Property Assistant UK

Why Using an Estate Agent is Better Than Selling Your Home Privately

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Why Using an Estate Agent is Better Than Selling Your Home Privately

The internet has revolutionised the way we buy and sell lots of things including property. But, whilst it certainly makes Christmas shopping a lot easier, selling your home without the assistance of a property professional can present a few challenges that some homeowners don’t consider.

With new entrants to the house selling business including non-traditional online ‘agents’ who offer a DIY service for homeowners, we thought now would be a good time to answer the question ‘should I try and sell my home myself?’.

Why Would You Choose To Sell Your Home Yourself?

One of the prime reasons why homeowners choose to sell their home without an estate agent is to save money on commission. Around the UK, prices paid to estate agents vary a lot and range from less than 1% to as much as 3.5%. With the average price of a house (UK, September 2019) being £234,370 this could mean making a saving of between £2,000 to £8,000. And, here in the Thames Valley these figures can be doubled, if not trebled in some cases.

With such a lot of money at stake, it’s little wonder that homeowners are tempted to take on the task of selling a property themselves.

For other sellers, the motivation for going ‘DIY’ can be for other reasons:

  • They may have professional experience in the area and have the skills to do a good job.
  • They may have had a bad experience in the past with using estate agents.
  • They may want to retain as much control as possible in valuing, marketing and selling their home.

What Does ‘Selling Your Own House’ Involve?

For most people, the idea behind selling a property is pretty straightforward. They may have experience of selling other items online so surely the process of marking your home is just as simple, right?

In some ways, yes but in the most important ways, getting this process right is crucial. We are not talking about selling some household items on eBay but giving your home the best chance to achieve the best price.

Selling anything is about ensuring your preparation and research is done well and presenting your item(s) in the best possible way to reach the widest audience. Once you have attracted enough attention, the rest is all about the subtle but often complex process of sales. If enough of the right people are interested in buying something then the stage is set for maximising value.

So, let’s take a look at all the stages of selling a home so you understand exactly what it is that is involved:

  • Preparing your house for sale – this includes finishing all those little jobs that need maintenance in order to pass inspection from both potential buyers and, at a later stage, surveyors. The key here is knowing what needs doing and whatcan be left alone. Some remedial work may be worth doing in order to add value and some may even be essential to avoid a sale falling through post-survey. Other jobs may simply be costly and be of no benefit to you in the long run.

A local property professional like Property Assistant can advise you on what they think your home needs in order to help it sell.

  • Setting a value –a crucial part of selling a property is setting the right price for your property. It may sound an easy thing to do but getting this ‘spot-on’ is key to making sure your property doesn’t languish on the market unsold for weeks. A property that is priced too high will often fall outside of the searches made by potential buyers and dismissed without even being viewed. A property that is priced too low may attract a lot of interest but could end up selling for far less than its true value.

Only an estate agent with good local knowledge of current, historical and trending property prices can accurately value your home and set a price that gives it the best chance to sell.

  • Arranging an EPC– An Energy Performance Certificate needs to be in place when you market your home and provides potential buyers with an idea of how efficient your home is as well as giving them an indication of running costs. It’s a legal requirement and you must ensure that it is valid. Certificates only last for ten years and were introduced in 2007. This means the first EPCs are now passing their expiration dates.

You can arrange an EPC directly with an independent assessor but local estate agents have contacts with whom they work regularly and can often organise these faster and more cheaply.

  • Writing up a description – Perhaps one of the easiest parts of the process but one that many people struggle with if they aren’t familiar with this kind of writing. The sale particulars of your property must be accurate and not mislead buyers in any way. With this in mind, you will need to accurately describe your property but use enticing language that (in addition to your photos) will help increase its appeal.

Professional estate agents have years of experience in how to write up the sale particulars of a property in order to enhance its listing. They will work closely with the owners to ensure that the detail is factually correct.

  • Taking photographs – A critical way in which professional listings differ from those where sellers are taking the DIY route, professional photographs are key to attracting potential buyers and selling your home fast and for the best price. We cannot overstate the importance of making sure the photographs taken for your property are professional. The shots you use offer buyers their first viewing online and poor images that don’t take advantage of proper staging techniques, good lighting and framing can put people off an initial enquiry.

