Selling your property privately can be a very challenging but hugely rewarding experience.
The majority of the costs associated with moving go towards estate agency fees, so there are some significant savings to be made if you can successfully sell your property yourself!
When deciding whether to sell privately or instruct an estate agent, it’s worth considering what the current market conditions are like and assessing the following situations –
- Is the market buoyant?
- Is your type of property in demand?
- Are local properties achieving close to or all of their asking price?
If the market is not in your favour at the time you’re looking to sell, it may be wise to consider the benefits of instructing an estate agent. A local agent can use their skills and experience to market your property to the widest audience possible.
But… should you decide to take on the task yourself, what else do you need to do?
1. Arrange an EPC
To sell your home in the UK, the law requires you to have an up to date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
An EPC gives potential buyers an indication how energy efficient your property is.
EPC’s are valid for 10 years, so depending on how long you’ve owned your current home for, there may already be one available.
If you’ve made improvements to the energy efficiency of your property such as installing new windows or an updated boiler, then it’s recommended a new EPC assessment is carried out to provide a fair and accurate rating.
2. Decide an asking price
When marketing a property for sale, it’s important that your home is listed for sale at a realistic price in order to maximise the number of enquiries and viewings you receive.
The more viewings you have increases the likelihood of achieving the best price!
Take a look at local adverts of similar properties for sale and note down the asking prices.
Ask yourself the following:
- How does it compare with your own property?
- When did it come on to the market?
- Is it still available or it is under offer?
Property websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla offer historical data of properties similar to yours that have recently exchanged and completed in your postcode area.
This information is great to have available as it’s the same data used by mortgage surveyors when agreeing the price your buyers have offered!
Some properties are exceptionally unique and it may not be possible to get an understanding of what it may be worth when there is nothing out there to compare it to. In a situation like this, I would recommend instructing an estate agent to help sell your property.
3. Advertising your property
Advertising your property to the widest audience is crucial – especially in tough market conditions. Some of the things you could do to reach potential buyers include:
- Delivering leaflets around your local area. Research from Newcastle University shows that home buyers in England are most likely to move between 3 and 6 miles of their current home!
- Creating an advert to display in local shops and supermarket notice boards
- Advertising in your local newspaper
- Consider creating a social media post for friends and family to share
Unfortunately, Rightmove and Zoopla only permit estate agents and developers to list properties for sale on their sites – though some online estate agents will charge a fixed sum to market a property on your behalf.
4. Arrange viewings
Estate agents usually arrange and conduct the viewings on your property, but selling privately means these are now up to you to do!
It’s important to qualify the buying position of any interested viewers and assessing if they have a mortgage in place should they decide to make an offer.
Don’t waste time showing people around if they haven’t checked whether they’re able to afford a property in your price range.
If you’re unable to attend a viewing for any reason, ask a friend or family member if they can cover it for you.
You can read my 8 Top Tips When Preparing For Viewers here.
5. Negotiating an offer
When negotiating an offer, it’s important to decide what you’re willing to accept and focus on not going below that figure. You may need to accept a certain amount in order to afford your ongoing purchase.
When an offer is made on your property, consider the position of the buyers and make sure that everyone involved is able to work to the same deadlines and timescales.
If you receive multiple offers and are unsure which one to accept, consider the following:
- Are they first time buyers or are they involved in a chain?
- Is their property sold?
- Are their finances arranged and in place?
- Which buyer is able to work with your ideal timeframe?
Don’t be afraid to reject an offer that’s not right for you! Doing so in a polite and friendly manner could attract a better counter offer which you’re likely to consider.
It also leaves open the possibility of the buyer making a higher offer at a later time if they’ve not since found something suitable – and if your property remains on the market.
6. Instruct a solicitor or conveyancer
Once you’ve accepted an offer, the next step is to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to begin the legal work.
It’s very important to use a solicitor that you believe you can trust and with whom you build a good relationship.
Both you and the solicitor will need to maintain regular contact to complete all the relevant legal stages involved when transferring ownership of a property.
Ask your friends or family members if they have any recommendations, or take a look at reviews online when researching which company to instruct.
To find a local conveyancer you can search The Council for Licenced Conveyancers’ website at http://www.clc-uk.org/ or search The Law Society’s website at http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/
Avoid including the full address on any listings that you create or publish – only give this to viewers whose situation and suitability you’ve assessed.
Some people may feel uncomfortable when meeting strangers and showing them around their property. If this is the case, ask a friend or family member to be present with you during the appointment.
Do not give out any information regarding security systems or how often the property may be left empty. This type of information can be handed over once exchange of contracts has taken place.
Do not leave viewers unattended and ensure any valuable items are stored and locked away securely.
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