Should I sell my home myself?
If you have time and are organized, patient, and willing to work hard then axing the estate agent can save you money. But it is not for the fainthearted – or inexperienced.
- Saves money – estate agent’s fees can be as much as 2.5% of the value of your home. On a £200,000 property, you could save £5000. Online estate agents can be a cheaper option to consider but still cost a good few hundred pounds; see should I use an online estate agent.
- Cut out the self-interested middle man by dealing with buyers direct. A compelling argument for some who have fallen out with estate agents in the past and fail to see their worth
- You still have to spend money on marketing, and won’t have access to the main property portals, Rightmove and Zoopla, where most people look for a new home. This will significantly reduce your pool of potential buyers
- You are unlikely to have the first hand knowledge of the local market that estate agents do. You can easily lose money by undervaluing your house, or overvaluing it and not selling at all
- If you aren’t an experienced negotiator, you might not get the best price from a buyer
- You have to show the house yourself to potential buyers. If you are working this could be difficult
- Estate agents check the validity and financial situation of potential buyers and have checks in place to guard against fraud. You may be leaving yourself more exposed to fraudsters by selling directly through a private sale.
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Tips on selling your own home
If you are still determined to sell yourself, learn from the pros:
- Get a free instant online valuation and research what other properties near you have sold for when setting your sale price
- Use estate agents: get three or four round to value your house; you may not end up using them but they may impart some useful intelligence about the local market and advise on what price to sell your home for;
- Compare your house to similar houses on the market, or those that have recently sold. Check out the links at end of this guide to find out local property prices
- Selling in the spring and summer attracts higher prices
- Set your asking price at 5-10% above what you would accept, to allow for negotiation
- Measure up! If you don’t produce accurate measurements of the property, you could possibly be sued for misrepresentation. If you are not confident employ a surveyor to do a floor-plan. See What sort of survey should I have?
- Use high quality photographs
- Set up a temporary email address so that you can use it all over the web. Not only will this keep your selling process more organised, it will also reduce spam
- Be prepared to hold viewings whenever it suits the buyer
- Avoid unnecessary and repetitive questions during viewings by filling out a property information form like the one by the Law Society
- Make an inventory list of fixtures and fittings, so buyers know what they’re getting
- Get an energy performance certificate. These are a legal requirement, and contain information on your home’s typical energy use and cost, and a recommendation of how to reduce energy consumption. They usually cost £70 to £90
- Don’t be afraid to go back. If after several months you haven’t sold, approach an estate agent. There’s no shame in it, and they’ll welcome you with open arms (and a knowing smile)
- For more helpful information on selling your home see our guide: Top Tips: how to make your home more saleable – and valuable
DIY marketing your home: 5 ways to attract buyers
Once you have your house on the market, you need to ensure as many people as possible come to see it:
- Invest in a high quality ‘For Sale’ sign. These usually cost £40-50.
- Internet advertising – flood free internet listings. Most home buyers start their search on the internet so you’ll want to be on the main property portals, Rightmove and Zoopla. However these sites don’t take private listings. So consider investing in a quality online estate agent who will list your house for you. These are much cheaper than a standard agent, selling your home for a few hundred pounds.
- Local newspapers – still a sought after location for property adverts
- Leafleting – consider putting leaflets up in shop windows or through people’s door
- Organise an open day where potential buyers can come round to view your home. This way you can make the viewings fit around your schedule