How to sell your home without an estate agent
Potential Estate Agent Fees:
At the time of writing, the average price of a property in the UK is £254,624*. So if you were to sell an average-priced house via an estate agent charging fees of 3%, it’ll cost you in excess of £7,500.
*Source: UK HPI May 2021
Last updated: 18/11/2021
The housing market in 2021 is buoyant, to say the least. Properties are selling fast, with vendors looking to make the most of their investments. But selling itself can be an expensive process, with stamp duty and various fees payable – including estate agents’ fees.
For this reason, homeowners may be considering going it alone when it comes to selling. It will take a bit of work and tenacity, and a lot of nerve and a thick skin…
But selling your home privately could prove a big cost-saver. Here are some steps to help you get started if you are thinking about selling your home without an estate agent.
The first step is to get your house in order. Make sure everything’s tidy, and in a good state of repair. If there are any niggling jobs you’ve been putting off, now’s the time to tackle them – you want your home to be as attractive as possible to prospective buyers.
Property expert, mentor and investor Mandy St John Davey advises: “First impressions really are key here – you want to maximise kerbside appeal. It's not just the interior that should look good; it's the exterior, because perhaps some buyers will drive past and look at the property before booking a viewing. Make sure that gardens and shrubs are kept neat and tidy. And touch up any outside paintwork, like flaky railings.”
Mandy also recommends enlisting a critical eye. Invite a trusted friend, colleague or family member to come round and play devil’s advocate – pointing out flaws and potential downsides you may have missed.
While it might be tempting to get a free valuation from an estate agent, it’s a good idea to spend a little bit of money when having the property valued. An independent valuer is likely to cost a few hundred pounds, but it’s worth getting this right. Setting the price too high is likely to put off buyers, but – worse still – undervaluing it may lose you a lot of money.
To make sure you’re not selling yourself short, supplement photos with an accurate floorplan. These are the two things online shoppers will look at first. Also, it’s worth including your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
When you’re happy it’s ready to go, it’s time to take snaps. Pick a nice sunny day, and take good-quality pictures of all the rooms from multiple angles. More is more here, as you want to give an accurate impression. Poor photography can make an indoor space look much smaller than it is.
Now it’s time to let the world know it’s on the market. One stumbling block is that big-hitting websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla tend to only list submissions from estate agents. So you might consider listing your property for free on sites such as The House Shop. Alternatively, some agents such as Strike offer a largely free service, including listing your property on the most well-known property sites.
Don’t hide anything from potential buyers. Painting over the cracks could cause problems down the line. If something comes up in a buyer’s survey that you haven’t disclosed, this could lead to a costly and stressful renegotiation.
This is where it’s important to know your onions. Be ready for awkward customers and probing questions. Have information such as the cost of council tax, all bills and your EPC to hand.
It’s also where thick skin is required. Mandy says: “It can be difficult when you’re emotionally attached to your property – especially if you've lived there for a long time, and put your own stamp on it – only to have somebody come in and directly criticise it.”
For this reason, you might consider asking a friend or family member to conduct the viewings, if they’re willing. Also, if organising too many viewings is likely to be disruptive, it may be helpful to host an open day on a weekend, seeing all interested parties in one go.
Mandy advises: “When you’re looking to move, you should have clear goals. Set a deadline for when you intend to have your property sold by. Be clear on the price, but consider what the minimum purchase price you’d drop down to would be and absolutely stick to that!
Before accepting an offer, find out if the prospective buyer is in a chain. The longer and more complex a chain, the further the sale is likely to drag on.
And while accepting an offer is a good feeling, bear in mind there’s still some way to go. At this point you want to bring a trusted solicitor or conveyancer on board.
Mandy says: “If you accept an offer, remember to confirm this in writing. This will help at the conveyancing stage, and leaves no scope for renegotiation. Agree a date for completion, as you don’t want it to drag out for months and months. This is where an estate agent would normally chase on your behalf, so be aware that you may need to be persistent to push the sale through.”