Hidden traps when selling property

It goes without saying that would-be sellers are keen to sell their property as easily and profitably as possible. However, the path of least resistance can often prove quite the opposite. We’ve partnered Bestag to spotlight two of the easiest traps to fall into.


Unhappy man on his phone

The time has finally come: You’re thinking of selling your property. It could be for many reasons - and there are just as many ways to do it. And most of us, entirely understandably, want maximum return for minimum effort. Beware though, it may come back to bite you. Read on for more on the two most common mistakes when selling a house.

Selling a property on your own

Selling a house yourself usually means two things: more work and less income. Many homeowners, especially the tech-savvy and those with common sense, quickly get convinced that they can sell their property online themselves. And fair enough, they can. Many self-service portals now let you do just that. The thinking behind it: Why not manage alone and save instead of giving up a big chunk of income to estate agents? What happens in the real world often rubber stamps this. Estate agents aren’t the most popular service providers around and would-be home sellers usually "manage it" unaided. It’s usually something along those lines (varnishing the truth a little, maybe). Many buyers also hold off until they find the right opportunity, which helps accelerate property sales.

But the key question is this: At what price did you sell? Unfortunately, most houses sold via the DIY route go far too cheaply - and "too cheaply" here can mean several hundred thousand francs. Far more, in fact, than estate agent's commission. Normally, it’s 2 to 3 per cent of the purchase price and tax-deductible in most cantons.

So why do agents often do it better?

Here’s why estate agents perform a notch higher:

  • They already have a network of potential local buyers and keep the relevant contacts current.

  • They prepare premium and professionally illustrated sales documents.

  • They can give you tips for optimisation: It might be worthwhile, for example, investing a few thousand francs to trim a tree that puts all around it in the shade - to bump up your sale price by dozens of thousands of francs.

  • They are skilled negotiators and can boost the sale price by 3% or so on average. They also take a lot of work off your hands. Plus it’s reassuring.

In a nutshell: not every homeowner knows how to sell. But this applies to estate agents too - so choose carefully.

Fixed-price estate agents

Anyone who thinks they’re killing two birds with one stone by choosing a fixed-price offer from an agent should keep the following in mind and do the maths: At first glance, the fixed price for a done-for-you sales service is usually below the expected 2-3% commission and looks cheaper. Bear in mind though, the net sales revenue is key - not the commission. In other words, this is what often transpires. Working for a fixed rate means estate agents get zero incentive to get the highest possible sale price. Plus, the property will probably be sold anyway - the cheaper, the faster. What you lose in the process will outweigh the variable commission. Agents like these also tend to pass on the lion’s share of work to the homeowners, e.g. showing buyers round, to keep their effort manageable. We suggest a performance-based commission model with a bonus/malus system (carrot and stick) works best. This will maximise the incentives.