How To Sell Your Home Without An Estate Agent

How To Sell Your Home Without An Estate Agent
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Fed up with estate agents? Think their fees are excessive? You’re in luck as we are about to explain how to sell your home without an estate agent.

That’s right, there’s no law that says you HAVE to sell your home via an estate agent.

With the right approach, you can sell your home successfully without ever laying an eye on an estate agent!

Does that mean you should definitely do it? 

Not necessarily, as there are some great advantages of using an estate agent.

But, let us explain an easy-to-follow 10-step method you can use to bypass estate agents and find a buyer for your home. You can then decide for yourself if it’s something you want to do.

Step 1: Get A Valuation

If you’re going to list your home for sale without an estate agent you’ll need to know what a fair asking price is.

You want it to be as high as possible yet low enough to attract enough interest. Finding that happy balance is a skillful job.

Use An Estate Agent:

Of course, any estate agent worth its salt will happily value your home for you for free. But they do that because they think there’s a chance you’ll list your home with them.

Whatever you think of estate agents, it’s not fair to ask them to value your home if you have no intention of using them.

Still, if you’re still unsure if you want to list with or without an agent, you can ask for a valuation. That’s what we did when we sold our home, getting valuations from three different estate agents.

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Check Estimated Values:

Of course, you can also use free tools at your disposal like the estimated property values listed on Zoopla.

You can also check the previous sold prices in your area to get a feel for how much your house is worth.

Of course, when we sold we did this before we had even spoken to an estate agent. We found the estimate was fairly accurate, though it was slightly high compared to our final sale price.

However, that was partly because our house had an usual layout which restricted the demand for our specific type of property.

Conduct A Survey:

Arguably one of the more accurate ways of assessing the value of your home is to find a chartered surveyor who can conduct a survey on your property.

A typical valuation report will cost around £200 or you can upgrade to a homebuyers report (approx £400) to see what may need fixing to make your home appeal to more buyers.

We’ve written an article on how to choose a chartered surveyor to get you started if you wish to go down this route.

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Guess!:

This is a risky option. Get it wrong and you either lose out on thousands of pounds if you undervalue your home, or you get absolutely no interest because you have overvalued it.

Of course, you could deliberately over-value it and slowly bring the price down until you find people are interested.

But, a word of warning, doing this may make savvy buyers fear there is something seriously wrong with your property – putting them off even giving it a viewing!

Whichever method you choose, once you have a valuation you’re happy with, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Take Photographs

Taking photos of your own property

Every property listing needs some good photographs to help it stand out and appeal to the right potential buyers.

Generally, the better quality the photos, the more interest you’ll get in your property.

However, even photographs taken on a smartphone are better than not having any photographs at all!

If you go the DIY route there are a few things you can do to get better photos:

  • Use the best camera you can get hold of (borrow one from a friend if needed).
  • Have a good tidy of the rooms beforehand. Don’t be afraid to move furniture to get the best look.
  • Open blinds and curtains to let as much natural light into the room as possible.
  • Check which angles give the best views of your property. You’ll generally be best stood in a corner of the room.
  • Take photographs in landscape, not portrait.
  • Use a wide-angle lens if possible to give the illusion of larger rooms.
  • Be careful shooting towards windows, the light can ‘washout’ the image.
  • Watch out for glare and reflections, particularly when using a flash.
  • Touch up the photos in a photo editing software afterward to make them look better.

Be aware that taking good photos is a skill and so you may need several attempts to get it right.

That’s one of the reasons why a lot of people end up using an estate agent – because they lack the patience to learn how to take good photographs.

But, there is another option. Hire a professional photographer.

Isn’t that expensive? I hear you ask. Well yes, it can be.

But if you look around it’s possible to find professional photographers who will take photographs of your property for less than £100.

Another option would be to contact local photography students who may be willing to take photographs for you for a nominal fee simply to help build up their portfolio.

However you choose to get your photographs done, just make sure they are as good as they can be to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible.

When we sold via an online estate agent, we considered taking the photographs ourselves, especially as I have quite a good DSLR camera and can take a decent photograph.

However, in the end we opted to use the service offered by Yopa, and I have to say I’m pleased we did as the photos were excellent and really helped our listing stand out (we had several comments from viewers about the quality of the photos).

Step 3: Measure Up

If you’re going to get people picking up the phone to request a viewing of your property, you’re going to need to tell them how large the rooms are.

Photographs only do half the job, and that’s why you’ll need some measurements. These will come in useful when writing your property description.

However, if you’re going to the effort of measuring your rooms, why not go the whole hog and create a floor plan?

Not only will this make your listing look much more professional, it will really help people visualise the layout and proportions of your home.

