Get more money for your home and sell it quicker by selling it yourself.

1. Its Easy to Sell Your Own Home
2. I'm Not Apposed to Real Estate Agents
3. The Need for Real Estate Agents
4. Why Real Estate Agencies Charge So Much
5. What Real Estate Agents Do
6. Comparing Other Properties With Yours
7. Advertising
8. Answering Enquiries
9. Appointments To View
10. Accepting Offers
11. Completing The Sale
12. Getting More Money
13. Agents Lists
14. Auctioning
15. Preparing Your Home For Sale
16. You Can Do It
Glossary of Real Estate Terms
7. Advertising Your Home For Sale!
Twizel New Zealand

Having arrived at a market value; we now need to let the market know that the house is for sale.

From my experience, definitely the best, place to advertise is on the Internet. These days, real estate companies increasingly attract more buyers through people having viewed photographs of houses on the Internet than by actually offering to take people through the houses. In New Zealand, the Internet sales company ‘’ provides you with the opportunity to advertise your property all over the country with a lengthy description and allows you to display up to 20 photographs for a total of $299-00. What is more, they not only allow you to edit the ads as often as you wish to, but they let you keep the ads going till the property is sold. So you only pay for the ad once.

By comparison, in a newspaper you would likely only get a small coloured ad with just one picture for the same price and the newspaper would be thrown out after a couple of days. Added to this, don’t forget that, newspapers all have a very limited circulation, whereas the Internet advertisements can be viewed all over the world. ‘TradeMe’ is easily the most used web site for buying and selling properties in New Zealand and is increasing in popularity at a very steady rate as more and more people use it.

A friend of mine who works for one of New Zealand’s largest real estate companies told me that properties he advertises in ‘’ get five times as much response as the same ads on his company’s web site. Your property will be given a specific reference number, so when you advertise in the newspapers and print out leaflets, quote the website and the reference number so that people can get a good indication of what the property is like without leaving their own homes. On ‘TradeMe’ you will also be able to determine how many people have looked at them.

There is no way you can determine how many people have looked at newspaper ads. The web site also provides buyers and sellers with a number of pages full of excellent guidance for buying and selling.

Most countries would have at least one similar type of company to ‘’ where one can advertise houses for sale on the Internet. The wonderful thing about the Internet is that it wouldn’t matter which country you lived in, provided that you had the means of paying for it, you could advertise from a web site anywhere in the world.

The second best method of advertising is to place a large ‘For Sale’ sign on the fence or somewhere else in front of the house. Apart from attracting the notice of passers by, it gets people talking about the property, which is a form of network marketing. Whenever I get enquiries about properties I help people sell, I always ask the enquirer how they found out about the property. Most of them say that they saw it advertised on, but a large proportion also say that they saw the sign outside the house.

If you have a computer, you can easily design your own sign, place it on a CD and take it to a copy shop to have it copied onto a large board. It helps if you can place some nice blown up photos of the interior on the poster. You should also put the Internet reference on the poster. For instance, if you advertised on - you would be foolish not to - write ‘Ref TadeMe ABC 1234’, or whatever the reference number is, so that people will be able to find it quickly on the Internet. If you are running open homes, place a strip on the sign indicating what day and what times the open home viewing times will be.

If you don’t have a computer, you should have little trouble getting someone with a computer to make a reasonably professional looking sign for you. The local copy shop may even make one up for you at a reasonable price. But remember to get the poster laminated so that it doesn’t get tattered and detract from the overall appearance of the property. The quality of the sign is extremely important. The more professional looking it is, the better. A professional sign expresses confidence; a poor sign signifies lack of confidence. These posters should be stuck on to a board with double-sided tape.

Some people are a bit nervous about having signs outside because they don’t want the neighbours to know the house is for sale. Nevertheless, the neighbours will soon find out when they see strangers coming and going, so you might as well be open about it.

In the past, most private sellers advertised a lot in the newspapers, but with the Internet, this is becoming less and less necessary as more and more people search for properties on the ‘Net’. All the real estate companies like their vendors to advertise in local newspapers – at your expense – because they get free publicity out of it. Advertising your own property as a run-on ad is child’s play.

Anyone can write a reasonable ad and most newspapers will let you place the ads in the paper over the phone or by email. Costs will vary depending on the circulation of the newspaper. You could save yourself a lot of money if you just advertised the location, the number of bedrooms, the price you are asking and your phone number and gave the Internet reference for further details.

Including a good photograph of the house in the ad would raise its profile by making it stand out more, but this can be quite expensive if it is in colour

Photos - Unless you are an excellent photographer, it would be worth your while to pay a professional photographer to take the photos of your house needed for publicity, especially for the Internet. Just as street appeal makes an impact when searching for a home to buy, quality photos can make a house look more appealing. Alternatively, if you don’t want to pay a professional photographer, you might like to consider putting your own digital photos on a disk and bringing them into your local camera shop to have them professionally enhanced and then placed on another disk before you place them on the Internet. Another option, if you don’t already have a photo-enhancing program, is to download Google’s Picasa 3 program to your computer, which is free, and enhance your photos yourself. The website for downloading this program is

Private sales more response.
I can assure you that ads for private sales get far more response than those inserted by agencies. There are three main reasons for this:

One: The first is because private sellers will give you the address of the house, whereas some agencies won't, unless they have tied the property up with an exclusive agency. Many people would rather first take a look at a property from the outside before inspecting the inside. That way, if the house’s appearance, design, construction material, location or access doesn’t suit them, they don’t need to waste any more time going through the inside. Unless it is an exclusive agency, the reason why real estate people don’t want to give the address away is quite understandable. It’s because buyers might try to do a private deal with the seller, cutting out the agency.

