Private house sales: Pros and Cons

More and more savvy consumers are turning to DIY or private house sales when it comes time to sell their properties. While 20 years ago a DIY seller would have been forced to put an ad in the local newspaper and sit back and wait for potential buyers to pour in, the internet and technological advances have made it easier than ever before for anyone and everyone to reach a massive audience from the comfort of their living room.

However, there are still serious points to take into consideration before you embark on a private house sale, and this sales method is not right for everyone. Ultimately the difference between a high street agency service and a private sales service comes down to a trade-off between cost and service.

A high street agent will offer the most comprehensive service and will take pretty much all the work out of your hands, allowing you to get on with your busy day to day life with little interruption… however you will have to pay for this level of service.

With a private sales service on the other hand, you will have to do much of the work yourself, from pricing your property, to communicating with buyers and conducting viewings. But remember, it is this DIY approach that will allow you to save thousands of pounds in estate agent’s fees.

So is a private house sale right for you? Here are some key pros and cons to consider before making a decision.

PRO: Save Money

Just because you’ve decided to sell privately doesn’t mean you have to go it completely alone. Traditional estate agents may take care of many of the finer details of selling a property, things like advertising and showing off the property in question, but this aid comes at a high financial cost. Traditional estate agent fees can be steep, and they normally take a percentage of the overall sale price. A typical percentage of 1.5% may sound low, but houses are big money. A house that sells for £200,000 would demand a fee of £3,000.

Selling privately means avoiding much of the financial loss without sacrificing the help. There are many comprehensive resources available when it comes to listing a property, with multiple websites that specialize in this new selling revolution.

Listing your property on a For-Sale-By-Owner website will usually cost from roughly £50.00 – £150.00 for a basic package. This amount may increase when you add the cost of optional extras like For Sale boards, EPCs, floor plans etc. But you will still be paying significantly less than you would with a high street estate agent.

CON: Time and Effort

Unfortunately there is no getting around the fact that as a private seller you will have to do a fair amount of the work yourself. That does not mean that you will not be able to seek professional advice at various stages of the sales process, but you will have to commit some time and effort to achieve a quick sale.

You need to be prepared to communicate with potential buyers in a timely manner – buyers can lose interest quickly if they are not responded to – and you will have to make yourself available to conduct viewings.

You will also need to set aside some time to negotiate offers and work through the completion process, which an estate agent would usually do for you.

These are just a few of the things you should consider before choosing to go down a private sales route, and you can find much more detailed guides and advice pieces that will really give you a comprehensive understanding of the process, like this one from The House Shop.

If you like the idea of a private sale, but want to secure a listing on the major portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, then you should consider using an Online Estate Agent. You can find out more about online agents and what essentials should be included in every package here.

For now, we hope this get’s you thinking about the best way to sell for you and your property. Make sure you look at all your options carefully, and look beyond the well-trodden path, as it could save you thousands in the process.

Photo: Alan Feebery

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