Many homeowners automatically reach out to an estate agent when they decide to sell their properties. But selling via the traditional on-market route is not the only option. Selling a house without an estate agent can make the process simpler, faster and more cost-effective.
What Is a Private or off-Market House Sale?
In a private house sale, the property is sold directly to the buyer, without using the services of an estate agent. An off-market sale means selling without public advertising.
This type of sale is popular with homeowners who need to sell fast because there is no waiting around for viewings to take place and offers to roll in.
How Do I Sell My House without an Estate Agent?
Selling a house without an estate agent can mean more work for you. If you choose to sell on the open market but manage the sale yourself, you will be responsible for setting the asking price, advertising your home, hosting viewings and negotiating the sale. If you decide to cut out the estate agent, you’ll still need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legalities of the sale.
If you want to sell your house fast without an agent, be sure to:
Make the House More Sellable:
If you have the time, budget and motivation, there are several improvements that will add value to your home, such as fixing structural issues, installing a new heating system and updating the kitchen.
Tap into current buyer trends — after the first COVID lockdown ended in May, property experts reported a change in buyer demands — proximity to green spaces, fast wi-fi, a garden and space for a home office now top the list of desirable property features. Make the most of these features if your property has them, or consider adding them — you could turn dead space under the stairs into a home office, for example.
Even small improvements can impact the time it takes to sell a house and the final asking price. Repair dripping taps, replace garish wallpaper and repaint chipped window ledges. Don’t forget to spruce up the exterior of your property as well as the interior — a well-presented frontage will create a positive first impression for buyers.
Set a Realistic Asking Price:
Properties that are listed with an inflated asking price, which is subsequently reduced, can take twice as long to sell. Homeowners often rely on estate agents to value their home, and even if you choose not to pay one to sell your home, many offer a free house-valuation service.
However, it’s not too difficult to set a realistic asking price using your own research — look at properties similar to yours that have sold recently to gauge how much to ask. A property that has been on the market for a long time without selling may be priced too high. If you have a desirable property, the final sale price may exceed the asking price if you have multiple buyers interested.
It’s worth investing in professional photographs. Most property searches start online, and without clear images that show your property in the best light, potential buyers may swipe on by.
You’ll also need to write a description that highlights the main selling points of your home. Consider who your target market is — young professionals, families, retired couples — and write for them. Remember to emphasise any features that will appeal to buyers in the current climate — do you have an award-winning park nearby, or have you created a deluxe garden office perchance?
Place adverts in local magazines, directories and newspapers. Some of the major online property portals only accept listings from estate agents, but you can make use of social media and property websites designed for private sellers.
If you choose to sell on the open market, house viewings are an essential part of the process. While the government has encouraged online viewings to be used where possible since the outbreak of COVID-19, in-person viewings are permitted provided the government’s COVID-secure guidelines are adhered to.
Negotiate a Price and Accept an Offer:
Selling a home is an emotional time, but during price negotiations, it is important to remain objective and clear-headed. Consider what is the lowest offer you are willing to accept and stick to it while also being realistic. If the buyer is renegotiating due to significant issues that have been brought to light in the survey, there’s no point in stubbornly demanding the original asking price. Keep all negotiations professional and friendly. The buyer may initially refuse your terms and then have second thoughts, so you want them to feel as though they can re-approach you.
Instruct a Solicitor, Exchange and Complete:
It’s a good idea to instruct a solicitor as soon as you put your house up for sale, as trying to find one once you’ve accepted an offer can cause delays. Conveyancers offer the same services as solicitors, often for a lower fee, so it’s worth shopping around. The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has a search facility that will help you find a professional in your local area.
Benefits of Selling a House without an Estate Agent
Although there may be more work involved in managing the sale yourself, selling a house without an estate agent offers several benefits:
The average estate agent fee reached 1.53% of the sale price in October 2019, and some agencies charge as much as 3.97% for properties in prime locations. Based on these figures, a homeowner selling a property for £239,196 — the average house price in the UK as of August 2020 — would be charged between £3,660 and £9,496 in agency fees.
If you manage the sale of your house yourself, you can completely eradicate this cost. If you already have a buyer lined up — a family member, friend or neighbour, for example — an estate agent’s service will be largely superfluous.
You will retain total control over the sale process. There will be no waiting around for a busy estate agent to get back to you. A homeowner is more likely to pull out all the stops to sell their own home than an estate agent for whom your property is just one of many they need to sell to earn their commission. This makes it less likely that opportunities will be missed (provided you can dedicate enough time to market and sell the property).
Cutting out any unnecessary third parties will speed up the sale process. If a quick house sale is top of your list of priorities, selling without an estate agent could be a great choice.
A Higher Chance of Obtaining Offers:
You know your home better than any estate agent does after one quick visit and a perusal of the property details. If you choose to manage the house sale and viewings yourself, you can answer all those little questions buyers have that only you know how to respond to — what are the neighbours like? Is the local school any good? How busy does the road get during peak periods? A buyer who goes away with all the information they need is more likely to make an offer than one who leaves a viewing with questions and uncertainties.
If you want to take advantage of the benefits of selling a house without an estate agent but don’t have the time or inclination to manage the entire sales process yourself, House Buyer Bureau can help.
With just a little information from you, we can make a cash offer on your home. We have the funds to buy any type of property in any condition in England and Wales (and some parts of Scotland). Our team is set up to complete the whole process remotely and can complete the sale in as little as seven days. Once we have your information, we’ll take care of everything and work to your schedule.