Selling Advice

Is your property ready for sale?

You’ve made the decision to sell, but is your property ready? How can you, the owner, maximise the sales value of your property?

A lifestyle property purchase is an emotional decision…

People generally buy coastal property to enhance their lifestyle. They are emotional decisions and first impressions will, in the majority of cases, usually decide whether they like the property or not. When looking to sell, you, the owner, have opportunities to enhance the emotional appeal – the hook – that will entice your buyers. The first opportunity occurs at an external viewing of the property which may or may not lead to the second opportunity – the inspection. There is a great deal that you can do to lead prospective buyers from viewing, to inspection, to offer.

However, the majority of prospective purchasers, if they are at the stage of making an appointment to inspect, have already formed some attachment to the property by viewing it externally and making the call. So when they inspect the property they are looking at two things: what is right with the property, and what is wrong with it!

Preparing for external viewing:

When a prospective buyer drives past your property or views it on the Internet, will he or she get an impression of care, or perhaps of neglect? What can you, the vendor, do to trigger the desire for a full inspection? Are there visible factors that might lead a prospective purchaser to think that the property needs some work? Will they be trying to assess how much this work might be likely to cost, instead of focusing on the positive aspects?
Walk outside and have a good, long, objective look at your property…

Outdoor Entertaining Area:

  • Is the decking sound or rotten?
  • Do you need to replace a board or two?
  • Big visual surfaces are usually what catch the eye first. Is the paint peeling and chipped? To repair and paint it can be a very effective and low cost means of enhancing first impressions of your property.
  • Is your outdoor furniture showing signs of cockatoo attack and too much wear?
  • Has the accumulation of outdoor clutter gone beyond a stacked surfboard or two and the barbie? Try for a clean, spacious and inviting feel.


  • A well-maintained garden not only provides instant and eye-catching appeal but also suggests the degree of care with which the whole property has been tended. A neglected garden, a rundown fence, can trigger negative responses, discouraging potential buyers from investigating any further.

Roofing, downpipes and external paintwork:

  • Again, do they send a clear message of good maintenance to onlookers or might they suggest a general lack of TLC? There are often low cost ways of creating impressive visual improvements. Talk to us.

At Great Ocean Properties, it is part of the service we offer, advising our vendors on the best ways to send a positive signal during that all-important first impression.

Preparing for inspection:

The following suggestions present simple, common-sense guidelines to ensure your property is at its best when prospective buyers arrive.Stand back a little in each room and look with an objective eye:

  • Look at the arrangement, condition and choice of your furniture. Your artwork. Is the overall impression one of clutter, or space and light? If you aren’t sure, ask us.
  • Could the paintwork do with a touch-up here and there? Are there blobs of blue-tack on the walls in the kids’ rooms? Wear and tear in the hallway?
  • Do the carpets need a steam-clean? Is your eye drawn to stains and signs of wear? In some cases, you might consider low cost replacement. The visual enhancement that a new carpet lends to a room can make this more than worthwhile.
  • Take a close look at the kitchen, bathroom, toilets and laundry. Any cracked, discoloured or broken glass and tiling should be replaced if possible. Change washers on those dripping taps. You don’t want a prospective purchaser to be visualising all the things that need to be done (and what that might cost), so take time to fix up those little things.
  • Last but not least – is it clean? Really clean? Sparkling clean? What about spots of mildew around the bathroom fan? A build-up of grease in hard-to-get-at kitchen areas? These small things can lose you the ‘hook’ of emotional appeal, and lose you an offer. If necessary, consider hiring professional cleaners to get the results your property needs during a marketing campaign. Also, every house has its own unique fragrance. Some smell of cedar, some of the sea, but others smell of over-cooked cabbage, old fry-ups and dogs. A small point but an important one. If necessary, consider using an unobtrusive room freshener, such as a light citrus scent.

Your property – your agent

So, you’ve completed all the preparation. Now:

How do you determine the current market value of your property?
Why should you sell your property under an Exclusive Agency Agreement?

Current market price:

It is often the case that an owner has a higher opinion of the value of his or her property than that indicated by the property buying market. Unless this view is balanced by the varied factors that influence the market, an owner may set an inflated price on the property. This can cause potential buyers to not inspect which leads to your property being on sale for an extended period. Property market reactions to this single factor are usually: That place is still for sale; wonder what’s wrong with it? Result: You lose the opportunity to create competitive momentum amongst buyers. This is especially evident with Internet marketing. It is a new listing for a week and then it starts to slide down the list.

