Can I Sell My House Without an Estate Agent?

Estimated reading time 13 minutes

The first thought you have when selling your property probably involves your local estate agent, you know the one on the high street. Popping in and speaking to one of the agent’s about selling your property. Then the long process starts agreeing a fee, them coming round to value the property and take photos and then them displaying your house for sale in their office’s window along with all the other ones in the area.  The steady stream of viewings should follow hopefully resulting in a number of offers, some lengthy negotiations and a sale of your property.

It is a stressful time and the longer it drags on for the more stressful it becomes.  So much can go wrong along the way, property chain breaks, lending not being approved, renegotiation at the last minute, something discovered in a survey that makes the property hard to sell.  We all know selling a property there are a lot hurdles that need to be overcome to secure a successful sale and there are often bumps along the way and when selling through an estate agent you also have to pay them for the pleasure!  

It’s therefore not surprising to learn that homeowners and landlords are exploring other ways to sell their properties and YES you can sell a house without an estate agent. In fact, there are a number of alternatives when looking to sell my flat fast and when selling a buy-to-let property.

Each option comes with its own sets of advantages and challenges and when making a decision about which path to go down you need to think about what are the most important factors that are making you look at selling your house without an estate agent.

For some it’s the savings that can be made on commission fees, legal fees, others it’s the speed of sales and for some with properties that are problematic they are looking for alternative house buyers. 

In order to determine what is the best route for you let’s look at each option individually.

Traditional estate agent

  1. The traditional estate agent begins their service with a valuation which they base on current market climate, comparative sales in the area and the attributes of your home. When selling a buy-to-let the price will also be determined by the rental income. Valuations will be given after a visit to the property.  
  2. Once a price is agreed the estate agent will being marketing the property, this normally involves professional photography listing on various platforms and speaking to their network to find potential buyers. Your property may also be displayed in the show window for passers-by.
  3. The agent then facilitates viewings acting as the go between the homeowner and potential buyers. During the viewing they will highlight the features of the property addressing concerns and managing the appointment schedule.
  4. Negotiation is another service provided by the traditional estate agent as they negotiate terms between buyer and seller. They will also liaise with solicitors and assist with the management of contracts.

What else to consider when selling through an estate agent

For their services estate agents typically charge a fee to sell a house in London around 3% for sole agency and 3.6% for multiple agency of the sale price. This fee is generally contingent on the successful sale of the property and represents a SIGNIFCANT EXPENSE.

There are other drawbacks to be aware of the SALES PROCESS CAN BE SLOW when using an estate agent as the property may take time to sell. After a price has been agreed it takes about 2 to 3 months to buy or sell a home. The potential for sales to fall through is a risk often due to issues with PROPERTY CHAINS, financing on the buyer’s end as well as due to specific issues with the property (e.g., condition, location). Also, homeowners are largely DEPENDANT ON AGENT schedule and approach to marketing and negotiations.

If the property isn’t selling it can put a lot of emotional and financial strain on the seller what with ongoing mortgage payments, maintenance costs and the impact on the price if it has been on the market for a long time and has not sold.

Online estate agents

  1. Online estate agents provide a different service and approach to property selling vs it’s traditional counterpart. The first difference is they do not have a high street presence instead they rely on their online presence to attract customer.
  2. The second is they charge a price to list the property on each portal you want it to appear on.
  3. You need look at what type of service you want and how much you are prepared to pay for it.
  4. The lower the price the more basic the service, the valuation maybe remote, with a non-local agent who handles nay queries. You will have to prepare your own write-ups, take your own photographs, do your own viewings etc.
  5. If you increase the price you pay, you may get a for sale board included and a basic write up of the property and maybe a floor plan.
  6. Next bracket up includes the professional write-up and photography a local agent with good negotiation skills and offer in person valuations. You may also get listings on numerous property portals.

    What else do you need to know about online estate agents?

    You need to check what pricing packages are available and ensure you have the right amount of support.  Remember FEES PAID UPFRONT, as soon as you instruct the on-line agent and also the moment you purchase additional products and services, this upfront fee is paid WITHOUT GUARANTEE OF SALE.

    Listing and being featured on the most highly visited sites COST A PREMIUM, hosted viewings are an extra unless you are willing to pay circa £1000.

    Some online agents require SOLE AGENCY for 13 weeks which means you cannot give your property to anyone else to sell. All the while you are paying your mortgage and property maintenance

    Once the advertisement period is up your property is delisted and removed from the portals.  Want to advertise it again? You will need to restart the process and PAY THE FEE AGAIN.

    Have you been allocated a regional agent? If so, they will have LESS LOCALISED MARKET KNOWLEDGE.

    Auction house

    1. The process when selling at auction starts with a valuation to determine if the property is suitable for auction and then agreeing and setting a realistic guide price, and realistic reserve price.
    2. What is a GUIDE PRICE? A guide price is set where the auctioneer believes the property’s market value lies and is used to generate interest and encourage competitive bidding among potential buyers. It is not necessarily the amount the seller will accept as the final price.
    3. What is a RESERVE PRICE? A reserve price is the minimum price the seller is willing to accept for the property. This price is usually set before the auction and is confidential between the seller and auctioneer and is typically set at or near the guide price.
    4. If the property is suitable for action and a reserve price is agreed the auction house will inspect the property take marketing details and photos.
    5. The auction house then begins their marketing efforts preparing a detailed auction catalogue which includes all the key information about the property, advertise the property on websites and send out the catalogue to their database.
    6. It is important to note before the property can be sold at auction the seller is required to instruct a solicitor and prepare all the necessary legal documentation.
    7. On the day of the auction a binding contract is effected with completion usually taking place 20 days after the auction. (watch out for special conditions in the legal pack as completion maybe longer or shorter).

