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Although most people hire an estate agent to help them sell their house, the number of those doing it themselves is increasing. The digital revolution has made it much easier to carry out many of the services agents provide. However, there are lots to think about and not everybody will be confident enough to go it alone.
When you sell your house without the help of an estate agent, it’s known as a private sale. This could potentially save you thousands of pounds in fees. However, it’s not right for everybody since you’ll have to take on all the jobs the agent usually takes care of.
If you’d like to avoid paying estate agent fees and the hassle of selling your home on the open market, we can help. We specialise in buying homes as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible.
How to sell a house privately
Firstly, you need to be sure you have the time, confidence and enough knowledge of the process to oversee it yourself. If you decide to go ahead, here’s how to get the ball rolling:
- Research the market to work out what the asking price for your home should be. You can see how many homes in your area have sold for. If you are considering using a traditional agent, they will also give you a market appraisal.
- Take pictures of your property that show it off in the best possible light.
- Design a floorplan, you can either use the one you were given when you bought the house if nothing has changed or create your own using an app.
- Measure your rooms and write a description of them and your home.
- Post on local online forums and list your home on sites such as Gumtree and Facebook and property portals that allow private sales.
- Advertise in local magazines and newspapers.
- Put up your own ‘for sale’ sign.
- If you need help with photographs, designing floor plans or writing enticing descriptions, you can hire relatively cost-effective professionals on sites such as PeoplePerHour.
Once you have generated some interest, you will need to start preparing for viewings. Not everybody is comfortable doing these, but it’s worth remembering you know more about your home and the local area than anybody else.
To help them go as smoothly as possible, plan the route you’ll take during viewing and try to end it in the most impressive part of your home. Also, book them in for a time when you know you’ll have had a chance to tidy beforehand. On the tour accentuate the positives but don’t try to oversell your home, buyers are likely to see through this. Afterwards, if you’re comfortable doing this, let them wander around without you so they can discuss what they think and come back to you with questions.
After you receive an offer
Without an estate agent you will have to conduct all the negotiations when you receive offers. You can ask people to send them by email if you feel uneasy doing it face to face. Remember, you do not have to accept an offer even if it is for the asking price. Nobody will mind if you politely decline, you do not have to explain yourself but they’ll understand if you say you’re waiting to see if there’s more interest.
Once you’ve accepted an offer you will still need to undertake conveyancing. This is the legal process of transferring ownership of a home. Although you can do this yourself it is safer to hire a legal professional to take on what is often a complex and time consuming job.
Is DIY right for you?
Some people fall into doing it themselves. If a relative is buying your home or a stranger has expressed an interest in buying in the area, it’s sensible to carry on without an agent since much of their work is done.
However, there’s a lot to consider if you’re taking on the process from the beginning. Do you want to move quickly? Do you have enough knowledge of what’s required? Do you have the time to organise and carry it out? Are you happy conducting viewings of your home? Are you comfortable negotiating directly with people?
If you can, talk to others who have done it and ask how they found the experience. Also, research your local market. If homes are selling quickly, it’ll be easier to sell your house without an agent. In slower markets, their skills often come to the fore. Either way, you can always dip your toe in before opting for an agent if it doesn’t work out or turn to us for a fast, guaranteed sale.
Why you might opt for a private sale
The main reason people opt to do it themselves is to save money. Estate agent fees are usually between 1% and 2% of the sale value of a property. Other than stamp duty, they are the largest cost involved in a housing transaction.
On a home of £300,000, the fees are likely to be between £3,000 and £6,000. The temptation to avoid those is understandable. But you will still need to pay for a qualified professional to carry out conveyancing, which is the legal process of transferring the ownership of a property.
You may also need to pay marketing costs, such as taking photos of your home and advertising it. You should also factor in how much of your time it will take and what value you place on that.
Occasionally someone will approach the house owner they have their eye on before it is on the market. Or maybe you are selling to a friend or relative. In these cases, it makes sense not to involve an estate agent, since half their job is already done.
If the opportunity to sell your home privately comes up while you are signed to an agent, you may be contractually obligated to pay the fees they would have earned. Always talk to them to find out where you stand, they may agree to reduce the fee if you find the buyer.
In a market where homes are selling quickly, and eager house hunters are using every avenue they can to find a property, selling yours without an agent may prove straightforward. If it isn’t you can always take it off the market and rethink your strategy.
Working with us
If you’re looking for a quick sale or have tried selling your house privately but had no luck, we offer another option. We buy houses without the involvement of estate agents and their fees, we also instruct and pay for solicitors.
In some cases you may be able to get a higher price on the open market. But because we buy using our own funds we are never part of an unpredictable chain of transactions which are so often the cause of delays and stress. This means we will give you a guaranteed completion date, if necessary this can be just seven days after starting the sale process.
If you’d like to find out more, we’d be happy to chat about our sell house fast service and your needs.