Going it alone


In the age of the internet, an increasing number of people are thinking about being their own estate agent. The attraction is clear - the DIY approach could save you thousands of pounds and hand you full control over the process. However, there's a lot to think about and those savings come at a price: you'll have to do quite a bit of detailed work yourself. 

 

Location, location, location

Where you advertise your property will be a deciding factor in whether or not your house will sell easily. The internet is still the best place to advertise, but there’s nothing to say that you can’t put a simple board outside your property and take phone calls to make appointments. Do make that clear: an appointment is a must.  

Which websites could you use?

As an individual, you can’t advertise on Zoopla or Rightmove. But you can make use of websites such as tepilo.com, and housesimple.co.uk.

How much will it cost to advertise privately?

Estate agents typically charge between 0.75% and 3% of the sale price of your house, plus 20% VAT. So for a £250,000 house sale, the fee would be between £2,250 and £9,000 which is not an inconsiderable sum. It might therefore be worth considering selling your house yourself using organisations such as The House Network, or Purplebricks.com. Packages start from about £700, which can give you a considerable saving.

What will I need to do?

  • You’ll have to photograph your property yourself and upload those pictures to the website. Before you start taking photographs, look at other listings on the internet and work out what makes a ‘good photograph’ and what doesn’t. Zooming in on your favourite piece of lounge furniture may not ‘sell’ the space at all.
  • You’ll have to measure the rooms very accurately, give details about the number and size of rooms in your property, and prepare an energy performance certificate yourself.
  • You’ll also have to arrange your own viewings or make sure someone is available to show people around if you’re not at home.
  • You’ll  also have to deal with all the offers yourself, which definitely means brushing up on market knowledge.

Alternatively, you could choose a ‘halfway’ point: an online service that also offers a negotiator, such as HouseSimple. There are extra charges for this (for a valuation, a home visit, professional photos, floorplans and a listing on Rightmove), but it may be worth thinking about. 

What else should I think about?

Do talk to your local estate agents at least. Most of them will give you a free market valuation without any obligation. Friendly agents may offer some of the services (such as energy performance certificate preparation) alongside their main line of business.