Tips on how to Sell your Property Privately Online
- Using Estate Agents
- Advertising your House or Property Yourself
- I am with an Estate Agent can I still advertise on 3up2down?
- If I sell my home privately do I still need to pay the Estate Agent?
- Types of Estate Agents Contracts
sole agency, multi agency, ready and willing & able purchaser, sole selling rights
- Valuing your house
- Home Information Pack
- Taking Photos
- Creating your online advert
- Prepare yourself and your house or property for viewing
- Received offers and Negotiation
How do they value your house?
Estate agents cannot value your property only qualified surveyors can carry out property valuations. Estate Agents can only use their local knowledge and experience to suggest the market value of your property.
The problem with this system is that the Estate Agent you have asked to suggest the asking price of your property wants to get your instruction so they meet their target. And the easiest way to do this is to provide an inflated property value to impress you and get you to sign on the dotted line and tied into a contract. As a result of this tactic you won't get many viewing's you don't sell and what I find unforgivable you waste precious time.
The Estate Agent will then meet their next target by suggesting you reduce your property price to a realistic asking price, which if you want to sell you do. How do they market your house? Estate agents main focus is the internet. Why? Because over 70% of UK property buyers now search the internet first when looking to buy property. With more and more people searching for their next property online, high street estate agents are catching on to the fact that the Internet is taking over the high street for home shopping, and that an online presence is more important than a high street presence.
Estate agents also like you to use their 'for sale' boards, because 'for sale' boards are very effective at attracting passing buyers who may be viewing a property close by or those out and about looking to move to a particular area.
"It's not uncommon for anything between 30-50% of buyer enquiries to come from a For Sale Sign Board"
Who conducts the viewing's?
These days estate agents only arrange appointments for prospective buyers to view the property and expect you to show them around.
Why? Because they know that you, the property owner are likely to be a better guide for conducting viewing's because you know your property better than anyone. You are in the best position to answer any questions by a potential buyer; an estate agent will not know what the neighbours are like!
What commission do they charge?
Typically estate agents charge anything from 1.0% to 4% of the agreed sale price. For example, a property that sells for £200,000 with an estate agent's fee of 1.5% commission would mean the total amount payable by you is £3,000 + VAT = £3,529! They will also make an undisclosed commission if they have arranged your home information pack plus a disclosed amount if you use their nominated solicitor. Are their services really worth £3,500 plus?
Within the last few years the government has been so concerned with how estate agents operate they have conducted a number of major reports into the problems of buying and selling property in the UK.
Other consumer groups such as Which? have also conducted their own studies and found evidence that some estate agents had committed serious violations of the law, and that in their report 50% of consumers were dissatisfied with the service they received from their estate agent.
With increases in property prices over the last 10 years how can estate agents justify charging a percentage fee of the sale of your house? Are they working harder? Providing a better service? The reports conducted by the government and Which? suggest they are not or can they get us a higher sale value and more money for our property? This I feel is doubtful due to the commission system.
The key problem using a estate agent is the percentage commission fee structure, as estate agents rely on the quick turnaround and sale of property on their books in order to survive.
This means that if you have a sale price of £200,000 and you get an offer for £190,000 the agent will want you to accept the low offer. Why? because they will be losing only £200 on a 1.5% commission sale basis and don't mind you losing £9,850 for quick turnaround. The percentage commission pay structure means that it simply makes no business sense and is not worth the estate agents time or extra effort to find the buyer willing to pay another £10,000. That's why they like price reductions as they can shift more property more quickly. Using a estate agent will therefore not guarantee that you will obtain a higher sale price, in fact as they have lots of property on their books they are unlikely to be able to focus all their efforts into selling your property.
More and more people now use the internet to hunt for a property. All you need to do is put a little effort into presenting your home (which you should do anyway), pitch the sale price right (see our valuations page) and to have a marketing plan. Which is the simple part, if your serious about selling your property privately to be effective you will need to market your property both on the internet (which is free with us) and locally with your own For Sale Sign Board as you want as many people as possible to know your property is for sale.