Like professional photographs, floor plans are another element of the property listing that sounds more expensive and more complicated than they actually are.

There are companies such as that will take your rough sketch and measurements and turn them into a really clear, professional floor plan.

Better yet, they can cost as little as £20!

So, get sketching and measuring to give your property listing a massive boost.

Step 4: Write A Good Description

Write your own property description

This is a vital step in understanding how to sell your home without an estate agent.

Yet, writing engaging property descriptions is something that estate agents no longer seem to do.

Most property descriptions have become mundane lists of sizes and features, with no real personality injected.

When an estate agent does try and make it sound more exciting, it often ends up coming across as manufactured and fake.

But, you have an advantage.

You don’t have to hide the fact that you are the owner of the property. That means you can tell people exactly what YOU love about the property.

Love the fact you have an ensuite? Put in the description WHY you love it. Found entertaining friends and family in the garden easy because of its size? Mention it in the description.

Of course, you don’t want to overdo it but mentioning a few of the reasons YOU like living in the property can really bring a property description to life.

In fact, we have a whole article dedicated to explaining how to write a good property description. It’s essential reading if you want your property to stand out.

That’s all advice based on my own personal experience, both in selling property and from my time as a professional copywriter. Understanding the human psychology when it comes to persuasive writing is essential when selling anything, even a house!

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Step 5: List On Property Portals

This is where things get a little more tricky as some of the most popular property portals only allow listings from registered estate agents.

We wrote an article on how to list your property on Rightmove which you may want to read.

The long and short of it is that if you choose to sell without an estate agent, you forgo the chance to put your property on Rightmove.

That’s one of the main reasons we ended up listing with an online estate agent, simply so we didn’t miss out on being on Rightmove!

But fear not, there are plenty of other portals you can use instead.

Perhaps the most popular property portal that’s available for private sellers is The House Shop. Best of all, it’s FREE to list your property for sale with them!

If you want to list on some of the more popular websites such as Zoopla or PrimeLocation, you’ll need to use a DIY estate agent such as MoveSelf.

Step 6: Push On Social Media

Post property on social media

Did you know that the average person now spends two hours on social media every single day?

And that means that if you want your property to get noticed, you need to be sharing your property listing on channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

On Facebook, you should be looking for local groups of property hunters you can join that will allow you to post your listing.

Also, encourage your friends and family to share and retweet your post. In fact, even a like on Facebook can be helpful as it will mean the post shows up on more peoples timelines.

That’s what we did when we sold our home. We made sure we shared our property listing with friends and asked them to share it too – just make sure you set the post to be able to be shared!

If you really want to get maximum exposure, you can pay to boost your Facebook post or Tweet to more people who match the criteria you set.

However, we wouldn’t really recommend the paid approach unless you’re experienced in paid social media advertising. Stick to posting for free.

Step 7: Make Your Property More ‘Sellable’

Contrary to what you may first assume, getting your property on the market with a good property listing isn’t the end of your influence over how much interest you get.

There are plenty of things you can do before, during and after your property has been up for sale to help sell your house faster and for more money.

For example, adding decking to a rear garden is thought to add around 2% to the value of the property!

A converted garage could increase the value of your home by as much as 20%!!

Of course, these are extreme examples and are the kind of thing you would ideally do before putting your property up for sale.

However, there are lots of other things you can do too from painting outdated kitchen tiles to removing your personal photos to make your home appeal to more buyers.

You can see our full list of things you can do to make your property more ‘sellable’ in our 101 ways to sell your property faster.

Before listing our property for sale we spent several months decluttering and seeing to all those small jobs we had been putting off. It really made a difference for us too as it allowed us to present our property at it’s very best!

As you’ll be selling without an estate agent you’ll also need to be ready to conduct viewings with potential buyers yourself.

Thankfully, this shouldn’t be as daunting as it sounds, especially if you read our post on how to conduct your own house viewings first.

In our experience, once you get into it, conducting your own viewings isn’t that bad… in fact we found it quite fun!

Step 8: Find A Good Solicitor

Find a good solicitor

One thing you’re going to need if you are to successfully sell your home without an estate agent is a good solicitor.

You won’t have the benefit of having an estate agent constantly chasing your solicitor for updates to keep the sale progressing.

Therefore, having a solicitor that is good at communicating progress and who is able to quickly progress through what they need to do as part of the conveyancing process is essential.

You’ll still need to keep on top of them and ask for updates at regular points, but having a proactive solicitor will save you a lot of time and effort.

If you need help finding a good solicitor in your area, you can use our tool to request quotes from local firms.

While it’s technically possible to sell a property without involving a solicitor, it’s an incredibly time-consuming and a potentially confusing task.

Therefore, it’s something where it really is worth paying the money needed to get in the experts.

