property is - this is why the help of your local LJ Hooker real estate agent can be very useful.
Marketing your ACT property
To maximise the reach of your ACT property sale, a good advertising campaign is required. This should spread across multiple platforms to reach as many people as possible and will likely include the following:
The Canberra Times
is the main newspaper for the ACT and has a Monday-Friday readership of 91,000 and Saturday readership of 91,000. This can be used alongside local newspapers, real estate agency mailers and even physical signs in the window of the agency office to reach people in search of real estate.
The internet is a fast and efficient way of maximising your property exposure. For example, the Canberra Times' total readership including online is 645,000. Use this along with realestate.com.au
for a wide level of promotion.
You may also wish to use television and radio, but it can be costly. No matter what the strategy is, using professional photography and video is recommended - your LJ Hooker agent can sort this out.
Contracts of sale in the ACT
A contract of sale is drawn up before you start selling your property - usually by a solicitor or conveyancer. This is the document that will be copied, signed and exchanged between you and a buyer - but more on that later. This comes under the Civil Law (Sale of Residential Property) Act 2003
and will include the particulars of the property, the buyer, yourself and any agents, conveyancers and solicitors involved in the process.
The ACT Environment and Planning Directorate
has a full list of documents you need to gather, but a legal professional can do this for you. As an overview, it should include:
- The Crown Lease, which details the use of the land and property;
- The Certificate of Title and any relevant encumbrances;
- Any relevant asbestos details;
- A Lease Conveyancing and Building Conveyancing inquiry;
- Building and inspection reports;
- Relevant body corporate minutes and notes from the last two years; and
- An energy efficiency statement.
For further questions, you can get in touch with a solicitor or an LJ Hooker real estate agent.
The costs of selling ACT property
Obviously, this is an extensive process and with this comes many costs that you need to be aware of. When selling ACT property, this can include:
- Getting an energy efficiency assessor, lease conveyancing, building conveyancing and pest reports (up to $1,000);
- Agent commission - this is detailed in your agency agreement
- Marketing fees and any reimbursement of your agent for extra costs (negotiable at outset);
- Moving costs ($500 to $3,500);
- Auctioneer fees (up to $1,000);
- Solicitor or conveyancer fees (around $1,500);
- Extra advertising costs can be up to $1,500;
- Paying off the balance of your home;
- Setting up a new home loan or changing insurance policies; and
- Rates and taxes on the property until settlement date.
Nobody likes to face up to hidden costs, so stay in touch with your local LJ Hooker real estate agent to get the full picture on the costs of selling ACT real estate.
Settlement of ACT property
Once the paperwork on your end is settled and you find willing buyers, the negotiations, exchange and settlement can occur. This process will be slightly different depending on how you sell your ACT real estate.
If you want to approve an offer, tell your agent. Contracts of sale are then copied, signed and exchanged, while a deposit on the home is provided by the buyer to sit in a trust account until settlement. At this point, the transaction becomes legally binding - although the cooling-off period will still be in place for five business days.
Settlement itself takes 30-90 days, during which inspections can take place, paperwork is finalised and you can prepare to move. The balance of the price is paid, title is transferred and everyone moves in and out of the home on the settlement date outlined in the contracts.
With no conditions and no cooling-off, the exchange of contracts and deposit occurs on the auction day if it passes reserve, with the settlement period beginning almost immediately. Remember - you are still responsible for council rates up until the final settlement date.
Settlement is mainly a process between the legal and financial representatives of you and the buyer, but it is nonetheless crucial to understand what is going on. Once this is complete, congratulations - you have successfully sold your ACT property!
For any further questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with your local LJ Hooker agent.