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Private House Sales: How to Sell Without an Estate Agent

Selling with an estate agent is not the only nor the best option for every homeowner. An “off-market” or private house sale offers several benefits, including significant savings on estate agent fees (which can be as much as 3.5% of the sale price).

5 Reasons to Sell Off-Market

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What Is a Private House Sale?

A private house sale is when the homeowner sells their property directly to the buyer without using the services of an estate agent.

The seller takes on all of the responsibilities that an agent would, including setting an asking price, marketing the property, hosting viewings, negotiating the sale price — everything that needs to happen for a sale to reach completion.

You should hire a solicitor or conveyancer who is qualified and experienced enough to manage the legalities of transferring ownership of your property to the new owner (the conveyancing process). This is not mandatory, but conveyancing law is complex and mistakes could result in delays, extra costs and even a failed sale.

How to Sell Your House without an Estate Agent

There are several ways to sell a house without an estate agentauction (traditional or modern), selling to someone you know or a cash house buying company. The best choice for you will depend on your circumstances.

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    Auctions.

Selling at auction has become increasingly popular since modern (online) auctions were introduced. Both traditional and modern auctions are generally a faster way to sell than putting your house on the market and waiting for the right buyer to come along. In a traditional (in-person) auction, contracts are exchanged on the same day and the buyer then has 28 days to complete the sale. In a modern auction, the buyer has 28 days to exchange and a further 28 days to complete the sale. Homeowners with a problem property to sell may opt to sell at auction because they attract developers and bargain hunters who are happy to take on a “fixer-upper” for a great price.

However, there is no guarantee of a sale and auction fees can be high, meaning you could spend a lot of money and still not find a buyer. Also, the system can be daunting for first-timers and mistakes are often costly. For example, the reserve price — the minimum you are willing to sell the property for — must be within 10% of the guide price — the advertised figure that helps buyers decide how much to bid. Beginners might be tempted to set a low guide price to drive interest and bids, but this can result in a much lower final sale price than the seller had bargained for.

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    Selling to someone you know.

If you’re lucky enough to have a friend, neighbour, family member or colleague who is itching to buy your home, a private house sale could be a quick, easy and cost-effective choice. You don’t need an estate agent to market the property, so why shell out for their commission?

However, an estate agent can be a useful intermediary if something goes wrong or negotiations are necessary. Without one, you will have to do this yourself and mixing “business” with pleasure can be a recipe for disaster. Furthermore, for most people, the chances of finding someone who wants to buy their property via their social circles are small.

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    Selling to a cash house buying company.

This is the easiest and fastest way to get a guaranteed house sale. Do your research and find a genuine cash house buying company with the funds to buy your property in the timescale you need, be that 7 or 70 days. With House Buyer Bureau, there’s no need for viewings and you’ll avoid all estate agents and legal fees (if you use one of our recommended solicitors).

You will need to accept a below market value price for your property. Most house buying companies make their income by purchasing properties for a discount and selling them for their full market value. However, if you compare the costs associated with a traditional sale via an estate agent, you may be pleasantly surprised by how little difference there is in the final net value you can achieve.

When it comes to private house sales, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Consider your circumstances and priorities — how quickly do you need to sell? How much money do you need to make from a sale? — and weigh up the pros and cons of each option to find the best route to a sale for you.

Contact us to speak with one of our friendly house buying experts about the options available to you. We won’t give you a hard sale, just helpful information and an opportunity to discuss your requirements.

Top Tips for Selling Your Home Privately

Make Your Property Appealing to Buyers

choose the home improvements that will deliver the best return-on-investment (ROI) — add neutral decor, boost kerb appeal, complete minor repairs and make the most of “hot” features such as gardens and home offices.

Set a Realistic Asking Price

properties priced too high take longer to sell. Ask at least three estate agents to value your property and do your own research too. Look at how much local properties similar to yours have sold for recently. Use online tools and calculators, get an overview of the current market by looking at the Land Registry’s UK House Price Index and use property heat maps to understand house values in your area.

Invest Time in Marketing

a detailed property description that includes a floorplan and professional photos is a worthwhile investment when selling a house privately. Individual sellers are not allowed to list properties on the major property portals like Rightmove, so you’ll have to think outside of the box a little — where else can you advertise online? Are there any opportunities to advertise locally? Put up a “for sale” sign to attract local interest.

Become an Excellent Host

without an estate agent, you will be responsible for hosting property viewings for interested buyers. To increase the chances of getting an offer, take the time to prepare your home before every viewing. Tidy away clutter, clean surfaces and hoover, let in natural light and use artificial lights to brighten dark areas, give the place a good airing and keep the cupboards stocked with tea and coffee! When your guests arrive, make sure you are ready to answer questions by having all the information about your house to hand — planning permission, utility bills and anything else that could help sell your home to potential buyers. Give people some time to explore without you tagging along too.

