Selling A House Privately
It’s widely known that selling a property using estate agents is both stressful and time-consuming (especially whilst buying a new one), yet more homeowners are choosing to sell privately than ever before.
Simply put, selling your house privately means putting your property on the market without using an estate agent. If you’re keen to avoid estate agency fees and keep a higher percentage of the money after the sale, selling your house yourself is well worth considering.
In this guide
What does selling privately involve?
While it could save you money, selling your house privately will inevitably cost you time. From arranging the advertising to consulting with buyers and organising viewings, estate agents do the majority of the legwork in a property sale. Taking this on yourself is not an easy process.
That being said, with the right attitude and dedication, managing your own house sale is entirely possible and financially beneficial. With this in mind, we’ve put together a handy guide to walk you through the process, step by step.
- Make Sure Your Property is Fit to Sell
When it comes to viewings, first impressions really are everything. Some buyers might be up for the challenge of a renovation, but most are looking for a low-maintenance property, with minimum repairs and upkeep. A little TLC goes a long way, so here are a few things you can do to make it more attractive to potential buyers:
- Maximise curb appeal: although a presentable interior is essential, the exterior is the first thing the buyer sees. There are plenty of things you can do to spruce up this area, like painting your front door, adding some greenery and making sure wheelie bins are out of sight.
- The cleaner the better: de-cluttering alone isn’t enough, it’s time for a deep clean. Clear out the utility room, get the windows done, and pay extra attention to the kitchen and bathrooms – a good scrub can make all the difference here.
- Neutral décor is a blank canvas: it’s important for a potential buyer to be able to envision themselves in your property. Neutral tones are an easy way to do this, as is limiting the number or personal items and photographs scattered throughout your home.
- Carry out any minor repairs: these could be so small that they’ve gone unnoticed by you for years, but a buyer will notice cracked tiles, a leaky tap or a worn patch of carpet. If you’d like a detailed evaluation of your property’s condition, instruct a surveyor to carry out a full structural survey.
Once you feel like your home is in a sellable condition, ask a friend or family member to come and inspect the property; a fresh pair of eyes could reveal small issues that you’d overlooked.
- Set a Realistic Asking Price
When you’re selling your house privately, establishing a fair asking price can be daunting. You might not want to involve an estate agent directly in the sale, but most companies offer house valuations free of charge. Getting two or three different agents to value your property will give you a clear idea of a fair asking price, but it’s also worth checking listings in local papers for similar properties in the area.
Some other factors to consider in your asking price are as follows:
- The age of your home
- Number of bedrooms
- Size and shape of your garden
- Parking spaces available
- Location and proximity to amenities
- Advertise Your Property Properly
So, you’ve worked out your asking price and cleaned the house from top to bottom; it’s time to advertise. Start by taking some high-resolution images of your property – doing this on a sunny day maximises natural light and makes rooms look more spacious. It might be worth hiring a professional photographer to do this for you, as aesthetically appealing images are the key to securing viewings.
As you’re selling your home without an estate agent, you need to be an opportunist when it comes to ads. You could list your property in the local newspaper, on community noticeboards, on social media and via online property portals; you may even attract buyers by putting a ‘for sale’ sign outside.
In your listing, ensure that you provide potential buyers with any documents that explain the finer details of your home, including a room-by-room guide, a floor plan and a recent EPC.
- Host Friendly and Informative Viewings
The way you show people around your home is bound to have an impact on their impression of the property, and therefore whether they decide to make an offer. Before your first viewing, decide on a sensible route for the tour, and give each room its own purpose (rebrand the box room as the study, or a guest bedroom).
Stay friendly and professional, be sure not to rush, and be positive about the property throughout. Make sure you highlight your home’s best features, and at the end of the viewing give the buyer the chance to ask questions. This is your opportunity to ease any concerns about the house, and reiterate your key selling points.
- Don’t be Afraid to Negotiate
Without an estate agent, the challenge of negotiating a price with the buyer falls to you. Setting a fair asking price will help you to stand your ground during negotiations, but decide the minimum figure you’d be willing to accept beforehand, and stick to this figure if you can. If you do decide to turn down an offer, be sure to do so politely; maintaining a good relationship with potential buyers may make them more likely to put in a second offer further down the line.
When you do get an offer you’d like to accept, do it verbally first and then follow up with confirmation via email or post. Nothing is legal until the exchanging of contracts, but having the accepted offer in writing will make the conveyancing process easier to monitor.
You then need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to attend to the legal documentation; the buyer may instruct their own surveyor in this time, and it’s possible they’ll want to re-negotiate the price. This process is called concluding the missives, and can take between a fortnight and several months to complete.
Sellers usually resort to private house sales in order to avoid the fees associated with instructing Estate Agents. As an alternative, you could consider selling your property with an online estate agent. They handle the sale process on your behalf like a traditional estate agent would, but they cost far less.
Read more about online estate agents here.
Although selling your home privately can be stressful, you could ultimately save thousands of pounds in seller fees. If you’re not time-poor and you have the determination, it could be the perfect option for you.
Don’t want to involve an estate agent or manage the sale yourself? Consider selling your home to a reputable quick house sale company like Good Move. We’re a regulated property buyer, who’ll purchase any home for up to 85% of market value. Completion can take a little as 10 days, so contact the experienced Good Move team today for a free cash offer.