Sellers guide: How to sell your home

Sellers guide: How to sell your home

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

The first step when selling your home is to decide whether you want to sell privately, use a traditional real estate agent, use an online estate agency or sell by auction.


Sellers have a choice between using an estate agent to market their property or selling privately.

There are benefits to using both and it is up to you to decide which option to take. However, you should have some knowledge of the property market and decent negotiation skills if you decide to sell privately.

Benefits to selling privately:

  • You can save on certain costs, like agent’s commission
  • You get to decide who to show your property to and when to allow buyers access to your home
  • You will have a more intimate knowledge about the home’s history and the area, and will be able to add value to the buyer

Should you decide to sell privately, here are some tips:

  • Price your home correctly
    A property that is not priced correctly will take longer to sell than one that offers fair market value. You would need to do your research and get to know the local market inside out before putting a price tag on your home.

  • Get your home ready to sell
    This means you should tend to any repairs and maintenance issues like leaky taps, faulty switches and broken windows. These obvious flaws will put buyers off or encourage them to try to negotiate you down, in price.
    You also have a legal obligation, as the seller, to make sure that the dwelling is 100% safe for human occupation. You will need a span of clearance certificates for the sale to go through. These protection measures could include all of-, or some of, the following certificates or clearances: Rates and Taxes Clearance, Levy Clearance, Electrical Compliance, Plumbing Compliance, Gas Compliance, Beetle Infestation Clearance.

  • Advertise your property
    Studies show that over 80% of property searches today begin online, so a good property website like should be a key part of your property marketing strategy.

  • Conduct viewings of your home
    You can decide whether to host a show day or ‘appointment only’ viewings. Never conduct a viewing of your home by yourself. Always make sure that you put your safety first.

  • Finalise the sale
    You need to appoint a conveyancing attorney to take care of the transfer of your property, into the new owner’s name. Speak to people about their recent experiences with attorneys, to make sure that you choose a reputable attorney, if you don’t already know one. The attorney will be able to provide you with the offer to purchase document and will be able to advise you on the legalities of the process.


Benefits of using an estate agent:

  • An estate agent will know how to deal with the legal, financial and marketing issues in the appropriate manner.
  • Agents will have knowledge of different sales techniques, financing alternatives, valuation methods, construction practices and relevant property laws and regulations.
  • Agents will be familiar with the local property market, understand consumer behaviour and be able to communicate with people at different levels.
  • An agent will protect the interest of his client (which is the seller) to the best of his ability with due regard to the interest of all other parties concerned.
  • Estate agents must be registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board, and are governed by a code of conduct, common law and the provisions of the Estate Agency Affairs Act, which are enforceable by means of disciplinary action by the Estate Agency Affairs Board.

What is the estate agent responsible for?

The estate agent’s function is to introduce a willing and able buyer to his client’s property, while also guiding the seller through the entire process by:

  • Advising him on the market value of his property
  • Marketing his property effectively
  • Assessing prospective purchasers to ascertain whether they are financially able to purchase his property and what their housing needs are Private Property // Selling your home
  • Advising a prospective purchaser on the suitability of the property for his needs, its general conditions and whether there are any restrictions on the use of the property
  • Negotiating the transaction, taking into consideration the interests of all parties concerned
  • Completing the Offer to Purchase document, making sure that the document is legally valid and reflects the requirements and intentions of all the parties concerned
  • Advising the buyer on financing the transaction and assisting him in arranging such finance
  • Liaising with the conveyancing attorneys, attending to the transfer of the property, and assisting them to expedite the registration process.

How does estate agent’s commission work?

For his services, the estate agent charges a fee (commission), which is paid by the seller. It is your right to negotiate the estate agent’s commission, although please remember that this is an agent’s income and receiving a full service comes at a certain price.

You should discuss the agent’s commission with the estate agent at the beginning of the transaction. The commission is usually calculated as a percentage of the selling price.

What is a mandate?

A mandate is an instruction or authority from a client to an estate agent, to render a particular estate agency service. It is a legally binding contract between the estate agent and his client. There are different types of mandates:

  1. Open Mandate
    Many different estate agents can have a mandate to market your property, meaning that one estate agent cannot claim to have the sole right to market it.

  2. Sole Mandate
    Giving an estate agent a sole mandate to market your property, means that you cannot have a mandate with another estate agent before the expiry of a determined period. If another estate agent sells or lets your property during this period, the estate agent with the sole mandate can claim damages from you, which may be equal to the commission that he could have earned if he sold the property.
    However, you can sell or let the property yourself without any implications during this period as long as you make sure the wording in the mandate does not state that the estate agent has the sole right to sell.

  3. Sole and Exclusive Mandate
    Nobody (including you), except for the estate agent holding the sole and exclusive mandate, is allowed to market your property before the expiry of the determined period of the mandate. This means that should anyone other than the mandated estate agent sell your property, you will still have to pay commission to that estate agent.


Online estate agents offer a lower cost alternative to the commission that sellers would pay to a traditional estate agent. However, online agents also offer a different service set to traditional agents. These services vary from agency to agency.


Not only distressed property sales are done by auction. This is becoming an increasingly popular option. Make sure that your property is sellable. List your property with an esteemed auctioneering company who is active in marketing their listings. You can also choose an auction house that handles, specifically, the type of property you want to sell. Have an entry fee and a sale fee ready. Become educated on how the bidding process works.

!! TIP : Did you know? Private Property. is the only website where you can find property listings from agents, banks, developers, auctioneers and home owners, all in one place.

Now that you know who is going to sell your home...

The next step in your Sellers Guide is "Deciding on a selling price":

  1. How to sell your home successfully
  2. Deciding on a selling price
  3. Getting your home ready to sell
  4. Advertising your home for sale
  5. The costs involved with selling your home
  6. Moving tips


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