The solicitor we used was excellent throughout our house sale. In fact, I dare say our transaction would have taken much longer (or possible even fallen through) without him.

Step 9: Keep Communicating

This is a big one and is something that many estate agents will claim is why you shouldn’t do it yourself.

However, we’ve often found that estate agents are no better at communicating and sales progression than the owners of the property.

So, where possible make sure you have direct contact details for the person buying your home. If it’s a couple, get both of their numbers.

Then, stay in touch!

Let them know when you hear from your solicitor with an update. Tell them if you are waiting on any information from them.

Equally, be responsive yourself and quickly get back to your buyers or either parties solicitor if they request anything from you.

You may find this a busy and stressful time but a break-down in communication can quickly lead to a sale falling through so it’s vital you stay on top of things at this point.

When we sold our last property we had our buyer on WhatsApp and kept in almost daily contact with them at times. It really helped us push for action when their solicitor became quite slow – it also helped us clear up a few misunderstandings during the enquiries.

Step 10: Find A Removal Firm

Find & Compare Removal Companies

As you approach the exchange of contracts on the sale of your property, you’ll need to begin preparing for moving day.

This means you should start to slowly pack up your belongings, taking care to save anything you may need before the big day until last.

It’s a good idea to also keep a kettle and some mugs, teabags, etc back for moving day to make everyone involved a drink.

You’ll also need to decide whether to carry out the move yourself or hire a removal firm. 

Unless you’re moving from a small one, or possibly, two-bed property, it’s usually advisable not to attempt the move yourself.

For one thing, come the day of the move you’ll need to depart your property by a specific time, often around midday.

If you’re not ready to leave the property by this time you can be subject to extra fees and penalties. Removal firms are used to this and so are much more likely to get everything moved in time than you are working alone.

If you need help finding a removal firm you can use our tool to request free quotes from local firms.

We also have some tips you can follow when choosing a removal firm.

When you’ve found one you want to go with, check their availability for the likely date you’ll exchange contracts. You don’t want to be scrambling around finding a new firm because your chosen firm isn’t available.

We got quite lucky with our removal firm. We ended up moving just before the stamp duty relief (introduced after COVID-19) was about to end. As a result, we must have called 20-30 local removal firms trying to find one available on our agreed moving date.

Just as we were giving up hope, we managed to find a family-run firm who were excellent and extremely well priced.

Our experience proved that, while you can get lucky, the earlier you can sort your removal firm, the better!

Job Done – But Here’s How To Make It Easier…

That’s it! That takes you through how to sell your home without an estate agent and the key steps you’ll need to follow if you want to be successful. You can also read our guide on how to sell your home for free for more advice.

But remember, selling without an agent is time-consuming and can be stressful. If it sounds like too much hard work, keep in mind there are always online estate agents.

That’s the option we used when selling our property. We just felt that while we could have tried to sell our home without an estate agent, it was going to be a lot of hard work to do it.

We just felt that using an online estate agent was a good compromise between selling yourself and selling through an estate agent.

We got everything we needed from an estate agent such as getting our property listed on Rightmove, having professional photos taken, and so on. Yet, we got it a fraction of the cost that most high street estate agents charge.

While we opted to pay a little extra for a ‘no sale, no fee’ option, you can save even more money if you opt to pay upfront.

If you’d like to investigate selling your home, like we did, via an online agent, you can check out our online estate agent reviews. The online estate agent we used to sell our home was Yopa.

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Two Other Ways You Can Sell Your Home Without An Estate Agent…

Of course, listing your property for sale is only one way to find a buyer. Here are a couple of other options you could consider to sell your home without an estate agent:

Auction

Usually popular for properties with an ‘issue’ such as structural problems or a short lease, auctions are increasingly being used for more standard property where the seller would like a faster than normal sale.

Auctions are frequented by property investors and developers meaning the chance of bagging a cash buyer is much greater albeit at a more ‘realistic’ (lower) price.

You’ll still need to pay a fee on completion, usually around 2% plus VAT and there may be an entry fee, typically approximately £500.00.

Cash Buyers

In recent years the ‘fast house sale’ sector has blossomed after a less than salubrious start (the OFT had to intervene).  A Property Ombudsman Code of Practice and formation of a trade organisation, The NAPB has increased professionalism no end.

All companies work differently but most will offer a percentage of market value, usually around 80% and cover all fees, cutting out the expensive estate agent and lawyer. It won’t suit everyone but can work well for those seeking a fast, certain sale – many completions take place within a matter of a few days.

Author

  • Paul James

    Paul James, is a marketing expert with a passion for property. As well as being a property investor, Paul has also worked within the marketing departments of some of the UK’s leading estate agents. Paul is the founder of Property Road.

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