If the prospective buyers were told about the house by a member of a real estate company but were shown through the house by the owner and the buyers then decided to buy directly from the vendor, the vendor might be able to get out of paying a commission if no company was given an exclusive agency. Technically, if the vendor sold the property directly to someone sent by an agency that had a signed agreement allowing them to try to sell the property, the vendors would be legally bound to pay that agency the full commission, because the agency informed the buyer about the property. Of course the problem for the agency would be to prove it.

Two: The second reason why private sales get more response from advertising is that a lot of people who inquire about properties on the market are only vaguely interested and don't want to be hurried in to making a decision. They know that once their telephone number, is listed with an agency, attempts will be made to get them to look at other properties they were not enquiring about. Whereas, if you, as a private seller gave a prospective buyer the address of the property you are selling, they could rest assured that if they were to take a look at it from the outside first and decide it’s not for them, they won't be pestered by you trying to sell them some other house they haven’t enquired about. (I wouldn’t want anybody to get the impression that I’m criticising sales people for following up enquiries for properties with information about other properties.

Every sales person needs to do this if they want to be successful. But the reality is that a lot of people who enquire about properties for sale are only vaguely interested and don’t want to be rung by a sales person every second week suggesting that they look at such and such a house.)

Three: The third reason why ads for private sales get more response is because they are likely to foster lots of enquiries from real estate sales people telling you that they have buyers wanting to buy a property like yours.

When real estate salespeople have rung me in response to properties I’ve advertised for sale privately and told me that they had buyers for it, I’ve suggested that they tell those buyers to phone me, and if one of them buys the property I would reward the real estate salesperson with a few hundred dollars. But not one of them has ever provided me with a buyer. If they truly had the buyers, the reward for a simple phone call would have been a great incentive to get their supposed purchasers to contact me, and I would have kept my word. If you don’t want real estate people hassling you, simply add the words ‘No agents, thank you!’ at the end of your adverts.

It is true that all real estate salespeople have lists of prospective buyers that they keep in touch with, however, most of these buyers will be listed in the books with several salespeople in several companies. One of these prospective buyers could well be the person who eventually buys your house. This being the case, it would be worthwhile emailing all the individual salespeople who sell houses in your area providing them with the web site address of your property so that they can go straight to it. Then let them know that if they introduced a buyer to you and that person eventually bought your property, you would reward them.

Getting the email addresses of your local salespeople is easy. You’ll find them in the advertisements for the properties they are selling in real estate marketing publications. But, I wouldn’t send the emails out to salespeople until after a few weeks of your property being on the market. Give all the potential purchasers a chance to find you themselves first. This would save you more money. There is no question that once real estate sales people see your property advertised, some would either phone you or call on you to tell you that they have buyers. My response would be to say, “That’s great! Thank you very much. Give these people one of your cards and send them round to the house with it to give to me. If they buy the property, I will pay you the reward.” One would then have the buyer as a witness if I tried to default on the promise.”

Writing ads.
If you are going to advertise in newspapers, put the location first, because this is where prospective buyers for properties in your area are going to look first. Eighty-five percent of the time when someone is looking to buy a house, they will have decided on a specific area they want to live in. So if the house you want to sell is in say, Newtown, make ‘Newtown’ the first word in the ad because that is where people wanting to buy in Newtown will look first. Next put the price or price range, for instance, ‘$340,000’, ‘offers above $340,000’ or ‘Offers between $340,000 and $370,000’. This informs buyers whether it is in their price range or not. Then you should put ‘Private Sale’.

Many private sellers make the mistake of starting the ad with ‘Private Sale’ knowing that this a favourable selling point. But because, as I said, most people are looking for properties in particular areas, unless one of the areas people are considering buying in starts with a ‘p’ they might overlook the ads beginning with the words ‘Private sale’.

After ‘Private Sale’, give a description of the house starting with the number of bedrooms, because this gives buyers an indication of the size of the house. It’s a good idea to study how the real estate companies describe the properties they are selling before composing your own ads.

Following the location of the property you ought to state the actual address of the property you are selling. This will stimulate more interest. It might cut down the number of telephone enquiries, but it is likely to get more people inspecting it from the outside. However, if you do this, make sure that you have a ‘For Sale’ sign in front of the house with the words ‘Inspection by appointment only’ followed by your telephone number. Otherwise you may get people wanting to inspect the house when you are not ready, or at a time when the house is not looking it’s tidiest.

