There are a million and one costs associated with selling a house, not least of which are estate agents’ fees. Wouldn’t you grab the opportunity to save on some of those costs and increase your profit margin when you sell your house?
There are a million and one costs associated with selling a house, not least of which are estate agents’ fees. Wouldn’t you grab the opportunity to save on some of those costs and increase your profit margin when you sell your house? You can if you sell your house privately or often referred to a for sale by owner. But is selling your house yourself right for you? We take a closer look at private property sales in the UK, so you can judge for yourself whether you’re ready for a DIY home selling project.
How hard are you willing to work?
That’s the first question you need to ask yourself when you’re considering a private sale. The beauty of estate agents is that they do all the work for you, from hammering in for sale signs and arranging viewings to negotiations and legal wrangling. When you sell your house privately, you have to do all of that yourself, as well as market your property and arrange for all the proper surveys and inspections.
The happy medium
One way for you to save thousands of pounds in estate agents fees while still retaining most of the control over the house selling process is to use an online estate agent. Online estate agents offer various packages at fixed fees, so you can determine exactly how much you want to spend and how much work you want to do to sell your house yourself. For example, Tepilo has three packages, with a range of services that include advertising your property on the website as well as other major property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, managing enquiries and viewings and negotiating the selling price. Optional extras include professional photography, EPC (energy performance certificate) and discount conveyancing.
According to Brian Milligan, you also have the option of selling your house privately alongside an estate agent. However, you have to be very careful when entering into this kind of contract because you need to be absolutely sure that if you sell your house on your own, you don’t end up having to pay agents’ fees. The wording is in the completion agreement, so take your magnifying glass and scrutinise the fine print. However when using Tepilo as your sole agent you may want to opt for our Option 3 package where in the event of finding yourself a private house sale you will have only spent a very small amount of money.
Tips for selling your house privately
If you do want to sell your house on your own, without an estate agent, here are some tips on how to sell your house privately, not to mention quickly.
- Get a valuation and set your price.
You need to know how much your house is currently worth on the property market, so the first thing you need to do is get a professional valuation. Most estate agents offer obligation-free valuations, but if you don’t feel it would be ethical to take advantage of their free service and then not use them, you can always use an online valuation site. Propertypriceadvice.co.uk, Zoopla and Nethouseprices all offer free valuations.
You should also research property prices in your area. Again, you can use Zoopla for this, or Rightmove or even the house price index on Land Registry.
- Upload your house to online property sites and otherwise market your property.
Unfortunately, the super online property portals are reserved for estate agents and not private house sales, but there are other options if you want to sell your home yourself. There are several “for sale by owner” websites. There are also the traditional methods, including newspaper property listings, pamphlets and plain old word-of-mouth.
Some of the “for sale by owner” sites provide property listings for free, while others charge a small listing fee. Some services are more comprehensive than others. For example, some free services might include a description only and no photos, while others might allow you to add photos and even a video for a fee. Check out the different options and different prices before you register and start selling your house online.
(Bonus tip: Always choose an option that allows you to upload photos. Good quality photos are invaluable in the house selling process, whether you choose an estate agent or sell your home privately.)
- Arrange viewings.
Before you invite people to view your home, make sure it’s “viewing friendly”. Give it a thorough clean and make sure all the niggly little repairs that you keep promising to do are done. Prepare a sales pitch, but don’t make it too salesy. Be friendly and polite and don’t crowd your viewers. You want to give them information about the house and emphasise its selling points, but you don’t want to put them off with too much gushing or over enthusiasm. Remember, TMI can sink your prospects.
Arrange viewings for times that suit you. If you find that people want to view your house when you’re not available, ask a friend to help out. Remember that you are inviting strangers into your home – people about whom you know nothing – so keep your guard up and try not to conduct viewings alone.
- Negotiate and accept offers.
You’ve done the homework and you know what your house is worth, so you should have a minimum price in mind. Don’t go below it – no matter how nice the people are or how much you don’t like haggling. Don’t shut people down completely; make a counter offer and let them decide if they think the house is worth it. If not, you can politely tell them that you are going to consider other offers.
When someone makes an offer you like, you can accept it verbally and then follow it up with a written acceptance – email will do. Then contact a solicitor or conveyancer and get the legal ball rolling. You can find a conveyancer on the Council for Licensed Coveyancers website. The Law Society will help you find a solicitor near you but when using Tepilo, we can look after this in house for you.
Remember that it can take several weeks to finalise the sale, so be patient.
When all is said and done, online estate agents can offer you the best balance – little to no work for you at a very reasonable rate – but you can still be involved and keep a degree of control!