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There’s no requirement to instruct an estate agent to sell your home. But in the same way that almost all buyers and sellers baulk at undertaking their own conveyancing, most sellers turn to an agent, either a local firm or one of the growing number of online platforms.
Can I sell my house myself?
A significant part of an estate agent’s work is marketing your home, securing viewings, and acting as a go-between in negotiations. If you are to undertake the role yourself, you will need to feel confident in:
- Valuation: It would be unusual these days if we did not have at least a broad idea of our home’s value. Websites such as Zoopla and Yopa have become increasingly sophisticated, and many of us take more than a passing interest in the local property market, courtesy of sites such as onthemarket.com, rightmove, and primelocation. However, there’s no escaping that an estate agent will be more familiar with the subtleties of the local property market, as well as more general trends in the housing market nationally.
- Marketing: It’s possible to advertise your home for free on sites such as PropertySell and houseladder, and Yopa offers an estate agent service for a fixed fee. You may also consider the weekly property listings in local and regional newspapers or even ‘For Sale’ noticeboards in local shops and supermarkets. But to achieve the widest possible reach, estate agents will advertise your home on premium sites such as righmove and primelocation, in addition to their weekly listings in the local press – and not forgetting their window boards. They will also place a ‘For Sale’ board in your front garden, take photographs, create a floorplan, and produce sale particulars. Furthermore, estate agents maintain a list of buyers who have asked to be informed if properties meeting certain criteria come to market.
- Energy Performance Certificate: Before you can market your property, you need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). If there’s no existing (and unexpired) certificate on your property, you will have to instruct a registered energy assessor.
- Arrange viewings: Once somebody expresses interest in your home, the next step is to arrange a viewing. As well as making your home as visually appealing as possible, you will have to feel comfortable talking to potential buyers and fielding their questions about the property and the locality. If you invite strangers into your home without an agent, security should be a priority. Always have a relative or friend in the house with you.
- Negotiations: The most crucial aspect of negotiating is to decide on the lowest price you are prepared to accept. Take your time, do the maths, and stand firm. Some buyers will drip-feed offers in small increments, while others will present you with their best offer on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis. Your home is almost certainly your most valuable asset, and while not being unrealistic over its value, you certainly do not want to be undersold.
What else do you get from a local estate agent?
In most cases, selling a property is a local ‘game’. Estate agents have a finger constantly on the pulse of the local property market. They know how to price a property to generate interest, and when it comes to negotiation, let’s face it, it’s not exactly something that’s hardwired into the British temperament! They will also see the deal through to completion; they have a vested interest in doing so as that’s when they get paid.
And finally, don’t forget that estate agent’s fees are negotiable. Consider an incentive arrangement where your base price attracts an agreed fee, but the agent receives a percentage for every £x over that figure.
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