Homefront: 'Can I sell my Dubai apartment without using a real estate agent?'

While it may seem a great way to save on the commission, private sellers often fail due to a number of pitfalls, Mario Volpi says

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - May 02, 2019: Stock picture of Dubai Marina. Thursday the 2nd of May 2019. FIVE, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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I'm thinking of selling my property in Dubai Marina without the use of a real estate agent. What do you advise me? PJ Dubai

Homeowners who have tried to sell their properties themselves often fail. While it may seem like a great way to save on the commission, unfortunately for the owner, it can frequently go wrong.

When trying to sell without a real estate agent there are many pitfalls to look out for. Below are just some of the situations that may arise.

1. Not properly preparing your home

A large part of the success of any property sale is how to prepare the property before it is listed. If you market your property without putting the work in to make it attractive to buyers, you could be wasting your time. It is important to create the right impression by removing clutter and repairing blatant defects. While this may seem obvious, many people neglect to take these simple measures. Most agents on the other hand will advise you to repair any defects or repaint certain rooms prior to a sale. Sellers should have a firm grasp of what to expect from an independent property inspection and ensure that the unit is offered in the best light possible.

2. Incorrectly valuing your property 

It is a bad idea to value your home higher than it is really worth as this will lead you to set the price too high, which could delay or sabotage the sale. Agents know the market and have access to sales data that the general public does not. A large percentage of private sellers overvalue their properties. Agents not only know the correct price but can also highlight the benefits and advantages to the buyer if the price is generally more due to upgrades, prime location or other factors.

3. Dealing with potential buyers

Estate agents spend a large amount of time dealing with enquiries from interested people, coordinating viewings and juggling appointments. This is a challenging and time-consuming task that can be easily overlooked by a seller. Not making your home readily available to a buyer's schedule is one of the top reasons sellers miss out so you would need to keep on top of this administrative work.

4. Pressurising potential purchasers

It is easy to be over enthusiastic and to pressurise a potential buyer but if you don’t allow them the space to view your property, you can quickly put them off. Potential buyers will find it difficult to say anything negative about the property in front of you, while agents are impartial so they can get the real feedback of how the buyer feels about the property.

5. Not knowing how to screen buyers

Knowing how to screen potential purchasers will help you avoid wasting energy or burning any potential leads. For example, your agent will check whether the buyer is paying by cash or finance. If cash, they will clarify if the money needs to be transferred here or not. If buying through finance, they ascertain whether the buyer is pre-approved or would still require mortgage qualification.

6. Lack of understanding of necessary forms

Agents have in-depth knowledge of contracts and documents necessary, such as Form F and a professionally drafted memorandum of understanding. It can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the contracts of sale and the whole process. Once an offer has been made, there are still certain negotiations required specifically over the final price or the terms of the contract. Certain clauses and contingencies need to be understood in order to negotiate the correct deal. If you get this wrong, you could find yourself facing problems.

7. Closing the deal

The job of selling the property doesn’t end when you accept an offer, there is much more to do before the transfer is done. RERA-qualified real estate agents are well-versed as to the procedures that have to be followed once a sale price has been agreed to see the property successfully transfer.

So you see, selling your property without a real estate agent may seem like a great idea, but it is very easy to underestimate what needs to be done and fail. For these reasons, you should think carefully about doing it all yourself.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for 35 years in London and Dubai

The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com