Master the Art of Negotiation

you will probably have to negotiate with a buyer on all manner of issues, from the sale price to the dates of exchange and completion. It can be difficult to remain objective and professional when selling your home. Focus on your priorities and be realistic. If you’re in a rush to sell, but it’s a buyers’ market, turning down an offer that falls slightly short of the asking price might not be the best move. On the other hand, if you’re inundated with offers and you don’t need to sell your house fast, you can probably afford to be a tough negotiator.

Find a Good Solicitor

Ditching the estate agent can save you thousands of pounds, but it’s not advisable to go it alone when it comes to the legal side of things. Solicitor’s fees may seem expensive, but they’re a wise investment. Prepare your documents in good time so that the process can move forward quickly when you find a buyer.

10 Ways to Sell Your House Fast in 2021

What Documents Do I Need for a Private House Sale?

Whether you sell privately or via an estate agent, you must provide your solicitor
and the buyer with the same information.

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    Proof of identity and address

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    Property title deeds

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    Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

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    A fittings and content (TA10) form

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    A property information (TA6) form

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    An Electrical Installation Report (EICR)

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    Certificates for doors and windows (FENSA or CERTAS)

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    Planning permission for any major work carried out

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    Replacement boiler documentation

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    Proof of the outstanding mortgage balance

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    Details of any additional loans secured against the property

There may be additional documentation that your solicitor requires, depending on the type of property being sold and your personal circumstances — for example, party wall agreements, specialist asbestos surveys and Japanese knotweed management plans.

How Long Do Private House Sales Take?

How long it takes to sell a house — privately or with an agent — depends on several factors:

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The condition of the property

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The health of the housing market

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The property’s location

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The asking price

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The size of the property

It takes 110 to 115 days to sell a house on average in the UK. If you’re looking for a quick house sale, a private on-market sale may not be the best choice for you. Selling at auction or via a cash house buyer will be quicker. There’s always a chance your property will not sell at auction, but House Buyer Bureau can guarantee a sale in a timescale that suits you.

Get Your Free Cash Offer Today

Getting your no-obligation cash offer is easy. Just find your address and answer a few quick questions about your property. Sell your house in weeks instead of months and with zero hassle — you could even sell in as little as 7 days.

The Pros and Cons of Private House Sales

Private sales can save you thousands of pounds in fees, but they require a lot of effort. Do the pros outweigh the cons?

Pros
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    No estate agent fees to pay

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    If selling to a quick house sale company, no legal fees to pay

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    You are in complete control of the whole process

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    No third party means a lower risk of misunderstandings

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    Quick house sale companies act as a chain-free buyer

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    No need for viewings if selling via a house buying company

Cons
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    Time-consuming if you choose to manage everything yourself

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    Selling at auction can be complex and expensive

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    Selling to a cash house buyer means accepting a below-market sale price

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    It can take a long time to find a buyer if going it alone

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    Unless you use a quick house sale company, there will still be legal fees to pay

Everyone’s situation is unique, but there might be a better route to a sale for you than marketing your property via an estate agent,
especially if you need to sell your house fast.

Is a Private House Sale Right for You?

You need to weigh up the pros and cons and consider your lifestyle — do you have the time (and inclination) to put in all the work required to sell a house privately? Can you navigate the auction process without making expensive mistakes?

Selling to House Buyer Bureau simplifies the process and is the only way to achieve a guaranteed private house sale. We’ll take care of everything for you and you’ll avoid estate agents and legal fees too. There will be no inconvenient house viewings to endure and we’ll work to your preferred timescale.

Get your free no-obligation cash offer today.

Get Your Free Cash Offer Today

Getting your no-obligation cash offer is easy. Just find your address and answer a few quick questions about your property. Sell your house in weeks instead of months and with zero hassle — you could even sell in as little as 7 days.
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Private House Sales: FAQ
There is no legal requirement for a homeowner to use an estate agent to sell their property. You can opt for a private house sale, sell at auction or use a quick house sale company to sell without an estate agent.
Selling privately requires a lot of time and commitment if you choose to fly completely solo. You will have to market the property, host viewings, negotiate and fulfil all the other responsibilities that an estate agent would normally take on. Therefore a private house sale is only suitable for people who have a lot of time to commit to the process. Alternatives include selling at auction and selling to a quick house sale company — these are also “off-market” routes to sale, but a lot of the time and effort is invested by the auction house or house buying company.
Yes. However, this is a risky undertaking as conveyancing law is complex and mistakes could result in delays, added expense and even a failed sale.
Individual house sellers are not permitted to advertise on the major online property portals. Instead, they must seek out alternative places to market their property online as well as advertising locally.

Get in touch to find out more or request your cash offer.

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