Why are For Sale Signs and For Sale Boards Important?
For Sale Signs and For Sale Boards attract local property seekers and it's not uncommon for anything between 30-50% of buyer enquiries to come from a sign so you'll be mad not to have one. Order your property For Sale Sign Board.
Once you found a buyer, you need to be certain they can proceed (see offers and negotiation) and arrange to keep in regular contact each week.
Advertise your property on 3up2down.com for FREE you'll be amazed how easy it is. Sell your house online - find out more...
We recommend that you out of courtesy you contact your estate agent advising them you wish to advertise your property on our website to ensure this will not be a problem. Because the Estate Agents Act 1979 it out of date most if not all online property websites will fall into a gray area of that Act and therefore may or may not be deemed an estate agent. Only further amendments to the Act or a test case will make this clear.
For clarification of our service - You submit and list your own property for sale on 3up2down.com (classified advert), buyers contact you or your estate agent direct and we play no part in negotiation or assisting the sale or purchase of a property.
The Office of Fair Trading states that so long as you have not signed a contract with a clause giving the agent "sole selling rights" you do not have to pay them. For more information see the Office of Fair Trading buyers and sellers guide.
However because the Estate Agents Act 1979 it out of date most if not all online property websites will fall into a gray area of that Act and therefore may or may not be deemed an estate agent. Only further amendments to the Act or a test case will make this clear.
The Different Estate Agent Contract Types Explanation of Terms:
- Sole selling rights: the estate agent
that you have appointed is the only person with the right to
sell your property. The agent is entitled to his fee even if
you sell the property yourself.
- Sole agency: the term refers to your
appointed estate agent - the only agent with the right to sell your property.
You should be able to sell the property yourself without paying the agent
a fee, provided that the agent did not introduce the buyer to you during
the contract period.
- Multi agency: you can ask several agents
to act for you but only the one that sells the property is entitled to
- Ready, willing and able purchaser: under
this contract, if the estate agent finds you a buyer who is prepared
able to buy your property and to exchange unconditional contracts, you
must pay the commission even if you decide not to sell. Therefore, as
soon as you have found a buyer you must inform the estate agent
that your property is no longer for sale or you could still face paying
In spite of this some unethical estate agents may try and get commission from you by making threats to take you to court. In those circumstances we would suggest that you register a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading and get their FREE advice. See below for more information on making a complaint against an Estate Agent. View a recent court ruling supporting private house sales and confirmation of your right NOT to pay commission if the Estate Agent has not played a part in the sale of your property.
You can value your own property by following the guidance on our valuations page.
It is a legal requirement to have a Home Information Pack for all domestic homes that are placed on the open market for sale in England and Wales.
HIP's have been introduced to provide house buyers with up-front information without incurring any expense, so that they can make an informed decision to purchase based on the information contained within the packs and help avoid any unpleasant surprises.
- Do I need a Home Information Pack?
- When can I start to sell my house and place my property on the market?
- What are the contents of a HIP?
- Where can I Buy a HIP?
If you are going to use an estate agent they will offer you their own Home Information Pack (HIP). However, be very careful as some estate agents are charging you either more commission, an additional fee or their contract terms may not be favourable. 3up2down can provide you with an instant, competitive HIP quotation, with flexible payment options.
Buy Now Pay Later or Pay now and save money
For more information on Home Information Packs go to our HIP's Page
Before you take any photographs of your property ensure the location is clean and tidy, de-clutter rooms so they appear larger. Outside cut the grass and remove weeds from flower beds to ensure that the shots you take capture your property at its best. Also consider how light will affect the mood of your property, it is normally best to take pictures of the exterior on a sunny day.
Set your digital camera to take photos to at 1 Mega pixels, more guidance is available on our help page.
You must first register and setup a new account and follow the instructions on the registration form. Once you have setup your account, log into your account by entering your e-mail address and password in the login section on our home page, go to 'My Advert(s)' in the top menu, then click on 'set up an advert'. Guidance and help is provided throughout the form, simply complete the form working through each section step by step.
