How To Sell A House Privately
Wondering if selling a house privately is for you? Read below as we delve into all things private house sales…
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Selling a house privately can be attractive to many people, especially if you are downsizing, the children have moved out, or you are retired. Private sales can bypass estate agent fees but make the entire process much more complicated if you don’t have experience selling privately.
In this article, we will cover what selling a house privately actually means, how to sell a house privately, if selling a home privately is for you, and the alternatives to selling privately.
What Does Selling A House Privately Mean?
If you want to sell your house but don’t use an estate agent or auction house, this is known as selling your house privately. Most people avoid selling their homes privately because they would rather spend extra fees than wait for extensive amounts to sell their homes.
When you sell your house with an estate agent, it can take anywhere from four to six months to sell on average, and an auction house may take around three months to complete. On average, selling your home privately may take anywhere from six to twelve months, more than double the time of an estate agent.
But, if you have the time, patience and dedication to sell a home and carry out all the necessary stops – it can be an inexpensive route to selling a home. You will need to arrange all the advertising and negotiations with buyers and organise viewings.
It’s important to note that one of the advantages estate agents, cash buyers and auction houses have is they have access to the Rightmove and Zoopla property portals – they do not allow access to the general public to list houses, so you would be missing out on a critical marketing stream.
How To Sell A House Privately
When you sell a house privately, you are undertaking a massive project, and there are many things you will need to balance. You first need to make sure that selling privately is the route you want to take. You could use an online estate agent (like ourselves) who will offer to pay all your fees, negotiate with potential buyers and advertise your property all for free.
Once you begin to sell your house privately, you should make your property presentable and repair any quick fixes. You should clear your property of any clutter and mess to ensure potential buyers can imagine themselves in each room.
If you are selling your house without an estate agent, you could highlight favoured spaces in the home with features or a new paint lick; we recommend redecorating with neutral tones. You should deep clean your property and consider hiring cleaners to clean all carpets, bathrooms and kitchens thoroughly.
If you have any damages that a tradesperson can quickly repair, like electrical fittings, cracked tiles or leaky mixers, you should hire professionals to fix them or do it yourself (carefully). It’s worth spending a little bit of extra cash on a tradesperson here as buyers will be able to notice minor damages that you have lived with for years — and you do not want to make anything worse by doing it yourself.
Your garden, drive and patio should all be spruced up to increase the curb appeal; this will include mowing your lawn, making sure all your plants are hydrated, and you remove any unnecessary weeds.
You could set an asking price yourself, but we recommend against it. If you decide to do it yourself, you should factor in the following:
- Market trends of the local area – available on Zoopla or Rightmove; look at previous sold prices.
- Property trends – check property-based news websites for up-to-date information on the housing market.
- The age of your property.
- The number of bedrooms.
- Size and shape of your garden.
- Parking spaces available.
- Location and proximity to amenities.
If you decide to contact high-street estate agents for a valuation, you should aim to have three different agencies value your property and then create an average overall. This is because estate agents may try to overvalue your property to win your business, and making an average will give you a more balanced point of view.
When selling a house privately, you should establish a fair and evidence-based asking price. Some online estate agents offer no-obligation house valuations, which often cost less, and you do not need to carry on with your service. These evaluations will help you create a realistic asking price.
It is highly recommended that you refrain from carrying out DIY conveyancing if you sell your home privately. You will have to balance the house sale and the lengthy legal side, which can be the most complex part of a house sale.
Instructing a solicitor or conveyancer early on in the private sale process is essential to ensure that the solicitor can process any legal bumps smoothly. It would help if you choose a solicitor that is highly experienced, rated and is a specialist in private house sales.
Once you have prepared your property for sale, instructed solicitors and set a realistic asking price, it’s time to advertise your property.
The first thing you should do when selling your property privately is to take high-resolution photographs of your property; we recommend using a DSLR. You should take photos on a sunny day as the natural light will make your pictures look more spacious. You could hire a professional photographer as they are trained to take interior photographs.
As mentioned previously, you will not have access to the Rightmove and Zoopla property listing portals, but you will be able to list on other smaller listing websites. But, the easiest way to sell your property is by putting advertisements in your local newspapers, social media, local forums or community noticeboards. Word-of-mouth marketing will work wonders in selling your property without an estate agent.
In the advertisement, you should include documents that remove any hesitations from potential buyers, like a floor plan, room-by-room guide or Electric Performance Certificate.
Before you have any viewings on your property, you should organise a plan to tour your prospective buyers around the property, showing off the best features of the property and have a list of questions that you think the buyers will ask:
- Have you had any other interest in the property?
- What fixtures and fittings are included in the sale?
- Why are you moving?
