The Pros And Cons Of Private Property Sales

by : P Green

A small number of people are bypassing estate agents and taking on the job of selling their home themselves.

It is still a small number - some people estimate that nine out of ten homes sold in the UK are still handled by estate agents.

So is putting on a private property sale something you should look at, or should you continue to place your trust in a professional agent?

We examine the pros and cons of doing a private property deal.

The main advantage is obvious: you save on estate agents' fees. These are normally a percentage of the sale price that is taken by the agent when the house sells.

You can also take full control of the process of selling. You don't have to wait to see how your house is being marketed or wonder how inquiries are going. It's all down to you when you're the one doing the selling.

It's also possible that by handling the property yourself, you can speed up the process, as there will be fewer people involved.

So those are the advantages, and the main one it seems is saving the commission. But if you examine what an agent does to actually earn that fee, you realize the expertise they bring to your private property sale.

First of all, an estate agent is there to value your property. It's not unusual for people to get three or four valuations from different agents to assess how much they will get for their home on the open market.

Agents base valuations on how much other houses in the area have sold for, taking into account the differences on your property.

It's not always sensible just to plump for the highest quote, and an experienced agent will tell you why. If you overprice your house you may find inquiries to be sluggish - the market soon spots when the price is wrong. And many agents know that once you've set a price that's too high, even dropping it won't attract as many potential buyers as getting the price right in the first place.

Having a good agent with strong local knowledge will stop you making a pricing mistake.

An agent will also know how to market a property efficiently and cost-effectively. It's something they do day in, day out. Good agents have the ability to get houses onto powerful online property portals with huge levels of traffic. This is good for you as more website traffic should turn into inquiries.

There are plenty of private property websites, but few can rival the main property websites for the number and variety of homes.

Offline, the power of an agent's High Street shop window has yet to diminish. Displaying properties in the window is a strong source of leads for agents. We all like to browse properties for sale now and again, and a shopping trip is a convenient time to do it.

Plus think about people who are planning to move to an area they don't know. After looking for houses on the major property portals, they will visit the area and look round the agents' shops to find property. This is a source of potential buyers you'd struggle to tap into on your own.

Another thing an agent does that no private property site can do is find potential buyers who are ready to move straight away. If an agent has sold a property similar to yours, they may have had 15 inquiries - meaning they already know 14 people who are still looking for a house!

Of course your agent will also handle cold inquiries and qualify people before bringing them to see your house. When you're doing the sale yourself, you'll have to sort out the time wasters from the genuine buyers.

Finally, when an offer is made, the agent will continue to earn their fee by acting as the middleman between you and the buyer. Many agents are trained in negotiating, and as they are not emotionally involved, can help to ensure you get the highest price. When you're selling it yourself, the temptation is there to take the first offer and run.