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Everything you need to know about selling a house privately

Posted by Jessica on Friday 9 March 2018

The Office of Fair Trading reported that perceptions on house selling changed dramatically between 2004 and 2009, with more and more of us demanding greater options and increased flexibility. For the first time, we weren’t happy to simply pass the torch and allow an estate agent to oversee the sale of our homes and charge £1000s in fees to do so. Instead, we wanted more control - we wanted more options available to us. 

While private sales have become more common, they’re still not the norm. For some, selling privately works, but there are some areas you may not have considered and are likely to need some support with. Here’s everything you need to know about selling privately and also a comparison of fees for online estate agents should selling privately not feel right for you. 

Why Should I Consider a Private Sale?

The main reason people tend to consider selling privately is the cost saving. We’re becoming much more careful with our money and estate agent fees can seem rather high for most of us. The average fee in the UK is a staggering 1.8 per cent, and based on an average house price in the UK, you could end up paying your agent over £5,000 in fees! This surge in high street agent fees have led to an increase in much more cost effective online options.

Another reason to consider a private house sale is if you already know someone who may be interested in purchasing your home. Friends, family members, friends of neighbours are all valid potential purchasers. One thing to be aware of though is that if you choose to go with a high street estate agent and then sell to someone you have found, in the vast majority of cases the agent will still demand their full fee. 

Understanding the Challenges of Selling Privately

There are a few challenges to selling your home privately, ranging from the legals to doing your property justice with photos, here we've broken down the main areas;

Marketing - Unless you have a good knowledge of marketing, getting your home seen by the right people can prove to be quite the challenge. As a private seller unfortunately you do not have access to the large property portals such as Rightmove & Zoopla and these sites are the first port of call for more than 95 per cent of buyers in the UK. Zoopla, for example, boasts over 45 million visits each month, while Rightmove has an impressive 90 million. Instead your best options are sharing on social media sites, putting adverts up in your local paper and newsagent and making your own for sale sign. 

Time - Selling your home privately can be time consuming, and if you’re already racing around trying to juggle work responsibilities and family commitments, it can be quite a challenge. You’ll need to take photos of your home, put up a ‘for sale’ sign, create a floor plan and write a description. It's also worth noting that unless you have a wide angle lens on your camera, doing your home justice can be quite difficult.

Verifying Buyers - If you have adverts up in local newsagent windows and a home-made for sale sign, you may find you will recieve calls and knocks on your door without truly knowing who they are. Here at Settled we register every buyer so we can tell you whether they have a mortgage, whether they have to sell their home first and if they have a solictor in place.

The Legal Stuff - Legalities are another area to consider for private sellers. For example, did you know that your ‘for sale’ sign must be smaller than 0.5 sq m? It seems a small thing but some councils have been known to come knocking on your door if it is too big. Also you are legally required to have valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to sell your property. Then there is the need for a solictor to carry out the legal side of your house sale, most agents will reccomend someone for this but if not you can find these online. 

So, Is it best to sell privately, or use an agent?

Well, it depends on what you want. If you're more than happy to do your own photos, create a for sale sign, market your property and aren't in too much of a rush to sell, then you may want to give selling privately a go. If all that seems like a bit too much hard work, your next best option is probably someone like us here at Settled. We combine all the estate agent services with the advantages of selling privately. For example, we take over the trickier bits like taking photos, creating a floorplan putting a for sale sign up and marketing your home on Rightmove & Zoopla and you get the more fun parts - meeting prospective buyers & showing off your beautiful home.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to someone at Settled you can email us on hello@settled.co.uk or give us a call on 02033228417.