Should I Sell By Auction or Private Sale? A Guide for Downsizers

Reviewed by Christina Penrose

As you transition into the next stage of your life, selling your property can be both exciting and overwhelming. One of the most important decisions you have to make is choosing the right sales method. There are several ways to sell your home, each with pros and cons. In this article, we'll explore the different sales methods available and help you choose the right one to get the best possible outcome for your situation.

Getting Your Property Ready

Firstly, before we look at the sales strategy, it's essential to assess the condition of your home and make any necessary repairs so you are ready to sell. Having your property ready for the next owners to move into broadens the appeal and competition for your property. We frequently see how investing in the update of your property pays off when it comes to attracting buyers and making your property a competitive option in the market. This competition will be important in determining your property's final sale price. 

Before you start thinking about the sales method, ensuring your property is in the best possible condition and will attract buyers is essential. Updates you might consider undertaking include minor cosmetic work or more significant structural repairs. 

We can help you through the entire process to get your property ready, from organising trades for the tidy-up to making sure your property meets the current standards for items such as smoke alarms and pool fences. 

Now your property is looking great, your sales method is how we sell your property quickly at the right price. Consider reading our blog on "How long does it take to sell a property?".

Sales Method

Having a sales strategy maximises the impact of your listing. The best sales method for you considers the types of buyers your property will appeal to, how to reach them, current market conditions and any considerations or preferences you may have. We can tailor a strategy and sales method designed to get you the best result. 

You have options regarding the different ways we can sell your property. Each has its pros and cons. We'll explore the most common sales methods below:

Traditional Auction

Typically, properties sold at Auction are sold unconditionally. This means the auction is final, and the sale is not subject to conditions such as finance approval or building and pest inspections which is a big benefit.

Auctions can be an excellent way to create urgency and competition for your property, often resulting in a higher sale price. The downside is that auction styles can be costly (particularly if you chose to use print media) and stressful. Some buyers can be uncomfortable with the intensity and unconditional nature, so you may not capture all prospective purchasers. 

Traditional auctions are usually held on-site or in a real estate agent's office, and the highest bidder wins the auction. Auctions have a set date and time, which creates urgency and provides a deadline meaning buyers must be well prepared and decide quickly on whether to pursue the property and how much they will spend. 

When a property is sold at Auction, the property needs to meet the reserve price. The Seller will set the reserve and provide it confidentially to the Auctioneer. It is the lowest amount the seller is prepared to take for the property and is not disclosed to prospective buyers. If the reserve is unmet, the Seller can choose not to proceed with the sale.

Private Sale

A private sale is a direct sale between the buyer and the seller, usually with the help of a real estate agent. This method gives you a more low-key sale process, the agent will usually encourage offers and you can negotiate. You can control the intensity, timeline and presentation of your home to potential buyers.

This method allows time to negotiate with potential buyers to get the price you are happy with. These sales generally have terms such as cooling-off periods and conditional clauses such as finance and building and pest inspection, allowing the buyer to cancel the contract if they can't get finance or change their mind during the cooling-off period. 

Traditionally properties are on the market longer than when properties are auctioned, and you can wait 2-3 weeks to find out if the buyer has finance approval.

Online Auction (Openn Negotiation)

Online auctions are becoming a popular selling method as they offer both buyers and sellers convenience, flexibility and transparency. With an online auction, the process is entirely digital, and buyers can place bids from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. The advantage of online auctions is that they can attract a more extensive range of buyers and create more competition, resulting in a higher sale price.

This sales method has the benefits of a traditional auction, where the property can be sold unconditionally. However, the format allows buyers and sellers to see the competition in real-time and allows for a more transparent process. Buyers can be confident in the property's value and avoid missing out because they don’t know what to pay. The sale date can be flexible allowing you to sell as soon as you are happy with the result. This method tends to give both the seller and the buyers more time to think during the process so tends to be less stressful to both parties than a traditional onsite auction.

Presenting Your Property

Finally, most of us have walked into a property that has a nice 'feel' to it. It's true that first impressions are important, and at the end of the day, after your prospective buyers have undertaken several open homes, you want your property to be the one that they remember because it felt like home.

This is where staging your property with furniture and decorations to create a welcoming atmosphere is crucial. Whichever sales method you choose, staging is the final piece that helps buyers envision how they would live in the home. A staged property can create a more emotional connection with buyers and attracts better-quality offers.

Downsizing can be a big life change, but with the right sales method, you can make sure that you get the best possible return on your home to start the next chapter of your life.

If you want to know more about getting your property ready for sale, we have put together this handy checklist you can download here, or contact us for a personalised appraisal and help getting your home sale ready.