5 Regrets to Avoid When Selling

Selling your property can be a stressful event when not done properly.  In my experience, here are 5 regrets that are best avoided.

If only I’d used my own attorney. 

Sometimes a buyer may insist on nominating the transferring attorney instead of the seller.  In most cases this is because the buyer has an arrangement with his attorney and will save on attorney fees.  The problem is that, when the attorney is nominated by the purchaser, he won’t act for the seller if there is a dispute.  Always be sure to nominate the attorney – and be sure to select wisely.  A good transferring attorney makes a huge difference.

If only I’d informed my bank of my intention to cancel my bond.

Banks require 3 months’ written notice when you intend to cancel your bond.  If you don’t give them this notice in writing, and transfer takes place less than 3 months after they are eventually notified, you will be charged penalty bond cancellation costs.  These can be significant.  If in doubt, notify your bank as soon as you list your property for sale.

If only I’d disclosed those defects.

A seller has a legal obligation to disclose all known defects to a potential purchaser.  Not disclosing them makes you liable.  It’s better to be transparent and honest up front.  Specify in the Offer to Purchase that the purchaser has been made aware of the specific faults, as this then removes your liability.  The same applies to not having approved municipal plans.  Disclose everything before a sale is concluded.  You may sell for slightly less – but you will be spared the much higher costs of rectifying undisclosed defects.

If only I’d known about the Certificate of Compliance (COC) costs.

When you sell you are responsible for obtaining certificates of compliance for your electrical, plumbing, gas, and electric fence installation, as well as a Beetle-free COC.  It’s best to use a reputable COC contractor to do the inspection before you list for sale.  There may be certain steps you can take to remove an installation, such as non-compliant garden lights, before you go to market.  You will also have a better idea of what your rectification costs will be in order to comply.

If only I’d chosen my estate agent more wisely.

This is, naturally, my personal favorite.  Estate agents can be full of promises at the time of listing, but then fail to deliver.  Marketing and service promises need to be in writing.  Select an agent wisely by asking them what strategies they will employ to help you achieve the best result.  Check on their track record.  Ask for testimonials.  The agent with the lowest commission isn’t usually the cheapest.  In fact, cheap is not good, and good is not cheap.  You get what you pay for.  All agents are not created equal.  Don’t fall for the overpricing lie.  It will cost you dearly.

Learn from the mistakes that others make and ensure that your selling experience is a positive one.


Steve Caradoc-Davies

Principal, Harcourts Platinum

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