Traditionally, properties listed for sale have been usually put to public auction, or have a listed sale price which can be negotiated between the vendor and the buyer with a real estate agent as the go-between.
However, there’s a recent trend popping up in Sydney which tries to bypass the traditional “For Sale” method and also avoids the cost to the vendor of a public auction by listing properties for sale with a non-specific price.
- Express Sale
- From $x
- Make an offer
A young homebuyer looking for a house in the northwest of Sydney (name withheld) has experienced this recently as he attempts to buy a home with his partner.
“For certain properties, it might be more reasonable to see this tactic being used by a selling agent (say, for a unique property where it’s hard to pin down an exact value),” he said.
“But, more and more, I’ve been seeing this strategy adopted for conventional properties. Taking the process behind closed doors means you don’t know how much other potential buyers are offering and, as a result, you could end up paying ‘overs’.”
He said the agents are also trying to “seal the deal” with a 66W Certificate, which is usually issued to the buyer in property sales in NSW. What it does is it waives the buyer’s cooling-off period (as if it was sold under auction conditions), which should typically be five days in order for the buyer to have their building and pest inspections, conveyancing and to change their mind.
Buyer’s agent Amanda Segers from amandaonmyside.com.au said this tactic of a “silent auction” is legal and ethical, even if it can seem unfair to some buyers.
“The agent is working for the vendor to find the most money possible, in the shortest amount of time,” she said. “If the agent is smart they will hurry the buyer along, giving them a sense of urgency – this is sometimes unsettling for a poor buyer.
“But, once they miss out, that same buyer will tend to work faster the second time around.”
Amanda’s tips for property hunters:
- Don’t give anything away to the agent on price, just listen and then go away and do your homework.
- Make an informed offer (using comparable sales).
- Be ready to move very quickly.
- Put your offer on a contract, with a deposit and 66W for the agent (this will beat any less experienced buyers that dawdle).
For more information on your rights, visit the fair trading or consumer affairs authority in your state or territory.