How do you sell your house privately? Selling your home yourself, often referred to as ‘selling privately’, means not using an estate agent, but using an online estate agent is different – right? There’s not a lot of difference – except the online estate agency route is usually much cheaper, but the service could be appreciably less, costing you money in the long run.
Is selling your house privately a false economy?
Many people believe that ‘selling your home privately’ is simple, and estate agents are too expensive for what they do and for the services they provide. But is this always true? For example, if you use an estate agent instead of selling your house yourself, the cost will be more; but if you get a higher price for your home than selling it yourself, this will offset the additional cost.
If you aren’t a good negotiator and don’t understand the local housing market (or the stages involved in selling a house), then maybe you should quit while you’re ahead! Let’s look at a scenario.
A house seller values his home at say £100,000 and puts it in the local newspaper, and a property buyer offers the asking price within a few hours of the advert appearing – a good result, 100% of the asking price! Sounds good, but is it all it seems?
Let’s explore the facts. The customer has valued the property at £100,000 – what research has the customer done in arriving at this price? Is it realistic or gas he undervalued? Could the customer have got a lot more?
Before setting a selling price, a good local estate agent would have:
- Looked at current selling prices for similar properties for sale
- Checked local historical sold house prices for similar properties
- Considered any unique features for which homebuyers could have paid a premium
- Checked his list for waiting customers looking for precisely this kind of home and prepared to pay the top price
- Ensured the property got the widest exposure with millions of potential buyers via portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla or OnTheMarket
- Set the price according to current market conditions and tested the click-through rate (CTR) of the property advertised on the portals
Advertising only in the local paper means that a home will not get the exposure needed. Many potential buyers don’t read the property supplements of the local ‘property guides’ therefore restricting the property’s exposure to potential customers. So selling your house yourself could leave you seriously short on the marketing effort, costing you money.
If the estate agent charges 1.5%, i.e. £1,500, and the sale price achieved by the agent said £120,000, then clearly selling a house privately yourself is a false economy!
Selling your home privately after trying out an estate agent.
Many home sellers will try to sell themselves after becoming disillusioned by the services of an estate agent and try to sell themselves privately. Is this a good idea? Probably not, as selling your house privately, you won’t have the estate agent’s local knowledge or access to any property portals, essential in this day and age to get the necessary exposure. Portals ensure your home receives plenty of exposure. If you are contemplating selling privately and have your home currently on the market with an agent, then ask for the marketing statistics before you cancel your contract with them. The marketing statistics are handy and help you set a realistic selling price if you’re selling your property privately.
Service level differences – traditional estate agents and online estate agents
What differences are there between conventional and online estate agents? The main visible difference will be that the traditional estate agent usually has a high street shop or office that you can visit to discuss your house sale. There are pros and cons with online estate agents; most are generally not local to where you are selling a home. Often they will be located in some cheap offices or even a call centre – if they’re large enough – but this doesn’t mean that the service level will be hugely different. Online agents can do business on the phone; customers could take photos, write their descriptions and send them to the agent via email or by filling in an online web form! House sellers are expected to do their viewings and leave the prospective buyer to liaise with the online agent regarding offers to buy that they may wish to make.
Other differences in selling your house privately as opposed to a traditional estate agent will probably include:
- The online agent will usually have much cheaper fees than the traditional estate agent
- The online agent will do everything via the telephone – no face to face meetings etc.
- Most advertising by the online agent will be done on portals, whereas the traditional agent will also probably use the local newspapers.
If, after reading this, you’ve gone off the idea of selling privately, and don’t wish to deal with an estate agent, then consider other options to sell your home.