How To Sell A Private House
When you think of selling your home, you probably think of working with an estate agent to list it, waiting for potential buyers to tour, getting an offer, waiting on their mortgage company, and then finally reaching the day of completion. That’s not the only way to sell a house in the UK. Instead, private house sales are just as common, and they’re a great way to ensure your home moves quickly on and off the market. What is a private sale of a house, though, and how do you make this unique opportunity work for you so you can find the right buyer and move on to your next home? This guide can answer all of your questions.
Selling A House Privately – Understanding Exactly What It Means
If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology here, it may help to better understand the difference between a private sale and those you might see more traditionally. A private house sale in the UK refers to the process of selling a property directly by the owner. There are no estate agents involved in this kind of sale. In some cases, you might see a sale like this listed as FSBO, or For Sale by Owner. Instead of handling things in the traditional manner, with a private house for sale, the property owner takes on the responsibility for almost everything. As the property owner in a private house sale, you’ll be responsible for marketing the property, arranging viewings, negotiating with potential buyers, and handling the sale’s legal aspects.
The Pros And Cons Of Private House Selling
As with every other method of selling your home, there are both benefits and drawbacks to having a house for sale privately. Understanding both sides is essential to deciding whether this is the best method to help you sell your home.
Maybe the most important benefit of private sales is the fact that there’s a massive cost savings involved. In these kinds of sales, you can completely avoid estate agent fees. On average, estate agent fees usually run between 1% to 3% of the property’s sale price, although it can sometimes be higher or lower depending on the circumstances. It’s worth noting that VAT (Value Added Tax) is usually added on top of the fees, currently at a rate of 20%. Imagine, then, that you’re selling your home for £275,000. If you were to talk to an estate agent who was going to charge 1.18% plus VAT, you’d end up paying them close to £4,000 just for handling the sale of your house. That’s quite a bit of extra money you won’t have to pay if you decide to move forward with a private house sale.
There are other benefits, too. One is that you can expect a higher level of control with a private house sale. This means that you will be able to directly manage everything. For example, you can handle exactly how much you should sell your home for, how and where it should be marketed, and all of the negotiations with potential buyers. That means real flexibility for you, as well as the ability to make all of the decisions. Often you’ll see estate agent horror stories reported on Rightmove or in outlets like the Guardian, and those alone may convince you that going with a private house sale is a must. For example, one story reported on Rightmove had a couple visiting a property with an estate agent who gave them the wrong details about the home. He told them there was the potential for extending the property by adding a conservatory, yet they were on the third floor of a five-storey block. You don’t need mistakes like that when you go to sell your home, and handling a private house sale on your own can help you prevent them. This also means you’ll be communicating one-on-one with buyers. If you’re not interested in compromising on one point but are willing to make sacrifices in another area, you can do so. This direct interaction can foster a better understanding of buyer preferences and needs, potentially leading to more effective negotiations and a smoother transaction process.
Not everything is a benefit when it comes to private house sales, though. There are some drawbacks as well. One is that you simply won’t reach as many buyers. Without the marketing reach and expertise estate agents across the UK have, you’re just not going to reach the same overall number of buyers. For you, this may mean fewer inquiries and potentially a longer time on the market before you find the perfect buyer to meet your needs.
Along with that problem, you’re going to find plenty of marketing challenges. If you want to successfully market your property, it’s going to take quite a bit of your own time and effort. You’ll also need a deeper knowledge of exactly what you’re doing. If this is your first foray into the real estate market, though, that can be difficult. You have to be able to create a strong listing, take great photos, and post all of that information in spaces where you’ll reach a wider audience. Estate agents have professional marketing resources at their fingertips, but you won’t have that benefit. You’ll need to put quite a bit of time into this step, as it’s key to finding the perfect buyers.
Don’t forget that the marketing of your property isn’t the only spot where you’ll be adding responsibilities to your life that will cost you quite a bit of time. You’ll also have to respond to all of the inquiries on your home, take on all of the potential property viewings, and then handle the negotiations and legal processes on your own. If you already have a tight schedule, this can be a bit overwhelming.
