With the average property seller in the UK paying a whopping £2,000 in fees to an estate agent, there’s no wonder more and more people are asking how they can sell their home for free.
But is it even possible? After all, buying or selling a property is likely to be one of the biggest single transactions of your life.
Well, the good news is, it’s absolutely possible to sell your home for free. At least, you can sell a property without paying a penny in estate agent fees (we’ll cover what you won’t get for free later).
Here are three methods that will help you sell your home for free…
Method 1: Use a free estate agent
You read that right. It’s possible to get an estate agent to sell your home for free without anyone paying them a single penny!
At least, it has been since online estate agent Housesimple removed ALL of their selling fees and started offering their service 100% free of charge in the north of England.
That’s right. The exact service they used to charge £995 on completion for is available free of charge for selected postcodes. You can see which postcodes are covered on the map below, or you can click here to check on their website for the most up-to-date information.
What’s the catch?
Put simply, other than availability being limited to selected postcodes, there isn’t actually a catch. How can they afford to do it? Simple, referral income.
You see, whenever you use an estate agent (high street or online) they’ll usually have a panel of partners they can recommend. This usually comprises of mortgage advisors and solicitors but can also include services such as removal companies.
Whenever the agent refers a customer to one of these partners, they receive a ‘kickback’ commission. This doesn’t usually affect the price you pay but it gives the agent a kind of ‘golden handshake’ for sending business to other companies.
Housesimple will try and refer you to some of their partners as well as offer you add-on services such as hosted viewings that come at a price. However, you don’t HAVE to use any of them if you don’t want to (though some extras are well worth the money!).
Is it a lesser service?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that if they are giving their service away for free, it’s probably a stripped-down ‘no-frills’ service that you get. That’s a fair assumption but also a seemingly incorrect one.
Housesimple are one of the highest-rated estate agents on independent review site Trustpilot.
Essentially, you get the same fully managed service they used to charge £995 for. That means you get the full works including a listing on Rightmove and sales progression through to completion.
You can view our own opinion on what they offer in our Housesimple review.
Housesimple are the only estate agent we know of that are currently offer to sell properties for free.
Method 2: Advertise online yourself
Should you not live in an area that Housesimple services, or there’s another reason you don’t want to use them, you could turn to our second method for selling your home for free.
A word of warning though. Without an estate agent, you’re not able to list your property on major portals such as Rightmove.
That means selling without an estate agent will always be a more difficult task, especially as 57% of buyers start their search at an online property portal.
Still, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Social media has made it easier to sell property without using an estate agent at all. Facebook even now allow properties to be listed for sale in their Marketplace.
If this is a route you want to go down, you can check out our full guide to selling a property without an estate agent.
Method 3: Sell to a friend or family member
Ok, so this method won’t be an option for everyone. However, if you have a friend or family member that wants to buy your property, there is no need to involve an estate agent at all.
That means you simply won’t have any estate agent fees to pay to sell your home.
Instead, all you need is a good solicitor (a different one to the one your buyer is using, ideally) and the process should be relatively quick and plain sailing.
Thinking that means you can give your friend or family member a good deal and knock a few grand off their purchase price? You may have to think again.
Selling a property below market value can have significant tax implications.
What you’ll still need to pay for…
So, that’s three methods that show how to sell your home for free depending on your individual circumstances. However, it’s important to state that they only save you your estate agent fees.
There are several other fees you’ll need to factor into the equation, some of which are easier to avoid paying for than others. They include:
Conveyancing Solicitor Fees
Now, it is technically possible to do all of the legal paperwork yourself and never pay for a conveyancing solicitor. However, it’s not really recommended.
You pay a solicitor because they are experts in what they do and they will help protect you from any nasty surprises.
If you try and do it yourself, there’s no guarantee you’ll get everything right which could end up costing you thousands. In the worst cases, it could even result in you being sued by the buyer if you get something wrong.
Therefore, we always advise hiring a conveyancing solicitor. You can use our tool to find and compare the cheapest solicitors in your area.
Handling the removals yourself is something that’s a little easier. Providing you have a valid driving licence and are in reasonably good physical condition, you can hire a van and do the heavy lifting yourself.
However, keep in mind that once contracts have been exchanged and the agreed moving date arrives, you’ll have a pre-agreed time you’ll need to have removed everything from your property. This is usually around lunchtime.
Failure to stick to the agreed time can result in a financial penalty. That means you’ll need to be able to work fast to get the move done without professional help.
You’ll also need to be able to hire a van that’s large enough to take all of your belongings in one go. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to make multiple trips.
For that reason, most people find the cost of a removal company is worth it for the time, effort, and stress it saves you. You can use our tool to find and compare the cheapest removal firms in your area.
Stamp Duty (if making an onward purchase)
This one only applies if you are making an onward purchase and for that reason, it isn’t strictly part of the cost of ‘selling’ a home. However, if it does apply to you it can be a very significant amount so it’s important you don’t overlook it.
Stamp Duty is a tax you pay when purchasing a property. The rules and rates regularly change so it’s worth checking the current guidance on the Government’s website.
How to sell your home for free – summary
As you can see, while it’s definitely possible to sell your home for free, sometimes it’s worth paying the odd fee or two.
As one of the largest financial transactions you’re likely to make in your life, having professionals on hand can actually save you money in the long run.
Of course, selling without an estate agent isn’t for everyone. Housesimple offer a fantastic free service for those in certain postcodes, but if that’s not you, you’ll need to decide whether to bite the bullet and pay an estate agent or attempt to go it alone.
Should you decide an estate agent is the safest way to go, you can use our guide on how to choose an estate agent to help avoid the common mistakes in selecting the right agent.