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Selling your house without an estate agent

Estate agent’s fees form a considerable part of the expenses of selling your property, and you might find yourself with a bill of around 2.5% of the selling price.

With the average house in the UK now valued at around £220,000, this could be as much as £5,500, so selling your house without using an estate agent sounds like an attractive idea. If you are well-organised, experienced and have enough time, you can certainly sell a property yourself, but the task is not one for the fainthearted!

The advantage of selling a property yourself

The main advantage of selling your house without an estate agent is the money that you will save. Even if you have shopped around and negotiated a good price, an estate agent will charge you at least 0.75% of the selling price of your property – and possibly quite a lot more.

The second plus point is that if you are skilled at negotiating with prospective buyers, you can do this yourself without the need of employing a third party, who as well as getting a good price for you will also have their own interests at heart. If you have previously had a less than favourable experience with an estate agent, the idea of managing everything for yourself can be very appealing.

The disadvantages of selling a property yourself

  • You will have the trouble and expense of marketing your house yourself and you will not be able to access Rightmove or Zoopla, the two property websites that receive the most traffic.
  • You will have to price your house yourself. Without the expert knowledge of the local property market that a good estate agent will have at his or her fingertips, it’s all too easy to undervalue or overvalue your property, which could end up losing you money.
  • Be prepared to show prospective buyers around yourself, which could be difficult to arrange if you are working.
  • You will also have to negotiate with them for the best price, which many people find embarrassing and difficult unless they are skilled in this field.
  • It will be difficult to check the financial status of your prospective buyers so you may leave yourself open to timewasters or even to fraud.

Tips on marketing your property

If you decide to go ahead and market your property yourself, it’s still advisable to get two or three valuations from local estate agents. You’re not obliged to put your house on the market with any of them but they will be able to offer expert, up to date advice on the local property market. If you later change your mind about selling your house yourself, you will have some useful contacts at your fingertips.

  • Put your property on the market in spring or summer as you are likely to get a better price. Your property should be looking its best then, and many buyers don’t like the idea of moving house in the winter time if it can be avoided
  • Measure your property accurately and create a floor plan. If you are not confident about doing this yourself, consider employing a surveyor.
  • Declutter and deep-clean your house. If you have a lot of possessions, consider putting some of them into storage to make your house look more spacious. Make sure the area around the front door looks welcoming – a few flower pots by the porch give a good first impression. It’s probably not worth doing major renovations such as replacing the kitchen or bathroom, but repaint tired cupboards and scuffed walls so that buyers feel they can live with them until they are replaced.
  • Once your property is looking its best, take top-quality photographs. They can really sell a property – make sure they are taken from angles that show off your house at its best and don’t forget to take some of the gardens. Employing a professional photographer for this could end up saving you thousands of pounds.
  • Get an EPC – an Energy Performance Certificate. This rates the energy use and cost of your property on a scale from A to G. An EPC is required by law and is valid for ten years. An independent assessor will survey your property and you should expect to pay around £80 – £100.
  • Set your initial price at about 5% – 10% above what you would like to receive, as this leaves room for negotiating with your buyers.
  • Be prepared to show viewers around at times that are convenient to them.
  • Never be afraid to admit defeat – if your property hasn’t sold after a few months, there’s no shame in putting it on the market with an estate agent and letting the experts take care of the sale.
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