For most, the biggest drawback is the legal complexities involved in a home sale. With a private home sale, you’ll be the person who has to negotiate the sale price and navigate all of the legal aspects of the transaction, and that’s a tall order when you don’t have any experience in this area. Mistakes can be made, and those mistakes could have costly repercussions. You’ll need to work closely with a solicitor to ensure your mistakes don’t mean you can’t finalise the sale of your home.
Prepping Your Home For Buyers
Still ready to proceed with the private sale of your house? The next step is to prepare your home. There are many steps involved, and you’ll find them fairly similar to the steps involved when you sell your home with an estate agent.
- It Starts with Asking Price: Before you do anything else, you’ll want to decide on the right asking price for your home. This can be a bit intense in terms of research. Start by researching the local property market. Look at recent sales of similar properties in your area to get an idea of the selling prices. Websites, property portals, and local estate agents’ listings can provide valuable data on recent sales and property values. Next, think about the unique features and characteristics of your property. Consider its size, condition, age, layout, number of bedrooms, garden, parking, and any renovations or upgrades you have made. All of these features can help shift the price of your home. Finally, compare your property to similar ones currently on the market. Look at listings for properties with similar characteristics and locations to see how they are priced. This can give you an indication of the competition and help you position your asking price accordingly. If you’re still a bit unsure, it may help to have a professional valuation done on your property. It may cost you a bit, but it will give you a clearer sense of what your property is worth.
- Do a Bit of Interior Work: The next step is to address any potential issues with the interior of your home. Start with a good cleaning. Address every room of your home, paying attention to areas that are easily overlooked, such as windows, baseboards, carpets, and grout lines. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to declutter and depersonalise a bit. The goal here is to help your buyers envision themselves in your space. To make that happen, you want to create a clean, spacious feel in every room. Think about storing or packing personal items and anything that just seems unnecessary to the room. You’ll also want to sell or store any excess furniture. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to address any problems you’ve uncovered in your cleaning and decluttering. Make any necessary repairs and perform maintenance tasks. Fix leaky faucets, patch any holes or cracks in walls, replace burnt-out light bulbs, and address any other visible issues. Small repairs can improve the overall impression of your home and reassure buyers about its condition. You may also want to consider neutralising the colour scheme of your home. If you have the time and money, think about repainting walls in neutral tones to create a blank canvas that appeals to a broader range of buyers.
- Address any Curb Appeal Issues: The outside of your house is just as important as the inside, particularly given the fact that buyers will have an immediate impression of your house the moment they pull up in front of it. Initially, you’ll want to ensure the exterior of your home is clean and well-maintained. Power wash the walls, clean windows, and remove any dirt, cobwebs, or debris. Repair or replace any damaged or worn-out elements on your home like cladding. You’ll also want to ensure pathways, driveways, and entrances are clean and in good condition. Repair any cracks or damage, weed the areas, and consider power washing to remove stains. Add fresh gravel or new paving if necessary. Additionally, you should Pay attention to your garden and landscaping. Keep the lawn well-maintained by mowing, edging, and removing any weeds. Trim hedges, bushes, and trees to create a neat and tidy appearance. Add colourful flowers or potted plants to create a welcoming atmosphere. Finally, make the front door and porch area attractive and inviting. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint or stain, update the hardware if needed, and ensure it is clean and free of scuffs. Add potted plants, a doormat, and tasteful decor to create a warm welcome.
Once you’ve taken these steps, it’s finally time to list your home, and that step may take almost as much work as preparing your home for sale.
Houses For Sale Privately – The Best Marketing Strategies
When your home is ready for viewings from potential buyers, you’ll need to market aggressively. However, with a private house sale, marketing can be one of the most difficult parts of the equation. Initially, you’ll need some photos of the home to include in all of your adverts. Unless you happen to have a career in real estate photography, you may want to hire a professional photographer to complete this task. The reason behind this is fairly simple. Professional photographers have the expertise and equipment to capture high-quality images of your home. They know how to optimise lighting, angles, and composition to showcase the best features of each room. High-quality images can make your property stand out among other listings and attract more potential buyers. Remember, the visual appeal of your property is crucial in capturing the attention of potential buyers. Professional photographers have an eye for detail and can highlight the unique aspects and selling points of your home. They can capture the essence and atmosphere of each room, creating a positive impression in the minds of potential buyers. Almost more important is the fact that in a competitive market, professional photography can give your property the edge you need. Listings with high-quality images tend to receive more views and inquiries compared to those with lower-quality or amateur photos, which is essential if you’re going to handle the sale of this house on your own. By investing in professional photography, you increase the chances of attracting serious buyers and standing out from the competition.