Property Assistant provides an exceptional service when it comes to property photography and our service comes with free advice and support for home staging.

  • Measuring floor plans – Floor plans are a vital way to communicate practical information about the layout of your home and listings that have this information available. Though not mandatory, most people expect to be able to see a floor plan of a property when they view details online. Research provided by Rightmove in 2017 suggested that one in five potential buyers would ignore a listing if it had no floor plan and 88% agreed that they were ‘essential’ or ‘very useful’.

Again, you can arrange for floor plans to be drawn up for you and some online agents even offer this service. However, this is (usually) a standard offering from all estate agents including Property Assistant.

  • Listing the property – In order to be seen online you need to have your property listed on one of the two main property platforms; Zoopla or Rightmove. Unfortunately, neither of these websites allow private sellers to list directly with them. To get a listing with either platform you will need to use a middle man in the form of an online agent, traditional agent or a specialist third-party listing agent.

Most estate agents will have service agreements in place with one or both of the UK’s main property platforms and listing the property will come at no extra cost.

  • Active marketing – Whilst listing a property on Zoopla and Rightmove might seem like a failsafe way to market a property, it isn’t the only method for attracting potential buyers. Using a mix of social media marketing, direct advertising and networking can also help boost viewings. A traditional For Sale board is also recommended to both attract passing interest but also as a way to indicate your location when sellers come for a viewing.

A good estate agent will have an active database of interested buyers with whom they already have a working relationship. Don’t underestimate the power of a good network along with a professional (and varied) approach to marketing.

  • Arranging viewings – Houses that have been priced well and have benefitted from a good marketing plan can expect to receive a lot of interest. Arranging viewings with your potential buyers can take some organisation and may not always suit your own plans. Busy families and sellers with demanding jobs may have to delay viewings until it suits their schedule. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to buyers finding other properties of interest before seeing yours.

A good estate agent will bend over backwards to accommodate an interested buyer for your property and can be trusted to accompany them on a viewing. Critically, they will use this opportunity to find out more about the buyers and their position. For professionals, listening is one of the key skills for this important first meeting and it can be an opportunity to get some valuable feedback on how the property is being seen by the market.

  • Negotiating and accepting offers – When it comes to fielding offers, it can sometimes be tempting to take the first price whilst other sellers will simply go with the highest offer. Negotiating offers from buyers is not always as straightforward as saying yes or no.

It takes an experienced professional to recognise what value there is in declining a lower offer and when to negotiate. A buyer’s position could make one offer more secure than another. In some circumstances, when a home is in high demand, a good estate agent can help secure a price higher than that for which it is being marketed.

  • Managing the chain and sales progression – Once you have sold your property and accepted an offer, the real work begins and chain management can be a time-consuming aspect of selling a home. From dealing with enquiries from the buyer’s solicitors, financial advisors, mortgage company and surveyors to processing paperwork and keeping the sale on track, these aspects of contractual exchange require constant and prompt attention.

Over one in four of all house sales fall through before completion and sometimes these breaks in a chain can be avoided by proactive sales progression. A good estate agency will work tirelessly to ensure that nothing is left to chance when it comes to completing on your house sale.

  • Dealing with renegotiations – A part of the after-sales process, it can be quite common for post-offer renegotiations to crop up. This may be a result of a survey report that has been returned to the buyers which reveals some new information or could even be a result of significant delays in the sale which has seen a change in market conditions.

Such situations can be dealt with professionally and rationally by an estate agent and handled with the right level of tact. All too often, a change of landscape late in the process can be ill- received by buyers and sellers who may pull out of the contract. Remember, until the paperwork has been exchanged, the sale is not legally binding.

Selling Your Home With Property Assistant

Property Assistant is a local estate agency that has plenty of experience in selling properties for the best price. A family business that works with clients to produce a proactive marketing campaign, we put people at the heart of our business so we can help you move quickly.

If you’d like to know more about a traditional and professional property team that uses modern methods to sell your home then contact us today on 0118 912 2370.