In the autumn of 2009, Mark and Olivia Thompson had been thinking of selling their holiday home in Worcester. They were, just like so many other people, feeling the economic downturn, and had to raise some cash. But they were also determined to do it in the most cost-efficient way.
The question on their mind was, “Can I sell my house quick without the help of an estate agent?” The couple did not know for sure, but they decided to try.
“It was a gamble we were willing to take,” said Mark, “because if that meant a saving of thousands of pounds on estate agent commissions, it would be worth it especially in this down market.”
In the United Kingdom, approximately seven percent of homes or 84,000 homes are sold privately. But that figure, as Mark Parkinson, director of property consultant Middleton Advisors, told the Times, is rising.
“Recessions encourage people to go off-market because they can sell without publicizing the fact that they have lost their jobs, are divorcing or being chased by their banks,” said Parkinson.
The Thompsons spent an entire summer holiday fixing their holiday home, showing it and negotiating with potential buyers. It was not until half a year later when they were able to finally sell the house, but they managed to do it. So While it takes a lot of hard work to be able to sell a house privately, it can be done.
Here are six tips to help ensure a successful sale without the use of an estate agent:
1.Sell to a cash home buyer.
You don’t need to wait for half a year like the Thompsons if you really want and need to sell your house quick. You can save on estate agent commissions, legal fees, and home staging expenses, redecorating costs etc, and at the same time complete the sale of your house in just a few days if you sell to a cash home buyer. If you’re in deep financial trouble, are facing repossession, have to relocate, or are stuck in a chain break, then you may need to sell your house quick. In any of those instances, only a cash home buyer will be able to move fast enough to be able to help you.
2.Do Your Research
If you’re not considering selling to a cash home buyer, then your first step should be to familiarize yourself with the property prices in your area and the ins-and-outs of selling property. Study all the paperwork and contracts on your home. Learn the language of the property market, read and consult Google.
Make sure you have all the paperwork ready for the closing of the sale, including property records and title, insurance documents, and legal documents. Also find people who can help you in the process – solicitors, valuers etc. And finally, think about how you want to structure the deal, like maybe offering lease options, for example.
3.Prepare your house for viewings.
There are certain things you can’t change about your house. If it’s a swanky pad in the best surroundings, then great, but if it’s beside a run down derelict building, what can you do? There are a lot of things you can do to improve your house, and consequently improve the chance it will be sold.
You don’t have to go crazy renovating the whole house, that’s just unnecessary spending on your part. Start with the exterior. No one is going to want to look inside if the exterior is unappealing. Known as ‘curb appeal’, it may be worth landscaping your front lawn and repainting your house. It is also important to check home appliances such as boilers and central heating, and other items like the roof, and flooring are in good shape. Make sure the house is clean. Get rid of all the clutter. Buyers want to see a bright and spacious home.
Finally, try hanging an iconic celebrity portrait or other item of interest in a conspicuous area. Not so much for decorative purposes but as an icebreaker to encourage friendly conversation and rapport building.
4.Price your house right.
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners wanting to sell their homes privately is pricing their home too high. Doing that scares off potential buyers. The secret is to set a realistic asking price for your home. There are many ways to value your home yourself using the internet.
Websites like rightmove. co. uk can help you to find comparable properties in your area and see how much they have sold for. Just enter the postcode and press the for sale button. In the drop down box select the following options: enter search radius, number of rooms and property type. Select the ‘include under offer, sold STC, and reserved properties’ and then simply click find properties.
Myhouseprice. com and nethouseprices. com will give you prices for properties sold with data directly from the Land Registry. This data can be up to three months old though but it’s a useful starting point, actually the same starting point a surveyor will use.
5.Market your house.
The internet has opened a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to marketing a house. You can still go the traditional route, i. e classified ads, ” for sale” signs, flyers and posters, but why not post an advert on Craigslist? Or make a video and post it on YouTube? These websites get a lot of traffic and cost nothing at all. You can also spread the word on social networking sites and forums. There are even online estate agents who charge a relatively small amount to list your house in property portals.
6.Be prepared to negotiate on price.
Even if you think you’ve set a fair price, buyers will inevitably want to haggle for a lower price. Have a bottom line that is backed up by strong research, and calculate in the cost of continuing to market the house. If you think you can’t handle it yourself, consider getting the help of a property solicitor.