Selling Real Estate in Western Australia
Guide to selling real estate in Western Australia
Are you considering selling your WA property? Check out our guide here and ensure you make the most of your real estate sale.
People like to talk about the property market of Australia as though it is one amorphous mass. But the truth is, no matter where you go in the country, you are bound to encounter unique laws, costs, rules and processes. It's no different when it comes to selling real estate in WA.
Whether you're moving elsewhere in Australia, downsizing after retirement or just fancy getting yourself a real estate upgrade, here is our guide on how to sell a property in Western Australia.
Choosing an agent to sell WA property
The real estate agent you choose to sell your WA property is contractually obliged to work ethically and professionally to find you an excellent price, but the right agent search needs to go a bit deeper than this. LJ Hooker's agents are experienced professionals that understand how to get people what they need and are happy to help. But to start with, here are some questions to ask an agent before you sign on with them:
- What is their commission and fees and how are they paid?
- Are they properly licensed?
- How well do they know the local market? What is their sales record in your area?
- Do they have any references from previous sales?
- How much do they estimate the sale price at? How did they reach this figure?
- How will they sell your WA property? Have they sold this type of home before?
- What are the advertising costs and the exact services this will provide?
- Can they provide written quotes?
It is important to ask all the right questions and not just fall for the highest selling price listed by an agent. Take into account the full spectrum of services they will provide. If you are satisfied with an agent, you can then give them written authority to represent you. This document should include:
- The method of sale
- All details on commission, fees and expenses and when these are payable
- How long the agent has to complete the sale
- The estimated selling price
For more information, the WA Department of Commerce is an excellent resource. You can also get in touch with one of LJ Hooker's numerous local offices and ask anything you need of our team.
Methods of sale for WA property
The next step is talking through the sale process with your LJ Hooker real estate agent - how will the home be sold and what are the risks and benefits? There are generally three main ways to sell WA property:
Your real estate agent will negotiate with potential buyers to arrive at a price close to your listed sale figure. You can reject or accept offers as you see fit. The contract of sale at private treaty can be conditional and dependent on certain building and pest inspections providing an adequate result for the buyer. The law in Western Australia does not necessitate a cooling-off period, so if you wish to include one of these it should be specified.
Auctions are a single event, with a marketing campaign building towards it. You set a reserve price (it is recommended to do this with your real estate agent) and buyers register to bid on the auction day. If bids pass the reserve, then the highest bidder will pay a 10 per cent deposit and begin the exchange and settlement process immediately.
A licensed auctioneer will oversee this method of selling WA property alongside your agent.
This is a process wherein you open your home to offers before a set date, without a specified price level. Offers (tenders) come in with a deposit of 5 or 10 per cent of their offered price and your agent delivers them to you.
You then accept or reject them as you see fit. You do not have to accept any of the offers.
While private treaty sales tend to dominate the WA property market, you may find one of the others holds key benefits. The Real Estate Institute of WA (REIWA) has more information, and an LJ Hooker real estate agent can give you specific advice on which method might work best for your home and the local market.
Marketing your property in Western Australia
One of the key elements of a successful WA property sale is the marketing. Your real estate agent can advise you on the best way to market your home, but there are generally two main methods:
The West Australian is the biggest newspaper in the state, with a weekday readership of about 150,000 and a Saturday readership of about 250,000. In fact, it is the second-most read print newspaper in the country for Saturdays. This kind of exposure, coupled with local magazines and newspapers, can see your property generate significant interest.
Across all platforms, the West Australian has 1.7 million readers every month. The internet provides an excellent platform for advertising your home, especially between sites like domain.com.au, realestate.com.au, and ljhooker.com.au.
However, this is a significantly more crowded market. As such, it is vital to lift your home above the crowd with professional photography and even video tours. These can generate interest that simpler advertising campaigns might not. Speak to your LJ Hooker real estate agent about how to make this happen and if it would improve your home's exposure.
Contracts of sale in Western Australia
In Western Australia, the negotiations are often called the offer and acceptance process. When a buyer makes an offer on your property for sale, it is accompanied by two primary documents: the Contract for Sale of Land or Strata Title by Offer and Acceptance form (O&A) and the Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land (General Conditions).
The WA Government points out that the most widely used version of the O&A form is managed by REIWA, which co-owns the most popular General Conditions form with the Law Society of WA. These are both good sources for more information on the documents, which are drawn up by the buyer.
If you accept and sign the O&A, it becomes the contract of sale. Using a solicitor or conveyancer to go over these documents is highly recommended.
Sales by auction do not have conditions attached to them, while sales by private treaty often do - such as property or pest inspections. This is included in the O&A. This is why it can be a good idea to get a property inspection done yourself before putting your property on the market - this way, you can fix problems before they are pointed out by buyers and lose a potential sale.
Costs of selling WA property
There are some costs associated with selling property in WA. They include the following:
- Auctioneer's fee (if selling by auction, normally $1,000)
- Lender fees (if you still have a home loan, can be up to $1,000 - not to mention paying back existing home loan balance)
- Agent's commission is outlined in your agent agreement
- Capital gains tax (if applicable)
- Conveyancer, legal and solicitor fees (between $1,500 and $3,500)
- Cosmetic repairs such as paint and landscaping (allow $300-500 per small to medium job)
- Large-scale renovations (up to $15,000 to overhaul the plumbing system)
- Moving costs (between $500 and $3,500)
- Connection to electricity and sewerage, if outlined in the General Conditions
Your real estate agent can help you to identify ongoing costs, how much they will be and when you will have to pay them. Make sure you factor these into your calculations for your selling price to ensure you aren't disappointed by the final figure. The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia provides a handy calculator that will assist you in finding out the total fee for selling your home.
Settlement of Western Australian property
The settlement process generally begins with the offer, acceptance and exchange of contracts, and can take up to 90 days to complete. However, it will differ slightly depending on your method of selling WA property:
If you and your agent are satisfied with negotiations over price and you agree to the terms of the O&A, then contracts can be signed and the deposit paid to you. The General Conditions document dictates how long the settlement process will take, while the O&A outlines when payments are made and specifics of when possession of the property is taken. The WA Department of Commerce has the full fact sheet on these settlements.
With no cooling off period, the exchange of contracts takes place immediately, as does the payment of deposit. Otherwise, the settlement process is essentially the same as in private treaty sales - a full fact sheet can be found here.
Once contracts are signed, settlement begins. Normally, the settlement date (upon which the balance of the home's price is paid) is 28-30 days after finance is approved. For any further questions, get in touch with your local LJ Hooker real estate agent!