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POSTED 10 December 2018 General

Selling Your House Privately - What you Need to Know

There is an increasing desire for greater control over the home selling process. There are various reasons a homeowner would sell their home privately, these include:

  • Complete control of the sale process
  • Saving on estate agent fees (between 1.5-3% of the property sale price)
  • Control over house valuation price
  • Potential buyers already identified

Alongside the above reasons, selling privately may also appeal to those with not much luck trying to sell via traditional estate agents. As beneficial as it sounds, private house sales are not as common as many would think. This article will provide a full guide for those looking or considering the sale of their property without the use of an estate agent.    

Can I sell my house without an estate agent?

The first question on the mind of many homeowners usually is “can I sell my house without an estate agent?”. The answer is yes. Estate agents are just intermediaries between the home seller and buyer. By using an estate agent, the seller increases their chances of finding a willing buyer with much less hassle.

Some sellers, however, are more than happy to handle the house sale process undertaken by estate agents themselves. These include house valuation, property listing, viewings, and negotiations. The law does not prevent the sale of a property without an estate agent.

Steps to selling your home privately

The below provides the general process for those who want to sell their house privately without an estate agent.

1. Property Valuation 

A local property expert (from the estate agent) usually carries out the property valuation. The seller can, however, do the valuation based on what they deem is acceptable. It is important to set a price that is fair and realistic as this can increase the chance of a quicker sale.

Valuing the property requires diligent research. Checking the Land Registry’s National HPI (House Price Index) for regional price trends is useful. Finding similar properties around the area using Zoopla and Rightmove are also essential in setting a more accurate house valuation price.

2. Advertising the property

After agreeing on a price to sell the property for, the next step is to list the property for prospective buyers to see. Research shows that most buyers are usually within 10 miles of the property for sale, therefore it is advisable to speak first to neighbours and local residents.

Adding the property advert in the local newspapers and news boards is another good way of gaining interest relatively cheaply. Statistics show that 98% of property searches start online, so it is very important to tap into this as much as possible. 

Taking professional, high-quality photos and writing useful, expressive property descriptions is vital, as it helps to promote the property much more.

Unfortunately, online property portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove are only available to estate agents. Therefore, private house sellers have resorted to using online platforms such as Gumtree, Facebook, Preloved and even eBay to advertise their properties. Although these options are cheaper, it also limits them in terms of reach and relevancy.

3. Arrange Viewings

If the seller is successful in finding a prospective buyer, the next step is to arrange and conduct a house viewing. Estate agents often handle this although some sellers are increasingly more involved in this process as they understand their property better. 

Ensuring the property is also clean and tidy can help improve its appeal and increase the chance of an offer. The downside of arranging viewings privately is the lack of any prior vetting carried out on a potential buyer. 

In the worst case, the seller ends up wasting time showing the property to multiple viewers who are not ready or qualified to purchase the property.

4. Price negotiations

A private seller may also have to negotiate the price of their property with a potential buyer. Understanding what the minimum acceptable amount is, will help in steering the negotiations to become mutually beneficial. 

There might be areas of the property identified during the viewing or property survey that requires improvements, sellers should consider during negotiations. If multiple offers are much lower than the advertised price, the seller may have to reconsider their valuation. 

The seller may decline initial offers but can revisit some which are more reasonable. When the seller accepts an offer finally, the potential buyer should send the offer amount through email or post. However, nothing is legally binding until there is an exchange of contracts.  

5. Hire a Solicitor/Conveyancer

After accepting an offer on the property, the next step is to hire a conveyancer or solicitor. They can do this through word-of-mouth recommendations or research on the best conveyancers that are both timely and cost-effective. 

A question commonly asked by those looking to sell privately is “do I need a solicitor to sell my house?”. It is not compulsory to instruct a solicitor as you can use a licensed conveyancer instead. 

The qualified conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor will help draw up the required contracts and address all the legalities such as land registry fees, surveys, energy performance certificate.

6. Exchange of Contracts

When all necessary legal costs have sorted, and both sides make an agreement, they set an exchange date. At the exchange of contracts, the house sale then becomes a legally binding contract. 

The seller then receives the sales proceeds at the point of exchange and hands over the keys to the buyer.

What other options are available?

Although it is possible for a homeowner to sell their property privately, there is a lot of legwork involved. Once started, most aspects of the sale are to be handled independently. While taking a more hybrid approach to it can help reduce the hassle whilst still providing a high control over the sale.

At House Network, we aim to involve sellers as much as they require in the sale of their property, therefore we only charge a fixed fee for our service. Alongside any personal promotions and advertising, House Network ensure:

  • Our agent takes professionally high-quality photos
  • Sellers can write their own property descriptions
  • We list the property on Zoopla, Rightmove and Primelocation
  • The seller conducts the viewings
  • Vetting of potential viewers
  • Full control of the property listing via our online portal
  • Sellers receive a personal negotiator
  • Conveyancing service is available

All the above and more is available for a low, fixed rate. Find out more here