Can you sell your home yourself?

Holly Thomas / 16 January 2017

Are you planning to sell your home? Is it time to downsize? Perhaps you want to move closer to your grandchildren, or maybe it’s just time for a change.

The last time you sold your home you will have most likely visited your local estate agent and instructed them to handle the sale. 

Today there are far more choices, with the emergence of DIY home sale websites and online estate agents popular with those who wish to escape high street estate agent fees which run into thousands of pounds.

Here we look at using a pro and going it alone.

Why use an estate agent?

The upside of a high street agent is they are on your high street and local to your property, so they have a good idea of which properties similar to yours have sold at what price over what period of time.

People with busy lives who can’t face taking on another project might gladly just instruct an agent and pay the fee, which can range between 1%-3%, although the upper level is mostly reserved for London agents.

An agent can be invaluable to diffuse what is often an emotional situation if and when things start to come undone. Indeed, if you are uncomfortable being a tough negotiator you may prefer the benefits of hiding behind an estate agent.

Finding the right agent is crucial to a smooth sale. If you have to do much of the work and chasing yourself, paying the fee will feel unjustified. Look up which agents have sold the most properties in your area by searching on the likes of Rightmove. Successful agents will know the buyers looking in that area and what they are prepared to pay.

Don’t forget if you feel like the fee is too high you can haggle with the agent on their fee. Estate agents are in the business of negotiation, so haggling will not come as a surprise. You could ask for a fixed fee rather than commission or simply ask for a reduced fee – perhaps one you have been offered elsewhere.

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Or could you sell your home yourself?

There are a number of websites that will help you sell your home. 

There’s lots to think about - an energy performance certificate (EPC), photos and measurements for a floor plan. 

You might also need to set aside time to do viewings depending on the service you choose. 

Some websites will just provide a listing service, while others act as online estate agents that can help you with the whole selling process. It’s important to understand the differences. 

If you use a straightforward marketing website your property you will need to do the leg work yourself – including banging the For Sale sign into the ground. 

Some online estate agents will assign you a personal account manager. Crucially, you want your home to feature on the major portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove. If it doesn’t, it will drastically limit your pool of buyers.

Online estate agents such as charge from £495 and claim it saves the average client £5,594 compared to the cost of an estate agent. It also offers a pay-as-you-go weekly service from £9 a week. charges a fixed fee of £798 and claims it takes an average of just 14 days to find a buyer.

The danger for sellers is that they may pay several hundred pounds to a private sale website, but still fail to find a buyer and have to use an agent anyway.

Getting the best possible price and a smooth sales process is at the heart of what most people want when they sell up. It’s worth investigating the online option to see if you can save on hefty agent fees that can go towards moving costs.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.