Guest Blog - Is a private house sale right for you?

The good people at The House Shop have been kind enough to write us this guest blog, discussing the pros and cons of selling your house privately. Should you consider it?

In parts of Europe and the United States, private house sales account for 12%-15% of the market, however in the UK they account for less than 5%. Despite this, private house sales are finally gathering pace in the UK and becoming more popular among sellers who have been disappointed with traditional estate agents’ services.

Research by The House Shop has shown that the average age of private sellers is 40.2 years of age, meaning that the majority of private sellers are most likely second-time buyers who have been through the process with an agent before and now have the confidence to go it alone.

Selling your home yourself, without the help of an estate agent, gives you total control over the sale process – from marketing your property, to conducting viewings and negotiating the sale price. Private sales services will help you market your property to interested buyers and will offer the same professional services that you can expect from an estate agent.

Pros

Cost

The most common reason for choosing this method is to save money on estate agent’s fees. Selling your own home is one of the few methods available where you will keep the entire purchase price of the property.

You can advertise your home on a For-Sale-By-Owner website for as little as £34.99 per month – compare this with the £4,200 you would pay to an agent on an average UK house, and you could save well over £4,000 by selling yourself. Another bonus of the FSBO route is that, unlike a commission fee, the price you pay doesn’t change depending on the value of your home.

Specialised Advertising

Private sales are especially suited to owners of unusual or niche properties, for example accessible homes. This is because private sellers have more control over how their home is advertised and you can highlight accessible features as a key selling point. Property websites like TheHouseShop.com offer free listings to accessible homeowners and more and more disabled buyers are staring their searches on private sales sites.

Stay in Control

With a private sale, you stay in complete control of the process. No-one knows your home as well as you do and you will most likely do a better job of ‘selling’ the place than most agents. Prospective buyers like honest and transparent communication and will enjoy learning what they can expect from the local community from someone who has actually lived there – so leave the agent “sales speak” at the door!

Cons

No Hand-Holding

Some homeowners find that they lack the confidence to go through the sales process alone, especially when it comes to negotiating an offer and finalising a sale. The private sales method does not suit sellers who are uncomfortable with the norms of the property market and may find the prospect of a private sale daunting.

Time and Effort

Selling your own home will require a significant amount of time and effort on your part, to arrange and conduct viewings, create your property advert and negotiate with buyers. If you are working a full-time job this may be difficult, and the sale may be dragged out over a longer period of time.

Security

Another concern with this method is direct contact between you and potential buyers. Sellers should always be wary of strange or unusual enquiries from buyers, as they may be fake or malicious. An agent would usually filter out these enquiries before they reach you, and you should be aware that you will have to do this yourself.