In years gone by selling UK property was a simple choice of what agent you would use. But with the advent of the internet it has become more common to attempt to sell your own home privately, thereby avoiding the 2% average commission charged by estate agents. But in the last couple of years a third option has arisen, which is arguably the middle ground between the two, and that is the advent of online estate agents, which tend to charge much less than traditional estate agents, with many of the same benefits.
The best thing is that, in the UK today you aren’t forced to make the choice of one or the other, private or agent. In the UK there are three types of deals you can enter into with an estate agent: sole selling, sole agency, multi agency and ready, able and willing purchaser.
Under the sole selling agreement (which used to be the norm 20 years ago and is still preferred by estate agents) the estate agent you sign up with is the only entity legally entitled to sell your house, so even if you sell your house privately you still pay them commission.
Under the sole agency you must stick to one agent, but if you find your own buyer through advertising privately, then you pay no commission. This is the best agreement for anyone who wants to use an estate agent and advertise privately to try and save the commission.
The multi agency agreement is much like the sole agency agreement, except you can use multiple estate agents and advertise privately, if one of the agents finds the buyers then they alone get the commission, if you find your own buyer you still pay no commission.
The ready, willing and able purchaser agreement is not very user friendly, it means that if the agent brings you a buyer that is ready, willing and able to purchase your home you pay them the commission, whether the sale completes or not.
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So, What’s the Best Way to Sell UK Property in the 21st Century
The best way to sell property is to have the best of both worlds; to use an estate agent and to advertise privately. This is because several of the UK’s largest property portals, including the largest, Rightmove, as well as Zoopla, Find a Property and Primelocation only allow estate agents to sell their property on the site, and not being able to advertise on those sites costs your home potentially millions of online views and god knows how many enquiries and viewings.
But there are thousands of private home selling sites that allow you to list for free, and many more sites that can bring thousands of online views for your property, so not listing on those would also risk losing out on exposure, and possibly the chance to sell without paying commission.
An Online Agent or a Traditional Agent?
Whether to choose an online estate agent or a traditional estate agent comes down to more than just money. The main difference between the two apart from cost is that traditional estate agents almost always handle viewings, while the cheapest packages of online estate agents do not include this service.
So, if you think you can show people round your house as well as or even better than an estate agent then you should choose an online agent. Bear in mind that people don’t tend to like estate agents, and no one knows more about the selling points of your home than you do when making this choice.
If you think you can handle the viewings you can save a fortune by using an online estate agent, and still get the exposure of the millions of visitors to Rightmove, Zoopla and Primelocation.
Ok, Then What, Where do I Advertise Privately?
So, you choose your estate agent to get listed on the big online portals and possibly also to handle viewings. Next is to choose where and how you will advertise yourself. It’s a simple formula; you want to get the widest exposure for the lowest price. So start by listing on the big portals that are also free: Ebay, Gumtree, Tepilo, and the Little House Company and House Ladder are probably the big 5 free sites.
Apart from those your best bet is to find sites using Google search. Google is the biggest search engine, and millions of people use it to search for property for sale every day. For example if I wanted to sell a property in Scunthorpe, I would search houses for sale in Scunthorpe and see which of the top 10 sites would allow me to list privately, as those will likely get a good number of visitors looking to buy a house in Scunthorpe. You can then run similar searches to find more places to list, and also inspect the sites advertising for these terms in the paid results.
Apart from that you can look at niche sites. For example, if your home is near a lake, or comes with fishing rights to a river running through the grounds for example, then you might find buyers on fishing sites, likewise if your property has access to stables.
Again, you know your home better than anyone else, and you know what you love about and so what other people will as well. Thus, you can potentially create a far better listing than an estate agent would.