publication date: Jan 13, 2010
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
What are the pros and cons of selling privately?
With the reach of the internet these days and companies offering for sale signs and packs to help you sell your own home, it’s very tempting to think that it would be easy to sell a home yourself rather than through an agent – and of course the private sales companies will tell you it could save you thousands!
The big question of course is – will it? Or are you just wasting your own time and money. Below, Kate Faulkner, goes through the pros and cons of selling your home privately and recommends sites that you should use.
Pros of Selling a Home Privately
You can save approximately 2% of the value of your home by selling yourself. For example, if you think your home will sell for £250,000 then you’ll save £5,000 minus the cost of selling privately which you can estimate at around £500 (includes photos, floor plans, printing packs, time showing people around etc).
You know your property better than anyone else, so in theory, if you can ‘talk the talk’ then you are likely to show people around with lots more information than an agent that hasn’t visited it before!
The middleman is cut out so if you want to negotiate face to face with a buyer/seller you can rather than waiting for phone calls and going ‘backwards’ and ‘forwards’ communicating with each other.
Visits can be organised to suit you and the seller rather than just when the agent wants to show people around, mainly due to office hour restrictions!
As a seller you can focus on your property only and are not competing with an agent’s attention to put your property forward first to buyers.
Cons of Selling a Home Privately
You are unlikely to be aware of the Property Misdescriptions Act or other legal requirements such as having a Home Information Pack and Energy Performance Certificate ready for buyers to inspect PRIOR to marketing your property anywhere.
Securing buyers in the current market isn’t easy – we are selling half the number of properties we do normally, so that means it’s twice as difficult to find a buyer as it was two years ago!
Negotiating with buyers isn’t as easy as it may seem. Everyone in property will often try to play games so it’s difficult to know the right questions to ask to make sure you get the best offer from someone. You also need to keep cool when getting offers and not be emotional (especially angry) if the offer is far from your asking price!
Buyers will let you down and it sometimes requires professional expertise to keep things together. Approximately one in three sales fall through after offer stage and good agents know how to keep buyers buying, whatever the legals or survey throw up.
Showing people around your home is quite difficult. Viewers will let you down, not turn up and then not feedback . Walking from one room to another saying ‘here’s the lounge, here’s the dining room’ just doesn’t work. If you don’t take on feedback from potential buyers too, then you’ll probably never sell your home yourself.
The reality is that many private sellers often end up selling via agents as they struggle to find buyers who will pay the price they want and secure a final sale.
Read our second article on 'Who should you use to sell your property privately?'.
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