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Selling you home yourself

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.

Advantages

  • 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

Disadvantages

  • 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.

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

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9 Comments

  1. Dear Michael,

    Do have a read of our useful guide Clever questions to ask when choosing an estate agent to sell your home. If you are thinking of selling your home yourself you would need to consider the section describing types of estate agents contracts. For example, in a sole selling rights contract you will have to pay that estate agent, even if you find your own buyer and that agent is the only one allowed to sell your home during the term of the contract. If there is an ready, able and willing purchaser clause in the contract you would have to pay the agent their commission for finding a buyer, even if you decide not to sell. We can guide you further if you choose to join us.

    Best wishes,
    Sophie
    HomeOwners Alliance

    Comment by Sophie Khan — July 6, 2017 @ 2:46 pm

  2. Hi, I am now with my second estate agent. I thought I was unlucky with my first choice. The first agent turning potential buyers away telling them the house had been sold ” I wish”, end of a long list of problems. They try you make you feel you, you should be grateful for picking them. My second agent, no contact, no viewing, no advice. Aren’t they the experts, what am I paying for??? Tied into a 3 month contract. Will investigate further at selling the property myself.
    Very unhappy house seller.

    Mike

    Comment by Michael Jones — July 4, 2017 @ 6:16 pm

  3. Hi !

    This is a very interesting article. Indeed you are right : choosing to sell by yourself your house or leaving into the hands of professionals can both be an opportunity or a threat.
    If you choose the right estate agent you might enjoy its network but you will lose money in the same time.

    One of the most interesting marketing tool to sell your house is leaflet distribution : you reach directly potential customers. I have been working in the industry and I can guarantee you that it is far common for estate agents to use this method. Indeed it has been proven to guarantee one of the highest return on investment.

    Comment by Francois Chevalier — August 27, 2015 @ 10:08 am

  4. Very useful pointers in this article. Just terminated a contract with an estate agent after amateurish service. It would have riled us to pay them £6,000 for the privilege! Considering selling ourselves after friends have noted that we have an unusual house in a sought after location. Homeowners need to empower themselves with new models of sale…

    Comment by Pauline — August 15, 2015 @ 8:24 am

  5. Very helpfull web site. I have just had a very bad experiance dealing with local Estate agents. It cost me the home i was going to move into, will never use estate agents again selling now using an online estate agent its worked out better price and less bullshit.

    Comment by M Reeves — June 27, 2015 @ 11:15 am

  6. Great article! I’ve had luck selling two properties using HomeWebo in the past. For someone who knows very little about marketing online it did it all for me for cheap (I think is was 30-40 USD?) You choose a template, add your information, pictures, links, etc. and direct potential buyers to your site.

    Comment by Nicole — June 11, 2015 @ 9:29 pm

  7. a very informative site and yes I think I will have a go at selling my house. I am a first time seller and am not too sure what to do but it seems if you take each step one day at a time then it can be a sucessful venture.

    Comment by Glynis Wright — January 26, 2015 @ 7:46 am

  8. GOOD ARTICLE
    THANK UOU

    Comment by RUDY VELIK — November 18, 2014 @ 12:18 am

  9. OMG! Estate agents are players. I am sure they keep a golden carrot just out of reach. They know how desperate you need to sell or buy and keep you hanging. Playing mystery rivals against each other. I hated the whole experience. It’s a corrupt nation. The property ladder has some rotten steps in it. When I move again me and my wife will do it our selves. Should save about 5-10k of our money.

    Comment by Stu — May 24, 2014 @ 12:44 pm

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