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By Ollie Cooper, The Money Team

Estate agent fees are one of the biggest costs of selling a home – but changes in rules and the rise of private sale websites have made it harder for people to go it alone.

But how simple is it – and what do you need to know? We spoke to industry experts to find out.

Firstly, what do estate agents do for their money?

A real estate agent will typically charge between 1%-3.5% of the sale price.

This means that for the average house price (£284,691 as of December) you could pay between £2,846 and £9,964 in council tax.

“When you use a real estate agent, their fee includes taking professional photos, advertising your home, viewing the property and negotiating the price on your behalf,” he says. Jack Smithson From a home ownership site Better.co.uk.

In addition, the estate agent will collect detailed details of your home, including room dimensions and descriptions of fixtures and fittings.

“They also provide a brief record of the local area, highlighting amenities, schools and transport links,” adds Jack.

And they’ll do the buyer screening for you (more on that later).

It sounds like a lot, but…

“Selling your home can be a manageable process with a few basic steps,” says Jack.

Preparation

You should start by researching house prices in your area using websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla – but seek free valuations from local estate agents to ensure you’re getting a realistic price.

Next, you’ll want to take high-quality photos of your home.

Jack recommends using YouTube tutorials to learn new shooting and editing techniques that will take you to the next level.

Next you want to write about what makes your home unique.

“When looking at other listings for inspiration, take it a step further by highlighting what you love about your home and its surroundings,” suggests Jack.

“Whether it’s the refreshing scent of the shoreline or the quiet sounds of rural life, incorporating these details will help potential buyers visualize living there,” she advises.

As well as using YouTube for photography tips, you can use free tools like ChatGPT and Grammarly if you need help writing, Jack says.

Advertising

This is probably the biggest advantage of going through an established estate agent – your home is much more likely to be seen as they will have an established audience and market. But it is very possible to do it alone.

“When it comes to advertising your home, explore different avenues, including local papers and social media,” says Jack.

“Consider using websites such as Strike, which allow individuals to list their properties for free on platforms such as Rightmove,” he suggests.

views

After securing multiple viewings, you’ll have the opportunity to make it more personal than real estate agents could – a real advantage.

“Explain the reasons for your decision to purchase the property, highlight its unique features, and share the aspects of your neighborhood that make it a desirable location,” says Jack.

The little things matter when you’re showing people around – so try to look around objectively before you bring someone in.

Do what you normally do – make sure it smells nice and is clean and tidy.

Finally, it’s worth knowing that you must legally provide potential buyers with a free Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

the sale itself

Perhaps the scariest aspect is the physical exchange of contracts and money.

A real estate agent usually oversees the process of getting the initial offer to handing over the keys to the new owner.

However, if you’re going it alone, you need to become the central point of contact – bridging the gap between your solicitor or conveyancer and the buyer and their legal representative.

“Once you’ve accepted an offer on your property, your first task is to draw up what’s called a memorandum of sale,” says Jack.

This document is a written confirmation of acceptance of your offer and details the agreed price along with any specific terms you have both agreed to.

“Then it’s recommended to use a solicitor or conveyancer to ensure all legal obligations are met,” says Jack (of course you’ll need to do this even if you have an estate agent).

The cost of hiring typically ranges from a few hundred to £1,000, depending on factors such as fixed fees, hourly rates, difficulty of selling and additional costs such as property searches or land registry fees.

“In the absence of an estate agent, you will be responsible for keeping your buyer informed of the progress of the sale. This includes regular updates on the status of legal proceedings and any relevant developments,” says Jack, before adding that this can actually be a good thing.

“By taking on these responsibilities on your own, you will have more control over the sales process. However, it requires you to be extremely organized and also very good at communicating.”

Any risks you should be aware of?

Rita Patel, Legal director of a legal company Brown JacobsonWe’re told that the biggest risk to people selling their property without a real estate agent is the lack of a potential buyer’s vetting and vetting process.

Real estate agents will verify the buyer’s identity and check the buyer’s credentials and source of funds – without this, there is no way to assess whether the buyer is legitimate and able to buy.

“While this process is something that lawyers can help with, it often involves additional costs and you have to start over if you are having trouble identifying and/or financing a potential buyer,” says Rita.

In general, selling without an agent can extend the time it takes to sell.

“Zoopla estimates that this time frame is usually around 17-34 weeks, but with no one on hand to constantly facilitate and sell the property at every stage, moving solo delays the process,” says Rita.

“Agents can also help mediate potential communication breakdowns between buyer and seller – reducing the likelihood of going back on the market and starting over.”

Advantages

Laura Owen-Brown, A PR manager from Gloucestershire tells us she plans to sell her house without an estate agent in the near future.

“My frustration with real estate agents stems from not knowing the property they were trying to sell me when I was buying my current home,” he says.

“They couldn’t tell me the details that really mattered, like the optimal amount of sunlight in the garden, how much I would pay in council tax, what the roof was made of, places where I could let my dog ​​off the lead or the impact of post-football traffic on Sundays.

“These types of details can shape the experience of living in a home for years and are just as important as the square footage, EPC rating or how many bedrooms the property has,” he adds.

He says the current “transactional” approach to selling homes is “impersonal and outdated” to him.

“Yes, I will have to deal with more admin, but the savings in both money and time are worth it. Dealing directly with buyers and solicitors without a third party slowing things down means I can be in control and have transparency throughout. The process, especially during negotiations “, he says.

Overall…

As Laura says, it’s very important whether you can get the administrator’s approval and are happy to take the risks of financial background checks.

If you know all of the above and are ready to take on the organizational burden, you can save a serious chunk of money.

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