How to sell your house without an estate agent
Want to save money or boost your chances of a speedy sale? Here's how to sell your house privately, online, at auction or with a quick house sale company, plus how to prepare your property for sale
The average cost of moving house in the UK is now £10,414, according to research from reallymoving.
This jumps to nearly £14,000 in the East of England and more than £24,000 in London, though wherever you happen to live, a sizeable sum goes on estate agency fees which vary from 1-3.5 per cent of the selling price.
Even the input of an experienced agent is no guarantee that your home will sell quickly, and Zoopla reports that properties in British cities typically take 12 weeks to sell, compared with eight weeks in 2016.
If you want to cut costs of selling or speed up the process, why not try another route? We take a look at what’s on offer.
Settle for a private sale
Selling your home privately may seem an attractive proposition as there are no estate agency fees to pay. However, going it alone requires time, patience and resilience as you’ll be managing every aspect of the process yourself. Start by setting the price, guided by the value of similar local properties.
Next, write a description, commission an Energy Performance Certificate and get professional photos taken. You’re now ready to advertise on dedicated private sale sites, Gumtree, eBay, social media and in the local press. You won’t, however, be able to list on leading portals, Zoopla and Rightmove, where 95 per cent of house hunters begin their search. You’ll also have to conduct viewings, negotiations and agree the final price.
Go with an online estate agent
Online agents are cheaper than traditional agents as they don’t have high street offices to fork out for, so pass savings on to their clients. As fixed fees range from £99 to about £1,500, you could be quids in.
Customers generally pay upfront, regardless of whether or not their property sells, though they may be given the option of waiting until completion.
Check exactly what’s included – all companies should list on Rightmove and Zoopla and conduct negotiations, but you may have to write your own advert and host viewings, or pay extra for these add-ons. Hybrid agencies, such as Purplebricks and Yopa, offer a similar service to high street agencies, with dedicated agents to handle your sale.
Opt for an auction
Selling your property at auction gives you speed and certainty. Once the hammer falls, the buyer enters into a binding contract and can’t backtrack. Expect to pay the auctioneer about 2.5 per cent of the sale price and be sure to appoint a solicitor in advance as all the paperwork must be in order prior to the auction.
There’s no guarantee the property will sell or achieve the hoped-for figure, though you can set a reserve price – undisclosed to bidders – which is the minimum you’re prepared to accept, and any offers below this figure will be rejected. The advertised guide price can be set low to entice buyers, and if you’re lucky on the day of the auction, a bidding war could ensue.
Choose a quick house sale company
When you’re in a hurry to sell – for example, if you’re relocating for work or disposing of an inherited property – it’s worth considering a quick house sale company that will buy your property at a discount. Tread carefully, as this sector of the market is unregulated, with unscrupulous firms employing tricks, like dropping prices at the last minute.
Leading home buyer Quick Move Now pays 80-85 per cent of a property’s market value and advises that a genuine company should have a turnover of at least four million and a current balance of one million plus. They will also never ask you to pay any fees or sign a contract that ties you in for a period of time.
Other ways to sell
Buying agents or property finders are employed by purchasers to source their ideal home, so contacting a local company via Google could boost the prospects of selling your property privately. This is free, as fees are paid by buyers, and you’re more likely to be successful if your home has a USP like a great view or being in a sought-after school’s catchment.
Vendors upsizing to a new-build may be able to take advantage of the developer’s part-exchange incentive or get assistance with selling from a scheme such as Redrow’s Help to Sell. You could even organise a competition with your home as the prize, though the red tape is complex and success rates are low.
How to prepare your property for sale
Whichever method of selling you choose, making your home as presentable as possible for the marketing photos and viewings will increase its chances of selling quickly and achieving the best possible price. Tidying the front garden, pruning overhanging branches, repainting the front door and repairing rickety fencing will instantly enhance its kerb appeal.
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Declutter rooms, clean surfaces thoroughly – paying particular attention to the kitchen and bathrooms – let light flood in and ensure it smells good when potential buyers look around. Don’t forget that you’re required to produce an Energy Performance Certificate, detailing the property’s energy efficiency. This is normally arranged by the estate agent, but if selling privately, find a Domestic Energy Assessor to undertake it at www.epcregister.com.
- www.auctionhouse.co.uk is the UK’s largest residential property auctioneer
- Find a user-friendly guide to selling at www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-sell-a-home/how-to-sell-a-home
- HomeOwners Alliance offers expert advice on all aspects of selling
- www.theadvisory.co.uk provides free, detailed information for sellers