Thursday, 13 October 2016


ESV. Chudi Ubosi, FNIVS
One of the major challenges a real estate sometimes practitioner faces is clients sometimes rattling him with the questions: “What exactly are you doing or have you done for me? I could have sold the property myself. All you did was to find me a buyer. I could have done that myself”.

My usual very polite response is that whilst it remains a choice that can be made, it is not advisable. It is almost tantamount to treating oneself for an illness or diagnosing the fault with a car engine and going ahead to fix same.

However what does it take to sell ones property by personally? The first step is to determine the possible sale value of the subject property. There are several ways, but the most effective means would be to invite a professional Estate Surveyor and Valuer to appraise same and proffer a range of achievable values.

Many times as professionals we have to explain very carefully to vendors that the value of their property does not always equal the cost of the challenge (especially if the property is being sold to mitigate some challenge in life) for which the property is being sold. It is very common to find siblings selling an inherited property and each one has an idea of what he/she wants to achieve with his/her own share of the funds. By the time all these expectations are summed, their total value is sometimes 300 – 400 % higher than the value realizable from the asset.

Determining the value using a professional will also ensure that the vendor does not under sell the asset thereby losing money in the process. The second step would be to ascertain the status of one’s legal title. What documents cover the property – are they registered and if not can that process be undertaken before the sale is commenced or during the process of the sale, or declared upfront to all parties involved in the transaction.

Unregistered title documents i.e. purchase receipts deed etc have a way of frustrating or slowing down sale transactions if not sorted out at the onset. It may also be advisable to carry out a legal search at the Lands Registry and obtain a legal report on the status of your registered title. It is sometimes surprising what these searches turn up. A legal practitioner is best engaged to handle this.

Experience has shown that properties are easier sold with vacant possession. This is because of nasty experiences purchasers have gone through or stories they have been told by other purchasers. If the property is tenanted, it is important to intimate the tenants of the sale for many reasons. These include that it makes viewing the property easier by prospects without fear of embarrassment from tenants. It also alerts the tenants that there may be a need to commence a search for a new accommodation, so that long before the quit notice comes they have been psychologically prepared.

One mistake a lot of vendors make is the dream of a “quite sale”. This is utopian especially if the first or second prospect who views same does not conclude the sale. With numerous prospects walking through the property daily and asking a myriad of questions it will only take a little while for the tenants to determine the status of things. And so Landlords make the mistake of letting their tenants “discover” from third parties that their property is up for sale. This only serves the purpose of setting the tenants against the Landlord and creates from for unhealthy suspicion and conflict which will only in the final analysis slow down the sale or frustrate it completely.

Agree with the tenants on convenient times for prospects to view the property and most importantly agree with them on possession (preferably in writing) upon or before conclusion of the sale.

The fourth step would be to tidy up the property. A clean environment, tidy house, painted walls etc, make a property easier to sell than one that is the reverse. Ensure fittings are in good shape, not necessarily new but at least in place and not for example hanging from the wall or something of that nature.

There is hardly any sale that can be concluded without some form of marketing. The first form of marketing is personal contacts and referrals. As the owner of the property, one can boldly display a “FOR SALE” sign on his property inviting people to treat. Advertisement can be placed in the print media also marketing the property and its features.

Once offers are being received from prospective buyers, the vendor must be in a position to appraise each and every offer, meet with the prospects and determine which is a serious offer and one that is frivolous. The vendor must indeed also be flexible in terms of pricing and acceptability of same. More often than not the most serious offer could be one that is maybe 10% below the acceptable price. A vendor must be able to determine at what point he must close, and the terms and conditions of the conclusion. At the point of closure, the vendor must scrutinize the transfer documents to ensure that there are no clauses inserted that will be injurious to him or keep him obliged to the new owner even after the sale. This task is best undertaken once again by a professional – either an Estate Surveyor and Valuer or a legal practitioner.

All said and done, it is difficult not to engage professionals in the sale of one’s property.
It is indeed dangerous to say the least. Imagine a property that remains on the market for say 6 moths, with an average of 3 – 5 prospects calling daily. A vendor who decides to sell his/her property on his own will invariably become a full time estate agent against his/her wish. Then think of the numerous times the property will be visited for viewing by prospective clients. Each of these inspections would have to be conducted by the vendor personally or his associate.

There are so many other small duties carried out by the professionals in the course of a sale that cannot readily be documented but are critical to the success of same. The loss and subsequent conflicts that may result will far outweigh the meager fee which a professional would be paid to navigate a successful transaction.

If you want to showcase the properties you would like to sell to millions of elites that have the financial wherewithal to pay for them, check out this link below: