With estate agents charging a fee of 1.8% (on average) of the final sale value, it’s no surprise that a lot of people consider selling their home privately.
Fixed fee online only estate agents, who charge just a few hundred pounds, have been around for a few years and retain several of the advantages a traditional estate agent offers.
But is there a downside to selling your home privately using an online only estate agent? Not necessarily, but there are a few things to be aware of before you try it yourself.
You’re All On Your Own *Gulp*
Traditional estate agents have years of expertise, covering everything from setting an asking price to negotiating with buyers. Many buyers may feel uncomfortable handling this side of things themselves.
Others, particularly those who love a challenge and aren’t afraid of doing a bit (read: a lot) of research might relish the experience.
It Doesn’t Eliminate The Paperwork
Nope, far from it! In fact, private sellers have to deal with—and ensure that the sale is progressing with—buyers, solicitors and conveyancers. And there’s no-one to go to for help if things start to get messy.
Still, the (fairly depressing) fact of the matter is that even an agent may not be able to save you from problems with solicitors, conveyancers etc. Sales fall through all the time, particularly when onward chains are involved, whether you use an agent or sell privately.
No Free Marketing
Actually, this is a tricky one. Going privately means that you won’t appear on an estate agent’s website or in their window(s) but, given that online only estate agents still get you listed on Rightmove, Zoopla etc., is that such a big loss?
Contactually found that 80% of homebuyers search for properties online, with looking on the web being the first step for 42% of buyers. And, as you might predict, younger buyers are more likely to look online than over 60s.
So it’s important think about the home you’re selling – if you have a secluded bungalow or some other property that might appeal to older buyers, a traditional agent may be a better option.
Closing The Deal Yourself Is Hard
Although many prospective buyers, particularly younger ones, begin their search online the vast majority still buy through an agent.
Despite the stats mentioned above, The National Association of Realtors reported in 2015 that a whopping 87% of buyers ultimately purchase their home through an estate agent or broker.
Without an agent, you’ll have to be the one to agree on a price and set the wheels of the sale in motion.
Selling Privately Is Not For Everyone
But you’ve probably already guessed that from the above. You may also have an inkling of whether or not the process is one you can handle.
If you’re already extremely busy juggling work, family and your personal life, you might be more than willing to sacrifice 1-2% of the sale value for an agent to take something off your plate.
If, on the other hand, you decide go it alone and later realise it’s not for you, at least you’ll only have spent a few hundred pounds. It’s never too late to enlist an estate agent to help!