Whatever you think of David Cameron’s Government and its economic policies, one thing’s for sure; the UK housing market is booming and, in many parts of the UK, it’s most definitely a seller’s market.
But if you want to maximise the amount you keep when you sell your home, and potentially save thousands of pounds in fees, you might want to consider putting your home on the market without going down the more traditional estate agent route.
High street estate agents typically charge around 2% of a home’s sale price, which, on the current average price of a home, would mean a homeowner losing out on around £5,000, plus 20% VAT at £1,000.
How to go about selling your home
Most people haven’t got the time and skills needed to create floor plans, take photos and build an internet page to market their home. And even if you did, you wouldn’t get a listing on key property sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla.
However, there are now a number of ‘DIY’, cut-price, dedicated house sale web services which have improved dramatically in recent years that for a relatively low flat fee do the hard work for you.
What private sales websites offer
While it’s taken a while for them to get their act together, some of the private home sales websites now offer services which really are a threat to traditional estate agents.
The most basic offerings can cost as little as £40 for a listing. At that price, don’t expect much, or to find your property on the key property search sites Rightmove and Zoopla (which dominate the property search market for buyers by a long way). You’ll even have to take your own pictures and write your own sales blurb.
However, sites such as Housenetwork.co.uk, Purplebricks.co.uk, HouseSimple, Sarah Beeny’s Tepilo, eMoov and the Little House Company offer a full listings service at a variety of prices, as well as estate agent-standard levels of sales support.
For around £400 to £800 they’ll create your sales page, including floor plans, photos and descriptions, arrange viewings (and some will even conduct them), negotiate with buyers, liaise with solicitors and chase up surveys.
You really need to be on Rightmove and Zoopla
A major tip is that if the package you buy doesn’t include a listing on Rightmove and Zoopla, which together account for over 90% of all internet property searches in the UK, it’s probably not worth having.
That’s not to say that if you live in an extremely hot property area simply putting a ‘For Sale’ sign up outside your home, or listing it on your local GumTree site, won’t work. It’s just that for the majority of sellers, by not achieving a listing on two such important search sites, you’ll be reducing your potential market hugely.
What are the main drawbacks?
Depending on the site and sales packages they offer, you’ll have a little more to do than if you went through a ‘normal’ estate agent. At the cheaper end of the scale, this will include everything from conducting viewings and writing sales info, to negotiating and chasing up solicitors.
Pay more and you’ll have to do very little
However, with the best of the ‘DIY’ sites and sales packages, you get pretty much a full professional service from start to completion.
In most cases the only thing you’ll have to do is show people around, which might suit you and can be a bonus as often the best salesperson for a home is you.
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James is a journalist and digital editor with over 13 years’ experience writing and editing for media and finance businesses. He specialises in personal finance and economics, but also covers property, travel and news.