If you want a job doing, do it yourself, right?
If you’re the sort of proactive person who doesn’t like to leave jobs to others then the traditional process of selling a house might be intensely frustrating. The good news for someone who is determined to be in control of their own fate is that you can cut out the middle men and sell your house privately.
In this scenario you take the photographs, field calls from would-be buyers, arrange viewings and show potential buyers round the property. You can scour sites like Zoopla and try to work out a sensible price for your property based on the trends in the market locally.
You also arrange to get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), source your own legal service and take a direct involvement in the negotiation needed with a buyer.
The flexibility you get from taking charge of your own sale means that your property listing need not just look like everyone else’s. If you have a flair for photography you’ll have the chance to take better pictures than the vast bulk of those on Rightmove, et al.
House selling guru Sam Ashdown points out in her eBook that you could – and should – do a much better job of the description of your house – with snappier headlines and more exciting prose free of ‘agent speak’ that talks much more naturally to a buyer. She recommends keeping all the measurements and factual details in a floorplan/diagram, ensuring that your text is an easier read that focuses on talking about the strengths of the property.
Sam’s tips strike at the heart of the positives of private sales. You can put your own stamp on the process and be much more proactive.
It’s clear that there are negatives though. Without the expertise of an estate agent it can be hard to market your property as comprehensively as required and, even with the information available online, you may struggle to reach a realistic valuation and negotiate a price with confidence. Depending on your work and family commitments, organising viewing can also prove a burden.
For many people who want to ditch the pushy salesman – and avoid fees stretching to several thousands of pounds for the pleasure of their services – there is a ‘third way’.
Online estate agents are getting an increasing foothold in the house sales market, offering to handle the estate agent services a seller will need for a flat fee of about £500 (it can be £300 to £1,000). These firms can get a seller over the marketing and expertise hurdles – without the need for the salesmen, fees and visits to high street shops and with the flexibility to put their own stamp on how the house is marketed.
For some, the cost of such online sellers is their big attraction. For the type of people who would rather sell their house themselves, the ability to remove the hassle of dealing with a traditional agent and retain some control over the process adds to the attraction. Perhaps it is the combination of both of these factors that has led to experts to suggest that 70 per cent or more of house sales will be handled online by 2020.
Traditionally, private house sales have been restricted to those taking place between family members or neighbours. The impact of the role of the Internet may well mean that more and more people take charge of at least part of the process for themselves.