The thrifty person’s guide to selling

Selling a house is an expensive business. The seller might believe that it’s simply a case of taking a few photographs, getting the property placed in the correct spot and signing a few forms, but there’s a lot more to it than that – and high street estate agents are only too aware of the lack of knowledge possessed by the average person. That lack of information could cost thousands of pounds from an estate agent charging between 1 and 3%.


If one decides to take the traditional, face-to-face route of the high street estate agent, then there are ways of trimming costs. Asking family and friends on social media for recommendations. Choose an agent that has knowledge of the market in your area and/or for your type of property (looking in the window for similar homes is a good place to start).


The main platform for a high street estate agent will probably be an online giant such as RightMove or Zoopla, but if they’re a member of the new site they’ll only be able to list your property on just one of the ‘big two’ and even then only 48 hours after you sign up, so ask if this is the case. Remember, the longer your home stays on the market the more likely other little fees and admin costs might creep in.


Of course, you may wish to go for the more modern route of selling your house exclusively through an online estate agent, which gives a lot more control and a way of saving a substantial sum of money. Because of a lack of overheads and other costs, online agents can pass on much cheaper overall costs to potential customers.


Valuations, for example, are quickly produced from a database of knowledge at a central office without the need for a visit. Most online agents will allow you to set the level of control from a basic service to professional photographs and floorplans. Viewings are arranged by the agent, and can be carried out for an additional fee, but otherwise the seller shows visitors around the property themselves.


Because of the lack of administration and paperwork, the customisable options, and the fact that the process is usually more rapid the length of time on the market could be rapidly sliced compare to high street agents. That means lower fees and less waiting.


A final option is using social media, to create a page on Facebook and Twitter. Rather than enlisting the help of a property stager try setting up the house yourself, and using a good camera (or enlisting a friend) to create a varied range of professional-looking snaps and videos. Ask friends to spread the word, and make sure you include correct hashtags. For example, #sellingproperty, #London.


If anyone comments or wants to look round, answer as soon as possible. If someone makes an offer you could then bring in estate agents if required, but by then you’ll have cut out some of the initial stages, which could save hundreds or thousands of pounds. For the truly thrifty seller a combination of self-promotion, and the help of an online agent when needed, could be the winning formula.