See latest COVID-19 updates on government website

5 vital questions to answer before selling your home

5 Jun 2017

When the time comes, it is best to be prepared. Speak to your agent and ask the questions that matter.

1. How long does the selling and transfer process take from the time the property is on the market?

The first step is to find a willing and able purchaser. If the purchase is subject to home loan approval or other suspensive conditions, it can take up to four months for registration of transfer to take place.

“There can of course be certain delays, such as finding a qualified purchaser initially, which could mean your home will be on the market for some time. If your home is priced at a market related price, it should sell within a fair time period,” says Harris.

2. What does the term ‘suspensive conditions’ mean?

A bond approval, home inspection or fulfilment of the sale of another property, are all examples of suspensive conditions.

3. Why is a sole mandate better than an open mandate?

Harris says a sole mandate maximises the opportunity to receive the best possible price the market is willing to pay for your home. A sole mandate eliminates competition between agents, and creates competition between purchasers, where your chosen agent won’t simply accept any offer because of wanting to make the sale.

“Instead, an agent with a sole mandate works for the best possible outcome for you - a sole mandate protects the price of your home,” says Harris.

“With open mandates, the market receives different information regarding your reasons for selling, your chosen price, and so forth, and multiple boards and listings can also indicate desperation to sell, and confusion, which may make purchasers question your price.”

The agent who holds your sole mandate can assist you in determining the market-related asking price, and will work with potential purchasers authentically on your behalf.

4. Should I fix up my home before I list it?

Harris says embarking on a major renovation can be very expensive, when your future purchaser may prefer to put their own stamp on the property. You were once the purchaser and created your home as it stands.

If there are minor defects that require attention - such as leaking pipes, cracked tiles, and chipped paint areas - it would be a good idea to fix these before listing, but you can ask your agent for advice on any maintenance, repairs and suggested improvements beforehand.

5. What costs will I incur?

You have to pay agent commission plus 14% VAT thereof, and generally pay for obtaining updated compliance certificates, such as plumbing, electrical, and gas, electric fence and beetle, where applicable.

You also have to pay an upfront amount for rates and taxes, as well as water and electricity for up to approximately four months in advance. This amount will be paid to the conveyancing attorneys in order to receive a clearance certificate from the council for transfer to take place. At a later stage, monies owing to you can be refunded.

Other costs such as Capital Gains Tax and bond cancellation fees may also apply. If you have an existing bond, you must give your bank 90 days’ notice to cancel the bond to avoid penalty interest.


“There are many more questions that may arise in the process, and working with a professional agent will ensure a professional service when the time comes to sell,” says Harris.

“Remember that agents in your area know what market-related price your property can realistically achieve, and will be able to find you the right, qualified purchaser. A realistic market-related price is really the ultimate answer to selling your home.”