Private House Sales without an estate agent

Guide to Private Property Sales

Buying or selling a house privately – without using an estate agent – is called a private sale. Every part of the sale process, including advertising the property, arranging viewings and handling negotiations, is managed by the seller, rather than a third-party agent.

The attraction of a private house sale is that sellers avoid paying estate agent fees, which generally cost around 1-3% of the final sale price and can often run into thousands of pounds.

While selling your house privately can be cost-effective, a safer way to sell your house is to use an online estate agent like HouseSimple.com, where you can benefit from our specialist service, while saving money by paying a low flat fee rather than losing a percentage of the sale price.

How to sell your house without an estate agent

1.     Prime your home for sale before viewings

When selling your house privately, you must take complete responsibility for viewings. You should focus on presenting your house in the best possible light by cleaning your bathroom and kitchen surfaces, tidying away clutter before a viewing and highlighting any local amenities that are likely to interest potential buyers that are viewing your home. We know from tracking house hunters on our website that the living room is more important than any other room, so spend your time sprucing this up before anywhere else.
 

2.     Set a fair and realistic asking price

Without an estate agent to value your house, you need to set an asking price yourself. Our online house price calculator gives you an estimate of what your house is worth based on your address and the size of your house. Property listings – whether online, in your local newspaper or an estate agent’s window –also let you see the market value of similar properties in your local area.
 

3.     Write a short but enticing description

Photos are what really sell a home, but a short, punchy description that summarises the main selling points can make a big difference. If you live in a three-bedroom house in a suburban or rural area, it’s likely that your home is going to attract families. In this case, you should mention nearby schools that have a good reputation and describe the local area as a safe, friendly place to live. If you are targeting younger, first time buyers, highlight the proximity to bars, gyms or train stations.
 

4.     Hire a professional photographer

House hunters spend around 20 seconds looking at property listings with photographs, but for listings without photos, that viewing time is slashed to just two seconds. Listings with professional photographs also sell 50% faster and 39% closer to the asking price than listings without them, so it’s certainly worth hiring a professional photographer to take at least ten high-quality photos when your home is illuminated by natural light.
 

5.     List your property online

Most large property portals do not allow private sellers to advertise their properties online, but there are several ‘for sale by owner’ websites that make this possible. You could also try advertising your house in your local newspaper or social media platforms to target people that wouldn’t otherwise find your listing. Websites like Facebook allow you to pay money to reach people outside of your circle of friends.
 

6.     Arrange viewings with interested buyers

When a potential buyer declares an interest in your property, invite them to view it at a time that suits. So as not to take up too much time, you could book out a day where you can arrange multiple viewings back-to-back – just try not to make them overlap, as that can be off-putting for buyers. Remember to tidy away any clutter – especially from the entrance area – and give important rooms like your living room, kitchen and bathroom a good spring clean before the viewing takes place. As a general safety consideration, it is best to make sure that there is someone else at home at the time of the viewing.
 

7.     Negotiate a price with the seller

Be mindful of the fact that buyers may try to haggle you down on the asking price – particularly if you are selling your house privately. Without an estate agent to negotiate offers on your behalf, buyers may feel there is more room to haggle, so have a minimum sale in mind and don’t budge on it.

8.     Accept an offer you are happy with

Even if you are selling your house privately, verbal acceptance is not enough. You need to provide written acceptance and obtain some form of identification from the buyer. You’ll also need to exchange contracts with the buyers before the offer becomes legally binding.
 

9.     Instruct a solicitor

Once you’ve accepted an offer in writing, you should instruct a solicitor or a conveyancer to draw up a contract that legally transfers your property to its new owner. A conveyancer is generally cheaper to hire than a solicitor. Like a traditional high street estate agent, they generally charge a percentage of the sale price.
 

10.  Deal with renegotiations

After agreeing on a price, the buyer may wish to renegotiate, if, for example, they feel that involving a solicitor or conveyancer has shed new light on your property that has changed their opinion on how much it is worth. Renegotiation – even very late on in the sale process – is quite common when selling your house privately, so again, make sure you have a minimum price in your head that you stick to.