- Organise yourself by setting up a viewing diary so that you can keep track of appointments.
- Plan your pitch, it's up to you to lead the viewing and guide buyers through a prepared route so that they see the property in its best light.
- Keep all your doors closed so they see each room individually.
- Keep your property as clean and tidy as possible, de-clutter - rooms with lots in them appear much smaller.
- Smells are important so one 'trick' is to have fresh coffee on or the smell of fresh bread baking - alternatively a neutral air freshener will mask any unwanted smells.
- Buyers may ask you for information on your property (e.g. how much is the council tax, quarterly utility bills and water rates etc.) so be prepared.
- Have several copies of your HIP available, viewers may request a copy.
- As you guide them through the property get some background information - Are they in a chain? Have they sold their property? Are they a first time buyers? Have they got a mortgage agreed in principle? etc.. just so you can build up a picture.
- Do not leave valuables lying around.
- Give them space and time to make decisions, however don't leave viewers alone in a room for too long.
- For safety, make sure you are not alone in the house when conducting a viewing
- If anyone rings your doorbell wanting to look around, take their details and arrange a viewing for another time instead.
The process of selling your property can be straight forward if you follow a few simple rules depending where you are located within the UK.
Under Scottish Law when you accept an offer to purchase a property, a binding contract is formed which the you the seller have agreed to sell the property to the buyer for a set price and within a agreed time scale.
In England and Wales
Offers accepted can be withdrawn for any reason as no legal binding contract is formed. Only after exchange of contracts is a legal binding contract formed.
If you are in any doubt you should always seek legal advice before accepting an offer. First be prepared as most initial offers can be lower than the asking price so donít be offended. This means you may need to negotiate to a level you will accept. However before you accept any offers find out your buyer's position and take your time to consider the full picture including their offer.
- Have they the funds in place? E.g. mortgage agreement in principle? Or cash?
- Are they in a chain? If yes is it complete?
- How soon can they complete the purchase?
A high percentage of property sales fail to complete because the buyer is not in a position to proceed or they say they are but in reality they are not. This may be because they are selling their house and have not found a buyer or some part of the chain is incomplete or the buyers are unable to get the mortgage they need to buy your property.
To avoid falling into this trap it is reasonable to request confirmation from a third party such as the buyerís mortgage adviser and/or estate agent and/or solicitor to ensure buyers are able to proceed. Doing this will ensure that youíve done all you can to be certain that the buyer can genuinely proceed with the purchase.
What if the buyer(s) are not in a position to proceed?
You should thank them for their offer but keep your property on the market and not accept any offers until they buyer(s) can proceed with the purchase.
What if you have more than one interest party and get an offer from one
of them, thatís acceptable but lower then you would like?
Be honest and let the potential buyers have the full picture and let them know what you would accept to take the property off the market its then up to them. Accepting an offer only to decline it later because you have another higher offer is a risky game that may break the trust you have with the buyers and your chances of a sale.
Once you have accepted an offer it is a good idea to send a letter confirming your acceptance of the buyer's offer (note: this letter is not legally binding in England and Wales, but it adds an official feel to the proceedings).
You should also take the contact details of the buyer(s) and details of their solicitor to forward to your solicitor in order that they can start the conveyancing process. Get a solicitor quote.
Its also good practice to get an idea from the buyers when they anticipate the surveyor will be in contact so you can chase them if there is a delay. Expecting a surveyor within a week of accepting an offer is not unreasonable. Delays can occur if the lender the buyer is using has not completed their application checks and references. So if you have not heard anything contact the buyers for an update and get them to chase their mortgage lender or broker and get back to with an anticipated date when the surveyor will be in contact.
Agreeing to keep in regular contact possibly twice a week on a set day by e-mail or telephone should ensure that any problems get identified early on.
It will also provide reassurance that the buyer(s) are committed to the deal and help you keep on track for your agreed target completion date.