Once you’ve agreed a sale price and signed their contract, your agent will arrange to have your home measured and photographed, and put together a description for use both online and in their high street agencies. Once again, you’ll often find that writing the description is left to the office junior and the descriptions are little more than a copy and paste job of house hunting cliches that bare no resemblance to where you live. Finally, your home will be listed online on the agent’s website and on the major portals like Rightmove.
A good agent will also have a database of home hunters registered with them, and they will either email or call these to let them know about your property to try to find a buyer. They will arrange viewings (and even conduct viewings for you if you prefer), and they will negotiate with potential buyers on your behalf. Once an offer has been accepted, a good agent will follow the sale through to completion, making sure nothing goes wrong along the way.
You’ll notice that we say that this is what a good estate agent does. Sadly, as we discussed above, not all estate agents are so dedicated, and many will sit back and let Rightmove do most of the heavy lifting while they rake in the fees.
Can you sell a house without an estate agent?
The simple answer is yes. There’s nothing that says you have to use an estate agent to sell your home. If you’re selling your home to a friend or family member, you certainly don’t need to pay an estate agent to handle the sale, and the same is true if you are selling your home to a cash house buying company.
Even if you’re selling on the open market, you can still handle almost everything, from photography to writing the listing, and save yourself a fortune in the process. However, the question you have to ask yourself is do you want to?
Take a step back from the nuts and bolts of the process, and you’ll see that an estate agent also absorbs a lot of the stress of your sale, stress that will be all yours if you decide to sell privately. So while you don’t need an estate agent to sell your home, you might still want to use one.
Sell a house privately with Rightmove and Zoopla
One thing that you can’t do when selling your house privately, is list on those all-important property portals. Most of the major property portals, like Rightmove and Zoopla, don’t deal directly with the general public, so you have to have an estate agent of some kind. That might feel like a bit of a closed shop, but that is just how it is.
There are some online property portals that don’t insist on you listing via an agent. However, if the team here at the Guru have to search around to find their names, you can be pretty sure most buyers won’t have heard of them either.
The online property portals hold all the cards, so they can set their own rules, and this is where the online estate agencies, such as Purplebricks, Yopa and Strike come in. Online estate agents can get your home listed on the property portals for you for significantly less than a high street estate agent. They also offer a range of other services to help you sell your home, such as for-sale boards, photography and property details.
You can expect to pay around £1000 for their services – for example Purple Bricks is £999. However, in the Guru’s experience, you should always check the small print to see exactly what you get for your money. Strike claim to offer a free service, but this is very basic. Add in things like photography and viewings and the price quickly climbs to roughly the same level.
By the time you’ve compiled your sales package with an online agent, paying piece by piece, you may find you’re not saving that much in return for all the things you’re losing by not using a high street agent, like being able to actually talk to a human being. You’ll also find that these fees are non-refundable if you change your mind or the sale falls through, whereas most estate agents work on a no sale, no fee basis.
Selling privately without Rightmove and Zoopla
Of course, you could simply bypass the property portals altogether. True, 90% of buyers look online, but that isn’t the only place they look. People have been buying and selling houses for centuries before the internet came along, and while Rightmove is a big player in the property market, it isn’t the only game in town.
Selling your property privately can be as easy as listing it on Facebook Marketplace or on Gumtree. Unless your surname is Kardashian, your social media probably won’t have the same reach as Rightmove, but remember, you only need to reach one buyer to sell your home. You could even go completely old school and place an advert on the local village noticeboard, or in the community newsletter, or you could give it a bit of Marvin Gaye and use the grapevine to let people know your home is for sale. If you’re not in a hurry to sell, these could all be well worth trying before you invest in an estate agent.
If you live on a main road or busy thoroughfare, you may be able to attract passing traffic by putting up your own for-sale board. However, this probably isn’t an option if you live in a quiet close at the back of an estate.