Want to sell your property without the cost of using an estate agent? Here are some answers to your questions:

Are you thinking of putting your property up for sale, but don’t want to spend those extra thousands on estate agencies or agent fees? Are you ready to deal with all the hard work associated with being a DIY seller?

The fee of most estate agents usually fall between 0.75% and 3.5% of the property sale price. And because they do not factor in VAT, you as the seller will have to include it in their fees, which increases the total cost by 20%, whereas getting your property privately listed on a DIY website will start you of with as little as £0 to £47.

This guide here will help you market your property while saving thousands of pounds in the process.

As a DIY seller, there are a lot of things to consider when you’re selling a property, things which would ordinarily be the responsibility of a professional estate agent. Such as:

  • setting a fitting price
  • advertising
  • arranging property viewings
  • negotiations, among others.

Eliminating the middleman means that all transactions, arrangements, meetings, planning, and everything necessary which needs to be done between the minute you decide to sell a property and the moment when the keys are handed over to the new owners will all be handled by you. So if you have all the time needed for a successful property sale, then this guide is just what you need.

How should I price?

You will need to set an appropriate price for your property. And because you cannot fix a price randomly, you have to be sure to do your research carefully. There are online agents like eMoov that offer free valuations for properties. If you would rather have a professional valuation done, you can contact one of your local estate agents and request for one for a fixed sum. In addition, they can give market intelligence and advice on the ongoing trends and how to make the best of the property.

You may decide to go through other means, like checking recent property sale prices in your area on websites like Zoopla, which also provides information on the current estimated values for any property in the UK. Other websites that can give you an idea on the price your property would likely go for are Property Price Advice, Mouse Price, Rightmove, The Land Registry, and Net House Prices, to mention a few. With your postal code information and a few more details about the property you’re putting on the market, you will be able to discover the prices other properties have sold for around your location, and also information about local schools, crime rates, and transport links.

What do I need to do before listing my property?

Before you put any property up for sale, you must ensure that it is in the best condition possible. No potential buyer wants to purchase a property that’s damaged or in terrible condition, so in order to get buyers knocking on your door, you have to keep it in a clean, presentable, and enticing manner.

A professional home inspector can carry out a structural survey for a fixed sum and give you a full report, which can then be used to make necessary repairs. For the less structural aspect, you can borrow designs from interior magazines or show homes, or employ the services of an interior designer.

Not only is this necessary for advertising, it is required that every seller must provide a free Energy Performance certificate for all potential buyers at most within 7 days of any property going on the market. It is usually produced by an accredited domestic energy assessor, is valid for 10 years, and can be used severally within this period.

Clean windows, decluttered rooms, pruned trees, and mowed lawns can make all the difference in the world.

Any listed property on the market should have a short description, accompanied by pictures and a detailed floor plan which shows the details of each space in the house, including room sizes and more. This description should be brief, straight to the point, and a balance between emotion and facts – meaning that you should stick to details, but at the same remember what YOU love about the house, and make someone else fall in love with it too.

Of course, pictures speak louder than words, so you may need to invest in a good camera if you want to take pictures yourself, or hire a professional photographer to help you get awesome shots. Some online agents as part of their services will assist you in taking professional pictures of the property.

Are there places I can list my property as a DIY seller?

Yes indeed. There are numerous websites that allow private sellers to advertise their properties on the internet. While some are free, others aren’t.

Some of these websites like property expert, Sarah Beeny’s Tepilo, House Ladder, thehouseshop, HouseSimple, etc., provide just a listing service, while others act as online agents, offering a more detailed service which includes helping you take professional pictures, drawing a floor plan, arranging viewings, assisting with negotiations, and the whole selling process. They include: eMoov, Rightmove, Zoopla, Prime Location, and Fibzer.

These online portals or agents will provide almost all the traditional services a high street agent would, but at a lower cost. The fee you pay depends on the extent of service you require. While some of them are standard, other services are optional and depend on your pocket. For instance, HouseSimple charges £195 just for listing your property. For a more comprehensive service that includes valuations, viewings, and a listing on Zoopla and Rightmove, they charge upward of £395.

It is important to note that you will need to hire an online agent or a For Sale By Owner website to be able to access sites like Rightmove and Zoopla, as they do not allow private sellers to advertise directly. Whichever agent you go for, ensure they can get you on Zoopla and Rightmove.

You can also choose to advertise in the local papers, supermarket windows, on eBay or Gumtree, neighbourhood websites, social media platforms, word of mouth, and employers’ and schools’ newsletters as well.

How do I choose a buyer?

As a private seller, every prospective buyer will have to contact you, except in a case where you enlist the help of someone else to assist you. Online agents have some responsibilities, but they don’t include arranging viewings, so you will have to make arrangements, and schedule meetings and viewings by yourself.

Before you start showing round potential buyers, it is worth taking the time to ensure that your property is clean, visually appealing, and as presentable as possible. A potential buyer can be easily put off by a bushy garden, an overflowing garbage can, and more.

You should be able to comfortably talk to potential buyers about all the different aspects of your property, as well as answer any questions they might have about the property, the neighbourhood, community, and your reason for moving. It is also a smart idea to never organise viewings without another trusted person with you, for safety reasons.

Buyers can be tricky, so you must always remain one step ahead. Before negotiating, make sure you have decided on the lowest price you can receive as payment. Doing that helps you to remain unshaken and stand firm. Your asking price should be reasonable, and higher than the minimum amount you can accept.

You are not obligated to accept the first offer you receive, and when deciding which offer to accept, you might want to take into account the following:

  • whether this is a cash transaction or the buyer is getting a mortgage
  • whether the buyer wants to move at the same time as you
  • whether the buyer has found a buyer for their own house
  • whether the buyer is a first-time buyer.

It is also important to be pleasant and warm in all dealings, especially when rejecting an offer, so as to keep that window open in case of re-consideration. You might rethink it and decide to accept the buyer’s reduced offer, or the buyer might decide to accept yours. Either way, there shouldn’t be hostility or rudeness involved.

Ending the sale

You will need to hire a solicitor or conveyancer for the legal aspect of the sale. A licenced conveyancer is considerably cheaper than a solicitor, as they haven’t received as much training, but are fully qualified to handle negotiations.

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers website (Clc-uk.org) allows you search for the nearest conveyancers close to you. You can also search for property solicitors at lawsociety.org.uk and direct.gov.uk is another platform to find government services and information.

If a buyer wants to involve their solicitor and carry out a survey and then decides to renegotiate after, let them. But you must check that the survey report is genuine and worth a reduction in price. In a case when it is, you can make an offer to split the repair costs both ways. On the other hand, if the reports show minimal wear and tear damage, be ready to stand your ground, as it might just be a scheme to get you to cut down on the agreed price.

It is worth noting that you can be a DIY seller and make use of an estate agent at the same time. It all depends on your agreement with the website and estate agent. With a multi-agency agreement, you can list your property on other websites. An online agent can also be used, but be sure to check their terms for a completion fee – if there is one, it can mean that you are in a sole agency agreement.

Published on 31st October 2017

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