Selling Tips


At Bertram Ellis we have what we consider to be the best available mix of marketing options for property sellers in the Canberra region, ranging from high quality digital photography, press adds, video slide shows to our weekly e-mail news letters and website. We engage a professional graphic design firm to ensure our brochures photo sign boards and fliers are the best available! Our marketing aim is: To expose the property to the greatest number of prospective purchases who are in a position to proceed without delay. Our constant research into the source of our purchaser enquiry means we can focus our marketing to achieve the most effective results.

A fundamental benefit to you in selecting Bertram Ellis as your preferred real estate agency is constant communication and feedback. We have systems in place to guarantee that you will be kept fully informed during the sale of your property. We have repeat clients who have bought and sold with us three, four and five times. They say they come back because of the level of feedback provided by our agency. In the words of one client: “you kept us up to date with the sales process every step of the way. Never once did we have to ring to find out what was happening”.

Past clients regularly comment on our outstanding ability to negotiate a higher price on their behalf. This often more than covers the fee we charge.

As we aren’t the largest firm in town, you won’t get lost in the crowd and treated like another sausage in the shop. Your business is important to us and we deliver a first class personalised service.

Determining the selling price of a residential property

The current market value of your property is the amount that potential purchasers are likely to pay for your property given the current conditions in your local market and having regard to both the positives and negatives of your property.

Knowing the current market value of your property will provide many benefits. They include:

  • Preventing you from underpricing or selling your property for less than it is really worth. This is particularly relevant for absentee owners who may not be familiar with conditions in the local market.
  • Avoiding over pricing your property. Properties with an asking price well above market value frequently remain for sale for long periods of time and don’t attract genuine interest from purchasers. Often such properties become a ‘stale’ listing and are more difficult to sell even if the asking price is reduced.
  • Assisting you to decide to go through the sale process. If the current market value of your property is significantly lower than your required sale price you may decide not to sell or to wait until the market has improved.
  • Enabling you to set an appropriate reserve price if you intend to sell your property by auction.

Deciding on the method of sale

The two most popular ways of selling a home are by private sale or auction. The better selling option for you will be influenced by the type of property and location, your available time frame and your personal preference.

Private sale:

In a private sale (also known as a “private treaty”) the property is advertised at a set price or within a price range. Offers are invited from prospective buyers. The sale is negotiated between the buyer and seller, with the help of an agent.


An auction is a public sale, usually where a real estate agent is the auctioneer. The auction is set for a certain place, date and time. Prospective buyers bid and the property is sold to the highest bidder, provided you, as the seller, accept the bid.

Private Sale Auction
The seller and buyer agree on a sale price through negotiation, via an agent Price is decided by competitive bidding and the property is sold to the highest bidder acceptable to the seller
The contract for the sale of residential property can be conditional, that is, the buyer can make the sale subject to the availability of finance or other conditions (with the seller’s approval) The contract for the sale of residential property is unconditional, that is, the buyer cannot make it subject to finance, inspection and the like.
For residential properties the buyer has a cooling-off period of five clear working days (with exceptions). There is no cooling-off period for sale by auction

Selling by tender

This form of selling is used from time to time. It involves requiring all interested buyers to put their offer in writing, usually the maximum they are willing to pay. These offers are then taken to you, the seller, and you have the opportunity to pick the highest price. You are not obligated to accept the highest offer or any offer if you are not satisfied with the offers made. You may require tender offers to be accompanied by a deposit, usually 10% of the offer being made. As with selling by auction, there is no cooling-off period when selling by tender

Considering the marketing campaign

The aim of the marketing campaign is to reach prospective buyers and encourage them to inspect your property. The most popular ways of doing this are described below.

Direct notification:

The agent may have a list of likely buyers who can be notified when suitable properties come on to the market. These are people who have either contacted the agent asking to be notified or have left their personal details at another open house inspection.


This is the main way of attracting people to look at a property. The method of advertising depends on the type and location of the property and the amount of money you are willing to spend on advertising. These ads inform possible buyers that the home is for sale and lists the inspection dates and times. It also includes the names and contact details of the agents who are handling the sale. Generally your home should be advertised in the local newspapers and possibly in the window of the real estate agency.

The internet:

This is a popular way potential buyers find properties for sale. A lot of agencies have their own websites, and there are several large property websites that are used by many real estate agents. Using the internet for advertising will enable interstate and overseas buyers to view your property.

Websites can show photographs and “virtual tours” as well as current inspection times and other details of interest. Buyers can also register free of charge and receive regular e-mail updates of properties that may suit them.

Holding an open house

Advertising lets prospective buyers know the dates and times your home is open for inspection. This should generally be for 30 to 45 minutes, once or twice a week. Buyers may also request and alternative inspection appointment through the agent.

Anyone who enters an open house is usually asked to leave a contact name and telephone number with the agent. This is necessary for security and also gives the agent a list of potential buyers.

It is not a legal requirement for a person to leave their details with an agent at an open house. But you can make this a condition of entry to your home by stating this in the sales agreement.

You should present your home in its best possible condition at an open house. It is also recommended that you be absent from the home for the duration of the open house and lock away any valuables.

Now the selling begins

Preparing your contract for the sale of residential property

You must prepare a contract for the sale of residential property in the ACT, before the property is offered for sale. This is usually done by your solicitor. This draft contract must be available for buyers to consider before the make an offer to purchase. This contract can be amended to include particular clauses and special conditions.

Exchanging contracts for the sale of residential property

When you receive an offer that you intend to accept, you will be required to exchange contracts for the sale of residential property with the prospective buyer who made that offer.

A legally binding contract does not exist until a contract signed by you and a contract signed by the buyer are exchanged. A deposit is payable at this time.

Settlement period

Settlement is the date on which the remainder of the purchase price is paid to you and the title of the property is handed to the buyer.

When is it sold?

While the signing of the contract for the sale of residential property is legally binding, the sale is only finalised at the settlement when all checks have been made, the title and transfer documents exchanged and the balance of the purchase price has been paid.

Finding your solicitor

Any solicitor you hire must have formal legal qualifications, hold a current practising certificate and have professional indemnity insurance. Your solicitor can perform general legal work for you and provide legal advice when you need it. Some solicitors specialise in conveyancing and property law. A list of recommended solicitors can be found under our links tab.