Do you think house sale = estate agent? Or are you tempted by the idea of selling your home privately? You can certainly save money on estate agent’s fees, but are there any downsides?
It’s only in the last few years that selling privately has become a viable option. There’s no doubt that there are serious savings to be made – if you sell a house for £175,000, you could expect to hand over up to £3,000 (or more) to an estate agent. But what are the downsides of selling on your own? And how much can you save?
How to sell privately
Selling your property isn’t rocket science, but you have to plan how you’re going to sell:
- Make sure the website you sell through can deliver buyers. It should be visited by lots of buyers and/or have links to popular property search websites.
- Get organised in advance. Sort out a solicitor (use The Law Society’s Find a Solicitor service or look at the website Unbiased.co.uk) and make sure you have copies of the lease (if it’s a leasehold flat) and any relevant guarantees for repair work etc.
- Value your property. This is the part most sellers get nervous about. But there’s lots of information online about how much properties are being marketed for and how much they eventually sell for. Zoopla lets you value your home for free, as long as you register. You can also get your home valued on the property sale site Tepilo. Again, you’ll have to register.
Should you sell your home privately?
Selling privately isn’t for everyone. If you work long hours and your weekends are precious, you probably won’t want to spend that time dealing with potential buyers. But Sarah Beeny, who’s launched her own private sale site (called Tepilo) believes most of us can easily sell our own home. “If you’re the kind of person who books a plane ticket online you can sell your house over the internet.”
Selling privately is becoming much more mainstream, driven by the amount of money you can save by cutting out an agent.
Private sale sites
There are plenty of private sale sites on the internet. The key is to choose one that you like the look of and that will help you reach the right buyers for your house. Sites to consider include:
1. Houseladder.co.uk. You can list your home for sale free on this website. Although there doesn’t seem to be much help to sell it. The website looks a bit tired and is cluttered with adverts, but it works reasonably well on mobile. If you’re a buyer, one advantage is that it tells you when a property was listed.
2. Thehouseshop. This is more of an advertising portal rather than a property sale website. You can advertise your property for sale free. But quite a few of the properties on the site were for sale through estate agents, rather than privately.
3. Houseweb. This offers several packages with flat fees at £195, £295 and £395. The website looks rather dated and tired and doesn’t work very well on a mobile. Sellers seem to provide a reasonable amount of information about properties (a good selection of photos and detailed descriptions of rooms etc). And there are also guides to selling.
SAVVY TIP: Although this site seemed to have quite a good selection of properties for sale, I didn’t like the fact that, if you take out the cheaper selling packages, anyone who’s browsing can see the seller’s name, contact details (such as a mobile number) and full address. Houseweb say that they let sellers have complete control over how much information is on display – in which case I’m surprised so many choose to make all their information public.
4. Mousehousesales. There are two different options and two pricing packages. You can sell your property privately for £349 upfront or £499 when it’s been sold, or you can have some help along the way and pay £549 upfront or £699 when it’s sold. However, the search only revealed one property near where I live, which was far fewer than the other private property sale sites. The website works pretty well on mobile.
5. Propertysell.co.uk. This website describes itself as the world’s biggest free property website. The main problem I found is that it’s very clunky to narrow down the area you want to search in. I selected ‘England’ and was trying to search for properties in several cities, to test the range for sale, but gave up as I was still scrolling through a huge range of towns beginning with ‘A’ after about 30 seconds. It was only when I tested the mobile version that I realised there was a keyword search which you could use to find properties.
6. Sellmyhome.co.uk. This site describes itself as an online estate agent rather than a private sale website. There are two prices – one where you pay upfront at £595 and the other where you pay when you sell at £1,199 once you’ve sold the property. You have to do the viewings yourself, but the rest of the sale is managed by the site. The site works well on mobile.
7. Tepilo. As I write this there are two property selling prices. You can pay £495 upfront or pay £795 when you sell. You get some extras if you opt for the £795 package, such as professional photographs, a floor plan and a ‘for sale’ board. The site is very easy to use and works well on mobile (important if you’re selling). You can also use live chat 24/7.
SAVVY TIP: There’s lots of useful information on the site – from the basics of how you sell your property (including valuing it, uploading your photos and keeping the sale on track).
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