Can You Save Money by Cutting Out Estate Agents?


Jan 14, 2015 by Andy

According to figures from Which?, the average fee charged by British estate agents is 1.8%, which can be a hefty sum on even ordinary homes. Small wonder then, that many people now consider selling their homes without an agent; in fact some sources suggest that as many as 5% of UK sellers now do this. However, is it possible to sell your home at the best price, without a traditional estate agent? The answer, it seems, is... maybe.


DIY Selling

Most sellers who dispense with an estate agent, list their home online. There are several websites that will allow you to upload details and pictures of your home, for a fee, and many offer services similar to those of a traditional estate agent, for a sliding scale of charges. For example, some sites will, for an extra consideration, get your house listed on the major house-selling sites that were previously available exclusively to bricks and mortar estate agents. Others will let you have a board to put outside the house; it is worth comparing sites to see which offer the services you need.

Once you have selected your site, it is time to get your home in order. Do not forget that you now need an energy performance certificate to market your property; a registered energy assessor will provide this.

Next, you need to make sure your home is in a sellable state. Do not spend a fortune where you don't need to, but do clear away clutter, make minor repairs and touch up worn paintwork. Do not forget the outside of the building and any front garden or driveway, too – some potential buyers will not get as far as viewing inside, if the kerb appeal is missing.

Now it is time to set a price. This demands a lot of research, but there are plenty of sources online. Be realistic, and look at sold prices, not the (sometimes hopeful) starting price achieved by comparable local properties.

Write a clear, concise description and take lots of good photos: the photos will probably sell the property, so it is important to get them right. Now you are ready to market on your site of choice.

Of course, you will probably have to conduct viewings yourself, and deal with offers and enquiries. Once you have accepted an offer, it is time to hand over to a good solicitor.



All this probably makes DIY property selling look terribly simple, and it can be, but there are pitfalls to be aware of. Estate agents may have a list of buyers that they know to be waiting for a property like yours, of whom you know nothing. An estate agent may be better at selling or marketing and is thus able to get a better price; there is little point in saving a 2% fee if you sell for 5% less than the estate agent would have got. Estate agents are also experienced at credit-checking potential buyers and managing chains of purchasers and sellers.

Thus a DIY house sale may, or may not, be right for you. Much will depend on your circumstances and capabilities, but for many, it is now becoming a viable alternative to the traditional estate agent's service.