    Other considerations when selling at auction

    When you sell at auction the SALE PRICE IS UNKNOWN and while you may have set your reserve price low thinking it would stimulate interest it may get no higher and you will have to sell it there.

    There is no guarantee the property will reach is reserve price and it MAY GO UNSOLD.

    Auctions attract a SPECIFIC TYPE OF BUYER such as investors or developers given the speed at which the transaction needs to take place which means you are potentially missing out on other buying pools.

    There are COSTS with auctioning a property, including entry fees around £500-1000 and commission fees typically around 1.5 -2.5% of the sale price paid to the auctioneer. You will also have to to pay the solicitor to prepare the legal pack (the entry fees have to be paid regardless if your property sells or not, so too will the cost of the legal pack).

    Cash house buying company

    1. Selling a house to cash buyers offers a faster alternative to traditional and online agents, as well as auction houses. 
    2. Cash House buyers can typically make a formal offer within 1-2 days. They normally start with a desktop valuation which if agreed is followed up with an in person viewing to confirm the details and at which time the formal offer is made.
    3. Cash house buyers purchase directly from you so there is no need for estate agents, prospective buyer’s viewings or waiting on other people’s house chains.
    4. A genuine cash buyer does not require lending or financing, they use their own cash reserves thereby eliminating delays that often associated with mortgage approvals. This means they can purchase your property quickly, within days.
    5. A fast house sale results in fewer mortgage payments, a shorter period for landlords to cover payments of unlet properties etc savings will therefore be made vs the length of time you would have to be paying out whilst it was being marketed and viewed in the other options of how to sell your house without an estate agent.
    6. A lot of cash house buyers will offer to pay for your legal fees and a trustworthy one does not make you sign any documentation until you enter legal proceedings.
    7. The key advantages are that is the quickest method to sell your house and it reduces uncertainties that often come with traditional selling methods.
    8. Cash house buyers buy any house, no matter the condition.
    9. A cash house buyer does not charge any commission fees.

    What to check when using a cash house buying company

    Make sure the cash house buyer is REPUTABLE, check they are a member of the National Association of Property Buyers and The Property Ombudsman.

    AVOID SCAMS and unethical practices do not sign documents outside of the legal exchange and completion forms.

    Some cash house buyers might not be transparent about their process or might CHANGE TERMS at the last minute.

    Offers will be BELOW MARKET VALUE, due to the speed at the sale can complete.  Whilst the offer is lower than the one traditional estate agent will advertise it is a guaranteed quick house sale.

    Why choose Gaffsy?

    Gaffsy is a reputable genuine cash house buyer and therefore good in scenarios demanding a fast property sale and in buying properties that are unattractive to traditional buyers.   

    1. Homeowners facing repossession where a rapid solution is required to avoid legal complications.
    2. Divorce proceedings where settling joint property matters quickly is crucial.
    3. Inherited properties which can often be complex is made simpler with a quick sale option.
    4. Problem properties which are challenging to secure lending on when you need to sell a flat with cladding and if you are selling a house with subsidence.
    5. Properties with legal issues such as selling a property with squatters..
    6. Uninhabitable properties, fire damaged, abandoned derelict houses.
    7. Properties that require building work or refurbishments.

    Gaffsy is known for its expertise in the property market and their team are on hand to provide no obligation cash free offer on every property no matter the condition in as little as 1hr. 

    Gaffsy is a member of National Association of Property Buyers and The Property Ombudsman and have featured in the Daily Mail, Halifax, Evening Standard, Ideal Home and Ready Steady Sell.  Customers receive a trustworthy and honest service and can take comfort knowing they are dealing with a company that prides itself on it’s strong ethical business practices.

    The sales process is totally transparent, the team are always available to answer any questions, there is no pressure we work at your speed and you can change your mind at any time, there is no recourse and zero cost, right up until contracts are exchanged.

    Once the final price is agreed and the contracts are signed the amount agreed is the amount the seller receives on completion. There are no fees or hidden costs and Gaffsy pays its customers legal fees.

    Choosing the right path to sell a house without an estate agent

    Homeowners and landlords have multiple options to consider when deciding which option to take when selling a house without an estate agent.  The key is to assess your specific requirements, is it the fast house sale you are looking for?  What is the nature of the property? What are your financial goals?

    Whether after reading this article you still favour the traditional estate agent as you are in no rush to sell your property and have time to wait for the right buyer. Willing and able to pay the sizeable percentage commission on the price sold for the service as you look to find the buyer willing to pay the asking price for the property.

    Or perhaps the on-line auction route is more attractive given the known upfront fixed fees, this is definitely a cheaper option but as with the traditional agent there is no guarantee of a house sale and the property chain, mortgage lending issues can still arise which could scupper a sale and require you pay out for the service all over again.

    Then we have the auction route, here you have a fixed up-front entrance fee and then a commission to pay on the sale. The time between advertising and selling is much shorter than through an estate agent as hopefully the house will be sold on the day of the auction.  Again, there is no guarantee of sale, and in an auction you don’t actually know what price you will receive for your property.

    If you decide a guaranteed quick house sale is what you want then a cash house buying company is the route you should take. If you have a problem property that you have had no luck selling or the sales keep falling through contact a genuine cash house buyer they will make you an offer, once it is agreed they will exchange and complete as quickly or as slowly as you need.

    It’s great to have a choice and so long as you choose the right option for your set of circumstances you can’t go wrong. If speed and simplicity are your priorities contact Gaffsy today for a fast no obligation cash offer.

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