Want to sell your house yourself but don’t know where to start?

Believe it or not, you don’t need an agent to sell your home in Adelaide. You can sell it yourself. Selling your house privately eliminates the headaches and overheads of selling your property through a real estate agent. One of the biggest challenges that a lot of people face when it comes to selling their house privately is around the legal requirements and paperwork. The thought of the whole process can be overwhelming, and many questions arise. ‘Do I need a lawyer or conveyancer to sell my house?’ ‘Can I write my own contract?’ ‘Can I legally sell my house on my own?’

The paper work and legal requirements for selling your house privately

The first thing you need to know is what paperwork is involved and the resources that you can use for all legalities. I have no legal background, I am sharing what I have learnt from my years in property and suggest that you always seek advice with the necessary professionals such as a conveyancer or property lawyer.

When selling your house privately in Adelaide some of the documents that you need to be aware of include:

  • Contract
  • Form 1
  • Form 3 (Can be organised by your conveyancer)
  • Searches (Can be organised by your conveyancer)
  • Letter of offer

Your first point of call will be your conveyancer or property lawyer. A good conveyancer is worth their weight in gold. They can talk you through the legalities and can even prepare the sales contract for you. To find a conveyancer, you can google conveyancers in Adelaide. Give them a call and discus what you want to do. See who is responsive, and ask their costs. I use a legal firm that also has conveyancers.

You may need to supply what’s called a Form 3 for anyone you show through your home. If you’ve been to any open inspections in Adelaide, one would have been made available for you there.

You also might like to have your conveyancer start the necessary searches for your property.  Searches are usually valid for 30 days. These searches bring up all the necessary information required to complete the sales process. This includes anything that’s outstanding such as water or council rates, and anything that may impact the property, such as planning rules. If the searches are done, this allows you to move forward quickly with the sales contract. Searches usually cost from $200 to $400.

When you have some interest in the property, you might like to have some letters of offer ready for potential buyers to fill out. The letter of offer should include:

Name or Entity & contact details of potential purchaser (including street address and email)

Purchase price (remember this is an offer you can negotiate)

Deposit (you can decide what is comfortable for you – traditionally 10% of purchase price).

Proposed settlement date (again you can negotiate)

Conditions: is it subject to finance, a building inspection or something else? (Make sure you have a time frame for these in your contract.)


Now you can compare offers and see what suits you best, this is just an offer so you can negotiate terms and conditions.

Once you and the buyer have come to an agreement, you can forward the agreed details (along with the details of the buyer’s conveyancer) to your conveyancer, and have them draw up the contract of sale.

Your conveyancer will also need to issue what is called a Form 1 (they will use the info from the searches for this). There will be a cost for the Form 1; a lot of real estate agents will charge extra. The Form 1 is issued to the purchaser. It gives them all the information on the property that they are purchasing, such as:

  • Certificate of title (with any encumbrances- anything that might affect the land like powerlines under it, council drains or shared land)
  • council and water rates
  • The planning code for the land


When the contract is signed by all parties and the Form 1 is issued to the purchaser, then Cooling off starts. Your purchase has two full working days for cooling off, so in those two days they can change their mind. Once the cooling off is over, the purchaser will need to pay the agreed amount of the deposit. This will legally need to go into your conveyancer’s trust account (your conveyancer should put that part in the contract also). The deposit will be held until settlement, so if the deposit was $50,000 and they were buying your house for $500,000, then at settlement they would only pay $450,000.

Now that your paperwork is complete, you will need to follow up on any conditions. For example, if it was subject to finance by a specific date (you need a date) then they need to ensure this is done in writing by that time frame. Again, a good conveyancer will check this for you.

Even when selling through an agent, you would still need a conveyancer. The agent would prepare the contract, and sometimes the Form 1, although most get this done elsewhere and charge you additional costs. Also, the agent would arrange on the contract for the deposit to go into his trust account.


Selling your house privately could be a good economic decision

You can save yourself thousands of dollars if you decide to sell your home yourself. Most agents operate with a cost of around 2% of overall sales, plus all advertising costs. So if your property sells for $600,000 that’s $12,000, plus advertising costs. You still require a conveyancer and a Form 1 – the difference with going through a sales agent is that they would draw up the contract for you. Selling your house privately in Adelaide could be a good economical decision for you. If not, there are plenty of real estate agents who would love to help you.

We will do a blog in the future about choosing real estate agents in Adelaide. Look out for future blog posts including ‘Preparing the House for Sale’, ‘Advertising’ and ‘the Final Sales Process’.

Good luck with selling your house privately, and the legal requirements and paperwork needed in Adelaide. If you have any questions about the processes I have described please feel free to contact me here.

I also buy suitable properties direct. If that is something that would interest you, I’d love to have a chat! For more information on how I can help you, click here.