by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B
Call me old-fashioned, but part of my personal property investment strategy has always been never sell! At the same time within my law practice over many years my advice to conveyancing clients, intending to sell properties, has always been: Try to find a buyer yourself without the expense of a real estate agent s commission . The vast majority of my seller clients engaged agents anyhow. Some took my advice, but later listed with agents. Only a handful, I must admit, ever made successful D.I.Y. sales.
Recently I found my self needing to sell a property. A little old lady client had some years earlier made a will appointing me her executor. When she died the major asset in the estate was her former residence. Because the will provided for distribution among a number of family beneficiaries I was obliged, as executor, to sell this home. Once the sale had settled the estate would be wound up with the beneficiaries receiving their respective shares.
Although another solicitor in my office handled the legal work involved in administering the estate, I made the final decision at each step. The first step, when it came to selling the house, was to find out what it was worth. I decided to obtain a (free) market appraisal from an estate agent or two, as well as pay for a formal valuation from a valuer.
The first agent s written appraisal was that this property would sell on the current market for approximately $280,000 to $300,000 . He explained that this range was based on current market conditions, the benefits of the property and comparable sales of similar properties within a reasonable time period. At the same time he stressed that, although every care had been taken in arriving at his appraisal, it was an estimate only and was not to be taken as a sworn valuation . Moreover, he would not be responsible should the estimate or any part there of be incorrect or incomplete in any way.
A second agent put nothing in writing but, after inspecting the property, advised by phone that he thought it was worth about $340,000 because it was within a zoning area for duplexes . A quick inquiry at the local council showed that this house was in no such zone.
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