Conventional wisdom tells you that when you want to sell your house, the first step is to hire an estate agent. It only makes sense, as they are the “experts” who should know the ins and outs of the business that we ordinary mortals don’t. But believe it or not, you can actually sell your home yourself, if you’re willing to make the effort.
Estate agents, though thought by many to be necessary when selling property, are actually one of the top five most distrusted professionals in the United Kingdom. And a recent study by the Office of Fair Trading found that a third of sellers believe that estate agents’ fees don’t offer value for money.
“If you cut out all agents… you would essentially cut out on average about 6 percent of commission,” Greg Healy, vice president of operations at ForSaleByOwner. com, a U. S.-based online company that markets homes for independent sellers, told U. S. News and World Report.
“On a $300,000 (about?188,500) home, that’s about $18,000 (about?11,300) of savings,” said Healy. In the UK, agents’ commissions are on average 1-3 percent of the price of the property, a bit lower, but still a significant amount of money. Still, many home sellers opt to sell through an estate agent. Healy gives five reasons why you can sell your home yourself:
1. The Internet
When a student needs to do research for his history or science project, the library probably is not the first place he would go. He would go home, lock himself in his room, and ask help from his ever-reliable Uncle Google. There’s no reason why home sellers can’t do the same thing. There are now so many online property websites – from listings to advisers to online agents – that homeowners do not have to rely solely on estate agents (or at all) for resources and information.
“The Internet has essentially changed the face real estate (that’s what they call the property market in the U. S.),” Healy says. “It’s essentially leveled the playing field across the market.”
Home sellers can advertise for free on websites like YouTube, Craigslist, and Ebay, while spending a few pounds to have your house listed on online agents or portals may be worth it, as 12.6 million buyers searched for properties at the top five property portals in the UK in April 2007 alone, according to figures from Estate Agency News.
2. Agents are not property valuers.
If you’re going to pay, pay for someone who is actually trained to estimate the value of a property, and that would be a valuer, not an estate agent. And it usually only costs a few hundred pounds to get the services of a valuer, not remotely close to the thousands of pounds agents get.
“An agent is going to give you their perspective based on what they are seeing, but they have no true professional training in that aspect,” Healy says. “Even if you used an agent, you would still bring in an appraiser (valuer).”
3. Agents are not solicitors.
There is a lot of paperwork and legality involved in a property sale, and only a solicitor can ensure that everything pertaining to that aspect is in good order.
“There is a myth out there that the agent helps you with this paperwork,” Healy says. “They may offer direction, but they are not legally capable to provide that expertise.”
4. There is nothing an agent can do that you can’t do.
What estate agents offer is convenience. They can find a solicitor for you, coordinate home viewings, market and advertise your property, etc. But these are things that any homeowner can do if he is willing to put in the effort.
But here’s something you or your estate agent cannot guarantee – a quick home sale. Finding the right buyer, even when market conditions are good, is a challenge. There are some buyers out there though that will buy your house anytime, and in any state it is in (which means no home improvement expenditures). They are so-called cash home buyers, and you can bet that they would be able to complete the purchase within just a few days.
They have readily available cash to be able to buy your house directly from you, and they do not rely on any lender, so the process is significantly simpler and shorter. And because negotiations are directly and exclusively between the two parties, you won’t have to pay an estate agent thousands of pounds of commission. In essence, you are selling your home yourself, so consider yourself having found the right buyer.