Did you know, you don’t need an estate agent to sell your home. In fact, selling a house without an agent can be done privately, so you avoid those unwanted fees.
However, this doesn’t mean you can necessarily get the same price for your house. Whether you choose to sell privately or with an iBuyer, there is a chance you may get less than the market value of your home. But if the end goal is to sell quickly or to reduce the number of fees you pay out of pocket, then it is certainly worth looking at alternative options.
In this article, we’ll look at…
- Fees estate agents charge
- How much you can expect to sell for
- Top tips for selling privately
- What is iBuying
- The rise of the online estate agent
How much does an estate agent charge?
An estate agent will usually charge somewhere between 0.75-3% (+VAT).
At the lower end of this scale, you won’t get much customer service. Cheap estate agents are known for placing properties on RightMove or Zoopla and simply waiting for the phone to ring.
Agents charging at 3% are usually on a multi-agency fee. This means you have several agents trying to sell your home at once, and the one who finds a buyer gets a higher rate of commission, so the risk is worthwhile.
For the best deal, it’s worth negotiating a price beforehand. If you approach three different agents, you may be able to shift the percentage rate down to 1.5%-2%.
Will I get as much money for my house if I sell without an estate agent?
It’s very likely you’ll get a lower sales price for your property if you’re selling without an agent. This is because, if you choose to sell privately, you won’t have access to as many buyers.
Of course, situations can vary depending on the market conditions. In a seller’s market, there is a greater chance of achieving a better price. And who knows, maybe you’re an excellent marketer or you have a large social media following, so you can generate a lot of exposure for your home.
But, as a rule of thumb, anyone selling a property privately should expect a lower sales price – albeit, while saving on estate agency fees.
Our six top tips for selling a house privately
If you’ve made the decision to sell privately and want to make sure you get the most out of your sale, then listen up.
UPSTIX was founded by a team with over 20 years of estate agent experience, so we know a thing or two about selling homes. Here are our top six tips for successfully selling a house without an estate agent.
- Identify your moving motivations
- Establish your property’s selling price
- Plan a marketing strategy
- Schedule as many viewings as possible
- Prepare for negotiations
- Agree the sale and manage the conveyancing process
First things first, sit down and work out your main motivations for selling your house.
- Have you already found and fallen in love with your next home?
- Do you want to maximise the selling price, regardless of how long it takes?
- Do you want to move quickly?
- Do you simply want to move on, but want to avoid engaging with an estate agent?
- Are you desperate to sell but can’t face a lengthy process with lots of viewings and potential disappointment along the way?
If getting the most amount of money is important to you, then a private sales approach might not be right for you. A reputable estate agent is more likely to achieve your goals.
If a quick sale is the motivation, then you should be aware that either selling privately or via an estate agent will be a long process. It takes an average 5-7 months to sell a property via an estate agent – and potentially longer to do it privately.
For a speedy sale, then using an iBuyer might be a better solution.
There are various ways to get a valuation for your house. You could go via…
- A professional surveyor, who will charge a fee
- Your local estate agents, who will provide a ‘market appraisal’
- An online valuation tool
On the latter, online tools provide free valuations and they’re a great way to get an instant indicator of your home’s value. However, it’s not an exact science and may not reflect the true value.
Getting the price right can be difficult. Whilst most people won’t want to undersell their property, it is important not to set the price too high. Firstly, you’ll alienate potential buyers. If it takes a while to sell, then buyers may assume there is something wrong with the property.
Secondly, you may risk having a lower sales valuation from the buyers’ mortgage lender. This usually means you’ll have to consider re-negotiating the price or remarketing if the funds can’t be secured.
When selling privately, you will not be able to use the advertising portals, such as Rightmove, as they only list properties that are on the market with estate agents.
Therefore, you’ll need to work hard to attract your own buyers. You can do this through social media channels, in the local paper, and within your neighbourhood forums.
Most buyers will want to see a floor plan, and it’s a good idea to also get a professional photographer onboard too. Remember: the better your photos, the easier it’ll be to get good exposure for your home.
Legally, you will also have to obtain an energy performance certificate (EPC). If you haven’t already, make sure you get your documents in order before accepting an offer, as this will keep things moving forward without delays.
Selling a property is a numbers game. The more people that come to see your house, the more chance you have of getting the best price.
Ideally, you’ll be as flexible as possible with timings. And without an agent to act on your behalf, you’ll also need to do the viewings yourself.
In our experience, you should be available to answer any questions when showing prospective buyers around, but don’t be too ‘salesy’. Make sure the house is presentable. Clear away any clutter and have as few people in the house as possible, so that viewers feel relaxed.
Negotiating with a buyer, without an agent to mediate, can be uncomfortable. Communicating via email, rather than in person, can help here. And having an email trail is always useful for future reference.
When negotiating with someone buying your home, it’s useful to have evidence of previous sales – ideally for similar properties. Or, for a more mathematical approach, a ‘price per square foot value’ and how it compares to other properties currently on the market.
Once the price is agreed, you’ll need to coordinate the conveyancing process by liaising with all parties involved in the sale. This is where you’ll need to bring in a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal prep work, exchange of contracts, and get the purchase completed.
Without an estate agent, you may have to be a little more proactive in getting everyone lined up with the timings. Because of this extra workload, we highly recommend investing in the best solicitor you can. This isn’t a professional you want to scrimp on!
Is your home ready to sell?
Without an estate agent there to advise, you might rush into your viewings before your house is ready. By this we mean, you want to make sure you’ve maximises the potential there, so you’re able to go after the top asking price.
How can you ensure you get the best house price without an agent? Consider these weekend projects which can make a big difference to potential buyers.
- Curb appeal: first impressions matter and your home is no different. Make sure you consider the view a buyer will see on arrival. Does your front door need a lick of paint? Can the front garden be tidied up and the bins hidden away?
- Get cleaning: no one likes cleaning but never has it been more important. Don’t just dust here and there, get on your rubber gloves and give the entire property a thorough deep clean. You’ll be surprised by what a difference a shiny bathroom tap can make!
- Go for mass appeal in your decoration: there is a myth that only very neutral decor will attract buyers. Really, what you’re after is mass appeal to your audience. That selling in London might do well to decorate in popular fashions, such as mid-century. However, in rural areas, more plain decor might have the best results. Get on property sites and see what the local competition is up to.
- DIY or get a professional in: if there are any repairs you’ve been putting off, now is the time to get them sorted. Don’t forget, a buyer will have a survey carried out, so if you don’t pay for these fixes now, you may pay a lot more down the line.
Alternative ways to sell your home
If you don’t want to use a high-street estate agent or manage the sale privately, there are still some other options you might consider.
We’ve touched on this already but iBuying is a fantastic option for anyone who is looking for a very speedy sale. These services (such as UPSTIX) are cash buyers who can make an instant offer, and they usually have a team of conveyancers on hand to help get the sale through as quickly as possible. In a lot of cases, you’ll only need to cover the legal fees, meaning you save money you would have had to spend out of pocket.
However, iBuying will mean you’ll sell your home at a discounted price. For some, this might be a fine trade-off, especially if you know your house has dramatically increased in value anyway.
Online estate agent
If estate agent fees are the only thing making you hesitate, then you might want to look at some online estate agents. They won’t be as hands-on as their high-street counterparts but are much cheaper.