Moving house is a stressful and expensive business. With estate agents claiming around £3000 per time to sell a home, cutting them out could be a great way to save money. While there are still other costs and an added burden, selling your home yourself could prove to be a wise decision.
Currently the housing market is not at its healthiest, meaning this task has never been so difficult. If you are prepared to wait however, or if your home is in demand, it could pay off.
First of all you need to know your home’s value. Many estate agents offer a free valuation service, but make sure you get a second or third opinion. Be wary of estate agents overvaluing your home, this deception by flattery is an old trick to get you to hire their services. They will claim that a property can fetch x-amount, only to recommend you drop the asking price after a few months pass with no success.
All homes coming onto the market now need an Energy Performance Certificate. Originally part of the short-lived Home Information Pack, this aspect has survived, being an essential means of rating energy efficiency. Grading every home from A to G, it will also give recommendations for improvement, such as new windows or loft insulation.
You will need a registered energy assessor to put this together for you. This costs between £100-£200 but is valid for ten years.
Now for a lot of hard work and patience. Get your home listed in as many reputable places as possible, adverts sites such as Zoopla or Prime location can cost up to £200 but will be seen by thousands. Be sure to pop up a for sale sign, place a few local ads and try some of the free websites to compliment this.
The right photos can make the difference, make sure to present your home at its best. If necessary you can hire a photographer for this.
Do the usual tasks to make your home as attractive as possible. Consider what kind of buyers would be interested in your home, and then tailor it to them. For example, if your home has an office or gym, consider turning it back into a bedroom if you are likely to attract young families.
Before any viewings, make sure to clean, de-clutter and depersonalise. Buyers like to imagine themselves living in a property, so it’s best to make it seem like a blank canvas in their eyes. A home that is messy or full of personal trinkets can make this difficult.
This is the bit that estate agents do best, but you can still do a good job of it. Decide the order of rooms beforehand, showing the best ones first or last. The first visit should be a professional once over, don’t get too personal or overload them with trivial details.
Once you are finished, invite viewers to have another look around on their own. Give them a bit of space, but make sure you are around to answer questions.
This can be quite a sensitive subject, so try to remain professional. Have a lower limit considered before you enter any negotiation and do not allow yourself to be hurried into making a decision. Remember that offers are not set in stone until the contracts are signed.
The highest offer is not always the best, try to find out as much about the buyer as possible. Do they already own a home? Will there be a chain? How are they financing the move? It may be worth accepting a lower offer to ensure a smoother sale.
Once you have decided on a buyer you will need to get some contacts written up. For this you will need a solicitor which will cost between £300-£500.
Thanks to Joe for sending this story. Joe is a blogger for Force8 doors and windows who writes about property, home improvement, interior design and green living.