10 Ways to sell your home without an Estate Agent
1. Make the house sellable
You need to make your house as sellable as you can and remember it is what the buyer wants, not how you like to live, think of:
- Decluttering - buyers want to imagine putting their belongings in the house they buy. Creating space helps them imagine where they will place their furniture, consider temporarily boxing up personal objects that you treasure to create a modern, spacious feel.
- If a kitchen is important to a buyer, they will probably look at replacing it to their taste, but you still need to present a tidy, clean kitchen to avoid the buyer knocking off a huge chunk from the selling price. Sometimes a lick of paint and a few repairs can make the difference to a buyer needing to live with the existing kitchen until they can afford to replace it.
- You really do not have to paint all the walls magnolia. The best approach is to create a an image of a lifestyle or an aspiration.
2. Set a price
Some Estate Agents will deliberately inflate the sale price of your home to flatter you and gain your business. With the 'sold' price information readily available on the internet, there is no point in over valuing your property, it will stick out like a sore thumb and you may lose potential buyers that dismiss your property due to an inflated price.
You should do a bit of investigation though, if you have a conservatory and your neighbour's sold property did not, then it is fair to add a bit on to the asking price, similarly if you have a corner plot with extra land, this could add a premium.
Do your own research. You can check house prices free on Rightmove, Zoopla and Nethouseprices provide useful tools to evaluate nearby comparable properties. You can usually obtain a free valuation from an Estate Agent which might be good to compare.
3. Write a description
Your price has been set and you’re ready to show buyers how great your property is. But first you need to write a few lines about your home to help get buyers through the door. You may be tempted to write a detailed account of how wonderful your home is, complete with examples of your interior design skills, but keep the information short and to the point. Take a look at the online estate agencies and see how what they write about properties.
You are better off taking a lot of quality photos and providing floor plans.
4. Take the best photos
Photos are pointless if they do not do the property justice. Concentrate on showcasing main living spaces and highlight any features, for example if you have a cottage with a large fire place, buyers looking for a cottage are likely to be attracted to the typical cottage features. If you have a large garden, make sure you get a good picture of it to show off the size.
You could use a professional photographer, who will charge around £200, to take a wide range of images.
5. List the property
If you decide to “do it yourself” without any agent, you will need to sort out advertising, pricing and viewings yourself.
This is a good option if you already know someone who is interested in buying your home.
But you can also make use of “for sale by owner” websites, such as The Houseshop and Houseladder. These website charge no commission to sell properties, instead making their money through targeted advertising and optional services.
Social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are other good places to advertise and reach a wide audience.
You could also place an advert in your local paper.
6. Arranging viewings
Estate agents normally have a lot of staff on hand to show your property, and take bookings which is beneficial for people who work during the day. However, to avoid paying estate agent fees, you could ask family or friends for help to show potential buyers around your home while you are at work. Or arrange viewings for evenings or weekends.
If you are going to show your home yourself make sure to consider the safety implications of allowing strangers into your home. If possible, have a friend or partner with you.
7. Negotiating a price
This could be the most uncomfortable part of selling your own home yourself, you need to keep a clear head and try not to get offended when a very lower offer comes in, remember the buyer is starting low.
Decide your bottom line before hand and don’t go below that figure unless you can discount the property you are buying.
If you turn down an offer always do it in a friendly manner, you want to be able to leave the door open just in case you do decide to accept the offer further down the line, the buyer might also come back with a higher offer.
8. Accepting an offer
When you’re ready to accept an offer you can do it verbally in the first of all and then via email or post. But remember nothing is legally binding until the exchange of contracts, which will be several weeks down the line.
9. Instruct a solicitor
Once you have accepted an offer, you will need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to sort out the legal work. Make sure you check that they are professionally regulated and give you a clear quote of their fees. You use the Law Society 'Find a Solicitor' search. If you have an recommendations from friends, still check the fees before instruction them.
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has a search facility that you can use to find a local conveyancer near you.
10. Deal with renegotiations
Once a buyer has instructed their own surveyor they may want to renegotiate the price of the property. If they have found something wrong with the property they may feel their original offer is no longer fair.
If it genuinely lists areas of concern that have to be addressed then try to negotiate to split the cost. Make sure you see a copy of the report before you agree any discount.