When you have photos, it’s time to create the text for your real estate listing. That should start with a brainstorming session. Think about the best features of your home. This list is just for you. What does your home have to offer that a buyer in today’s market might want? For example, are you close to great transport links? Are you across the street from a beautiful local green space? Do you have a recent remodel you want to feature? After you get done with your list, it’s time to start writing.
Begin the process with a great headline. Most listings on sites feature a fantastic headline, and yours should be no different. Remember to be as descriptive as possible. Phrases like “Recently Remodeled” or “Adorable Cottage” are immediately going to paint a picture in a reader’s mind.
After you’ve come up with a good headline, design a convincing opening statement. It’s critical to get this piece right because if you craft it well, a potential buyer will continue to read. If it doesn’t capture their attention, though, they won’t stick with you. Your goal should be to make your property sound interesting. For example, “A three-bedroom detached home in the West Midlands,” is nowhere near as interesting as “A unique, beautiful Tudor-style detached home on a tree-lined drive in the West Midlands.” A reader will immediately be captured by the second description and move on to learn more about the home. If they’re bored, though, they might click on a different listing.
As you get into the body of the ad, you’ll need that list you made. Offer the best features of the property first. Try to avoid catch-all terms like amazing or beautiful. Instead, go with things that sound a bit more interesting like specific surfaces: granite, hardwood, neutral colours, traditional wainscotting, etc. Be sure to appeal to a reader’s emotions as much as possible. Remember that you have a goal – to get them to book a viewing. Maximise that potential by describing and creating a mental picture that accompanies the actual pictures you have perfectly.
When you have photos and an ad, you’re ready to list. You may want to take one additional step, though. Many who choose houses for sale in private transactions also upload a video tour of their home to potential buyers. Wondering why? A video allows potential buyers to get a more immersive and comprehensive view of your property compared to static images. It provides a dynamic experience, showcasing the flow, layout, and dimensions of each room. Videos can capture the atmosphere, natural light, and overall feel of the property, giving viewers a better sense of what it would be like to live there. Additionally, videos tend to capture attention and engage viewers more effectively than static images or text. They can create an emotional connection with potential buyers and pique their interest in your property. By offering a video, you can stand out from other listings and increase the likelihood of viewers spending more time exploring your property.
The next step is to list your home. While Rightmove may come to mind first, it’s important to note that only registered estate agents can advertise homes there. This is also true for sites like Zoopla. You can use an online estate agent, though, that will allow you to list your property on these sites, handle all of the enquiries yourself, and still sell your house privately. There are fees involved, but the exposure you get from those platforms is quite helpful. You could also use other sites that were specifically built for private sales or social media sites that will help you gain exposure. Don’t forget to market offline too. Many shops will put a flyer up on a community board for you, and simply sticking a “For Sale” sign in the front garden is a great way to reach people.
All of that advertisements should have people calling you fairly regularly, which means it’s time to move on to the next step, conducting viewings of your home. Greet potential buyers with a friendly smile and make them feel welcome as they arrive. Offer to take their coats and shoes and provide any necessary information about the property. Begin the viewing by introducing yourself and providing a brief overview of the property. Highlight key features, recent renovations, or upgrades that may be of interest. Mention any relevant information about the local area, such as schools, amenities, or transportation links. Throughout the viewing, emphasise the key selling points of your home. Showcase any unique features, architectural details, or recent improvements. Be sure you give potential buyers some privacy and space to discuss their thoughts and impressions. If possible, step away momentarily to allow them to explore certain areas or have open conversations. Be available nearby if they have further questions. Most private house sellers will tell you to be as respectful and professional as possible to best represent your home.
Finalising The Sale
The last step in the process is to finalise the sale of your home. That begins when you accept a potential buyer’s offer. Once you do so, have your solicitor draw up a contract, and begin the process of exchanging contracts and reaching the day of completion with your respective solicitors!