- How much is the council tax?
- What are the best local schools?
When selling your home privately without an estate agent, you should stay professional and friendly and not rush the buyers around the property. They will be trying to imagine themselves in the space, so it’s essential that you give them ample time to react to each room.
If you cannot attend a viewing, you should have someone else jump in to take the viewing, as rescheduling can annoy and push away potential buyers. It would help if you also thought about having someone else in the house as you conduct viewings for security reasons.
Once you find a buyer, the buyer may start putting in offers for your home. If you set a fair asking price at the start of the process, you will attract more buyers than if you overvalued your home. It would help if you came up with a minimum amount you are willing to accept, as some buyers will go below your asking price.
Negotiations can be stressful, emotional and challenging as you want the best price for a home you’ve probably spent years living in. But the buyer will want to pay the minimum possible for the house so they can start their new life. It’s essential to try to find a middle ground when negotiating.
If you decide to turn down an offer, you should do it politely, as the buyer may put in for a counteroffer later in the process. But it would be best if you were willing to negotiate with a buyer about how much you are ready to accept and how much they are willing to pay for your property.
The process is legally binding once you exchange the contracts so that you can entertain multiple offers from buyers before the exchange.
When you have an offer you are happy with, and you decide to accept, it’s essential to ask them for confirmation in writing along with any terms you have agreed, which could include:
- The price.
- How long to exchange.
- How long to complete.
- List anything agreed within the sale.
- List anything agreed to purchase over and above the sale price.
If you instructed a solicitor or conveyancer earlier in the process, by this stage, they should be ready to go as soon as you accept an offer. Conveyancing can be one of the longest stages of a house sale, so it’s essential that you stay in clear communication with your solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor.
If you want to avoid dealing with solicitors, house viewings and advertisements, sell to us! We will handle all aspects of the sale and can sell your home within 28 days. This is only a fraction of the time it would take to sell your property privately.
Is Selling A Property Privately For You?
When choosing the best route to sell your property, there are numerous factors to consider. It would be best to balance the advantages and disadvantages of selling a house privately without an estate agent.
If you need to sell your house fast, selling privately will not achieve this. We will buy your home in as little as 28 days, pay all of your legal fees and be able to help you with any onward purchases.
We will sell any property in any location, whether it’s unmortgageable, a bunker or Big Ben. Our team are specialists in the property industry and will be able to help you with any problematic properties you wish to sell. Selling a problematic property privately can be very hard, and you may need a lot of luck to sell in the market.
You will find the process a lot easier to sell in a market where the demand for property outweighs the supply for a property. Online estate agents (like ourselves) have strategies to sell houses when the market is outside our favour.
If you are already juggling full-time jobs, children or home renovations, you will need to seriously weigh up if you have time to sell and market a house. You can do it, but it will take a significant amount of your life and cause much stress.
It would be best if you didn’t let estate agents ruin the house-selling process for you forever. We are an online estate agent whom hundreds of customers have trusted to sell their homes. We have an excellent rating on Trustpilot. We are also members of the National Association of Property Buyers and The Property Ombudsman — which means that we follow a strict set of rules that ensure we treat you fairly throughout the process.
What Can Go Wrong; Selling A Property Privately?
No matter which routes to selling a property you take, there will be a high chance of something cropping up and going awry. The possibilities are maximised during a private house sale as you need the expert guidance of an estate agent to guide you through the process. Here are a few examples of what can go wrong:
- You may receive a lot of attention for your property but only a few offers because people are just window shopping or are potential sellers looking to see what they need to do to prepare their homes for sale.
- Anything information you advertise about your property should be as accurate as humanly possible. This is because if it’s not, legal issues can arise from potential buyers looking to get a property for cheap. You do not want to misrepresent the value of your home in any way.
- There is very little you can do in vetting people looking around your property; you should be wary of invasive questions about your property’s security and make sure there is always someone else in the house as you conduct viewings.
What Is The Best Alternative To Selling A House Privately?
If you are on edge about selling your property privately, there are several alternatives — you don’t have to go it alone. You can choose to use a traditional estate agent, an auction house, a cash buyer or an online agent.
The best alternative to selling a house privately is through an online estate agent like us. We provide a fast, effortless and free service for all our customers — promoting a hassle-free selling process wherever your property is in the United Kingdom.
We are different from any other online or traditional estate agent on the market; with our transparent and honest customer service, we make the goal of your making your time with us as effortless as possible. We have access to Rightmove and Zoopla, which will market your house to over 98% of all potential buyers.
By selling with us, you will save on estate agent fees just like you would selling privately, but we will cover all your legal costs and take the hassle out of all negotiations. We will always value your property honestly and give you an accurate starting price.