Private house sales have seen a significant rise in popularity in recent years, as homeowners try to avoid the cost of estate agency fees and reclaim control of their property sale.
But, what exactly is a private house sale, and how do you go about selling your home without an estate agent?
Private house sales UK
UK estate agents charge, on average, between one and two and a half percent of the final property sale price. Tired of paying thousands of pounds to estate agents, more and more people are considering having a go at selling their properties privately.
How to sell your house without an estate agent in the UK?
So, how do you go about selling your house without an estate agent?
Search online for “private house sales no estate agent” and you will find a wealth of information about the private house sale process.
If you decide to go down the private house sales route, there are several things that you will need to consider. This is a brief timeline of what you will need to think about at each stage:
Before you market your property
Before you get to the point of being able to advertise your property, you will need to do quite a bit of preparation.
What price are you planning to ask for your property? Even if you do not plan to use an estate agent to sell, it is advisable to ask three different estate agents to visit your home to give you a free valuation. This will provide you with a realistic figure to base your asking price on.
Any property being sold requires an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Usually, the estate agent selling your property would arrange for the EPC to be done, however, if you are planning to sell the property privately, you will need to arrange for an accredited assessor to carry out an EPC on your behalf. You can find an accredited assessor on the gov.uk website.
Bad estate agent photography can make or break a sale, so it is important that you include high quality photographs in all of your property marketing.
Property details and floor plan
The more information you can provide about the property, the more likely you are to attract a serious buyer. Floor plans are also a real sales asset, and are greatly appreciated by prospective buyers. Free online software is available to assist with the production of professional looking floor plans.Property information should include all room dimensions, heating information, number and condition of windows (double glazing etc.), television and telephone access points and any other information that you think might be helpful to potential buyers.
Marketing your property
Most people begin their search for a new property online, so it is important to think carefully about how you plan to market your property without the services of an estate agent. The most popular property portals, such as Rightmove and Zoopla, are only available to estate agents and do not accept listings from private sellers.
There are online property portals available to private house sales, which can be helpful, but their visitor numbers are significantly lower, so you should also consider a private ‘for sale’ board outside your property, local marketing, other online advertising channels, and ‘word of mouth’ promotion.
There are strict guidelines surrounding private ‘for sale’ boards outside your property. These include:
- The board must not be bigger than 0.5 square metres for a single sided board, or 0.6 square metres for a double-sided board. A double-sided board must have a different message on each side.
- The board is not permitted to be illuminated in any way.
- The board must be removed within 14 days of completion of the sale.
Property viewings and negotiations
If you are planning a private sale, you will need to be happy to conduct property viewings yourself.
It is important that you prepare thoroughly for any property viewings. Make notes of the property’s best features and be sure to talk about these on the viewings. You should also be ready to talk about the local area, amenities nearby, and (if relevant to your prospective buyers) local schools etc.
You should also decide in advance which fixtures and fittings (appliances, light fittings, curtains etc) you are planning to include in the house sale so that you are ready to answer any questions from potential buyers.
If you receive any offers you will also need to conduct all negotiations yourself, so you need to ensure you would be happy to do that before embarking on a private house sale.
Accepting an offer and completing the sale
If you receive multiple offers on your property, it is important that you consider the merits of each offer carefully. How much are they offering to pay for the property? What circumstances are they in? Do they have a property to sell before they can purchase your property? Are they first time buyers? Are they part of a lengthy property chain? Are they motivated to progress the house sale quickly?
Once you have accepted an offer, it will be up to you to manage the house sale through to completion. Even after an offer has been accepted, the sale is not guaranteed. Both you and your buyer are free to pull out of the sale before the exchanging of contracts without any financial repercussions.
Property sales fall through for a variety of reasons; sellers receive higher offers, problems identified in a survey may cause the buyer to withdraw their offer, the buyer may be unable to secure a mortgage or may simply change their mind. Unfortunately, around a third of property sales will end this way.
You will need to appoint a conveyancing solicitor to handle the sale as soon as you accept an offer, so it is a good idea to have researched solicitors and selected the one you would like to use for the sale of your property well in advance.
In an estate agency managed sale, you would be unlikely to have any direct contact with your buyer. Instead, the estate agent would act as the main point of contact. Without estate agency involvement, it is wise for you to maintain open dialogue with your buyer to help the progression of the sale, resolve any problems as soon as they come up, and try to maximise the chances of it progressing through to a successful completion.
Private house sales websites
If you are planning a private house sale, you will need to think carefully about how you plan to market your property to potential buyers. Below is a list of websites where you are able to list homes that are available by private house sales:
Most sites will charge you around £50 – £100 to list your property, however some sites may list your property for free whilst they build up their listings portfolio.
What is the best way to sell a house?
The best way for you to sell a house will depend on your personal circumstances and priorities. You may not like the idea of paying thousands of pounds to an estate agent, but it is important to consider carefully how much time you would need to invest in conducting a private house sale, and how much free time you have available.
With most people selecting one of the popular online portals to search for their next property, it can be challenging to find a buy without being able to list your property on the portals that are only open to estate agents. It may, therefore, take you considerably longer to sell via a private sale, simply because your audience is likely to be significantly smaller than the audience available to an estate agency.
That is not to say a private sale cannot be hugely successful, but it will take considerable more planning on your part than a sale with an estate agent.
There are, of course, pros and cons to each route.
House sale via estate agent:
Pros of using an estate agent:
• Highly experienced professionals to guide you through the house selling process
• Someone else to handle the property viewings and negotiations
Cons of using an estate agent:
• Costly – you are likely to face an estate agency bill of several thousand pounds for the sale of your property
House sale via private sale:
Pros of private house sales:
- Cheaper – you can make a saving of several thousand pounds if you don’t use an estate agent
- You are more in control of the house sale as you deal directly with your buyer
Cons of private house sales:
- The process of managing your own house sale can be both time consuming and stressful, so it is important to think carefully about how much time you have available and whether the financial saving is worth the time commitment required
How to sell my house fast?
If you like the idea of being in control of your property sale, and cutting out estate agents, but are unsure about the unpredictable nature of private house sales, you might like to consider a private house sale to a professional home buying company.
A genuine cash home buying company will be able to offer you a guaranteed sale, completing on a date of your choice. Because they purchase your property with their own cash funds, and don’t rely on investors or mortgages, a genuine cash home buyer will be able to purchase any property, in any condition, in any area of England or Wales. You can find out more about cash home buyers at the National Association of Property Buyers website.