Another way of advertising is to put a leaflet in all the letterboxes in the area. A few hundred photocopies won’t cost much, especially if you print two or more on one A4 page. It would be better to have the leaflets printed in colour. You should have a leaflet made up with all the relevant details of your property anyway, so that you can give one to each interested person who inspects your property.

More On Advertising.
There are a number of things
you need to give special thought to when you advertise your property. Ask yourself, “What are your house’s special features”, because often these are the things that buyers are especially looking for. You may be selling a modern three-bedroom house with a separate dining room. If you are, this should be mentioned in the ad, but this would hardly make the ad for your property stand out from others.

Many people are looking for special features such as, close proximity to amenities, handy to bus stops, double garages, harbour views, workshop space, lots of storage space, spa pools, drive on sections, tree clad sections, sub-dividable sections, privacy etc. For one client I was dealing with when I was selling real estate, the top priority she was looking for was a dark room for developing black and white photos. For others, it might be a large workshop area for making furniture or doing pottery.

Whatever it might be, try to think of something about your property that might make it especially desirable. Rumpus rooms are very sought after. Apart from being a place where children can wreck their toys, they are much desired by people who run businesses from home and are increasingly sought after for accommodating pool tables.

Descriptive phrases.
Try to find a descriptive phrase that sums up your property; such as, affordable luxury, loaded with charm, all day sun, countrified city home; quiet cosy cottage, or whatever you think is suitable. If you search the properties for sale columns in the newspapers you might just find an ideal description you can borrow. The commonly used phrase ‘handyman’s dream’ is effective for drawing attention to people who are looking for a place to renovate. And believe me there are plenty of those people around. If your place is run down, it is better to indicate this in the advertisements so that you can attract the right kind of buyers.

It is better to do this than making out that it is something that it isn’t, and then wasting your own time as well as other people’s by showing unlikely buyers through the house. Perhaps if you have difficulty thinking of a clever descriptive phrase to describe your property, you could get a friend who is clever with words to write an ad for you.

Start the ad with an attention-grabbing headline. Decide what sort of people would be likely to want to buy a house like yours and target them. Make sure the ad explains not only what you are selling and where its location is, but explain why you are selling it. To make your ad stand out, focus on it’s special features. Remember that the aim of the ad is to get people to respond to it.

Fortunately, with ads on ‘TradeMe’ you can provide an enormous amount of information for no extra cost.

The leaflet.
Regarding leaflets, it would be a good idea to have two different types, one to drop in letterboxes and one to give to people who show an interest in the house.

The letterbox leaflet should have a picture of the house, its address, the price range you are asking for the house (for instance instead of advertising a property at say $350,000, you could say offers over $340,000), the number of bedrooms and a description of the other rooms, such as separate dining, open plan, main bedroom with en suite etc., and what ever else you think are the main selling points. If you had a floor plan, perhaps you could include that. Then, at the bottom, put your telephone number followed the words ‘For appointment to view’. Be sure also to include the ‘TradeMe’ reference number if you advertising on it.

For those people who show an interest and want to come and look at the place, you ought to have another sheet ready with an answer to all the questions they are likely to answer.

Below is a list of the sort of details you should put on the sheet:

House and Batch
A 3/4-bedroom brick house
Reason for selling: Moving to another city.
Address: 9 Seltime Rd, Miramere.
Vendor: John Bustop
Floor area: 120 M2
Land area: 685 m2
Built in 1944
Single garage at rear of property.
Concrete piles, iron roof, Pink Bats, floor heating, outside TV aerial.
Legal description: Lot 17, D P. 5256
Government value: $380,000
Land value: $175,000
Rates: $1,701-58
Batch rent: $70-00 per week.

Chattels: Stove, Fridge, Washing machine, carpets, (excluding rug in lounge) blinds, curtains, drapes (except red drapes in the lounge), light fittings and garden shed.

Price: $395,000

Sunny, flat, drive-on section. Handy to all amenities. One block from supermarket. Three blocks from suburban shopping area. Bus stop just around the corner.

Solicitor: James Seaman, of Hastings, Brown and Thompson Ltd. Tel -123-4567

For Further details: Tel. 765-4321, or 021 275 1234.

People will often ask questions about the heating. Is it gas or electric? Is the stove an electric one or a gas one? Often people will want to know where the hot water cylinder is and note its size, so make sure that anyone else showing people through the house knows where it is and include the details on your hand out. If it is an old house, people will ask if it has been re-wired. If it has, mention it in the leaflet.

Also, if you have already decided who you want to handle the conveyance work, include the name and telephone numbers of your solicitor. As I indicated earlier, a sheet like this is useful for when you have someone other than yourself showing buyers through the house. At the bottom of the sheet you need to have your own name and telephone numbers so that you can be contacted for further enquiries.

The information on how to sell you own home is from the book "How to sell your own home" by author Silvio Famularo. Silvio has had a varied career as an opera singer, comedian, actor and public speaker as well as managing businesses. Now in his later years he devotes his time to writing books with the aim of sharing the good and valuable information he has learned in life with others. His philosophy is that it is not what you accumulate in life that matters, but what you contribute. For other works by Silvio visit the following link: Books by Silvio Famularo