Factors that influence current market price include;

  • recent sales of comparable properties;
  • the current sales environment in the region;
  • the buoyancy or otherwise of the property market and economic trends;
  • the prospect of further development;
  • Does the property have a feature that will really appeal to the market? An ocean view? Beach access? A tennis court? Games’ room or pool? Peace and seclusion? Generous accommodation and architect design?

Exclusive Agency Agreement:

An Exclusive Agency Agreement guarantees you, the vendor, a higher level of service and commitment than a general listing (appointing multiple agents) would achieve. Firstly, someone needs to be accountable to you, the vendor, for the performance of the property once it goes onto the market. They need to have a plan and execute it, while keeping you advised through the process. Under a general agency, no one takes direct responsibility and no one needs to be accountable. The perception can be, more agents, more exposure. Given that all agents use similar mediums to advertise their properties, it is simply not the reality in the market place. Secondly, what business will offer a five-star focus on your needs if there is a chance that no payment will be received?

You need to appoint an agent that you feel comfortable with, that has a plan and has a demonstrated track record of negotiating successful outcomes. An Exclusive Agency Agreement with Great Ocean Properties ensures all this.

Further, other real estate agencies can confidently contact Great Ocean Properties to propose a conjoint arrangement if they have a client with an interest in the property. Generally though, buyers follow properties not agents.

Legal considerations

As a vendor, it is important that you understand the legal requirements of selling a property. What follows is a basic guide. Information on this is also available from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria at If you have any concerns or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Agent Authority

The appointment of a real estate agent to act on your behalf must be made in writing, with agreement from both parties to the terms prior to signing. Details to be agreed upon include: agent’s fee, marketing expenses, length of the agreement, estimated price and settlement period, and whether the property is to be sold subject to vacant possession, or with tenants. Agreements include exclusive sale authority, general sale authority, and auction.

Section 32

The law requires that, prior to a purchaser and vendor entering into a contract for the transfer of real estate, the vendor/s or their representatives must complete and sign a ‘Vendor’s Statement’, also known as a Section 32. A copy of the Certificate of Title (proof of the vendor’s right to sell) must be attached to the statement. Other information may include any restrictions on the property, such as easements and covenants, rates and other outgoings, zoning information and any notices, or other documentation affecting the land. If information in the Vendor’s Statement is found to contain false or misleading information, the purchaser may rescind the contract at any time before becoming entitled to possession.

Contract of Sale

Contracts of sale cover all the details of the agreed sale, including property identification, purchaser’s full names, agreed price, deposit, settlement date and terms of sale, including special conditions, inclusions and chattels. If a property is to be sold by auction, a solicitor will usually prepare the Contract of Sale which will be attached to the Section 32/ Vendor’s Statement. If the property is sold under private sale authority, the estate agent will prepare a Contract Note, an abridged but equally binding form of the Contract of Sale. With residential and rural properties of less than 20 hectares, a cooling off period applies whereby a purchaser may withdraw from the contract under certain circumstances. Withdrawal must be in writing to the vendor, their agent or legal representative, within three clear business days from but not including the day the purchaser signs the contract. The vendor is entitled to retain $100 or 0.2% of the purchase price, whichever is the greater, up to a maximum of $500. The balance of the paid deposit is then returned to the purchaser.

Early Release of Deposit Monies

In certain situations, the deposit may be released under Section 27 of the Sale of Land Act. The purchaser has 28 days from the receipt of a detailed Section 27 form, to approve or reject the release of the deposit. All conditions of the contract should be satisfied and the purchaser deemed to have accepted title. Section 27 allows the purchaser to authorise in writing to whoever is holding the deposit, to release it to the vendor.

As soon as the required conditions have been met and the agent has received the written advice, the deposit, less costs, can usually be forwarded to the vendor.

Conveyancing and Settlement

Transfer of property ownership is properly handled by a solicitor or conveyor and is termed conveyancing. We recommend that legal advice is always sought. Settlement means that the balance of the purchase price has been paid to the vendor and the physical possession of the property passes to the purchaser, subject to the terms of any existing lease. Settlement date is set out in the Contract of Sale and may be altered if both parties are in agreement. It is usual for a legal representative to attend to settlement on your behalf and keys may be obtained from the selling agent immediately after settlement has occurred.


The above advice should be taken as a guide only and in no way replaces qualified legal advice from a solicitor. Great Ocean Properties takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information and would urge that people selling their property obtain professional legal advice for all legal matters.