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Private House Sales


Private House Sales

In the UK the vast majority of people sell their home through an estate agent who will advertise and market their property for a fee of 1-3% of the sale value. So, for a £300,000 house this equates to about £4500.

For homeowners who wish to save this money there are alternative ways to sell a house such as using a low cost ‘online’ estate agent or conducting a private house sale.

Contrary to public perception it is perfectly legal to sell your house privately (that is without an estate agent) so long as you are willing to do the work an estate agent would do – including showing people around the house and negotiating the price.

You will still use a conveyancing solicitor to undertake the legal transfer of ownership once you have agreed the price with the buyer.

In many cases it is also possible for you to advertise your house privately alongside using an estate agent – however you must check your contract with them carefully as you will be liable to still pay their fees if you have signed an agreement with a ‘sole selling’ clause (as opposed to a ‘sole agency’ clause). If in doubt, seek qualified legal advice.

The biggest challenge you will face selling your house yourself is marketing your property to the widest possible audience. Estate Agents have four main places to advertise:

  • Their shop window (this is becoming less important)
  • The local newspaper (this is also becoming less important)
  • Online (property websites such as The Big Property List)
  • Outside the front of your house (with a For Sale board).
  • As more and more people start their property search online, estate agents rely heavily on property portals such as Rightmove and The Big Property List to generate enquiries from potential buyers.

    Buy a private for Sale board

    Private For Sale sign

    If you are serious about selling your home yourself you must also look to advertise your property online.

    There are many private house sales websites available in the UK but be careful as many are very small and offer little support and have very few visitors.  Certainly since the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) suggested innovation was required in the online property marketing sector many new websites have been set-up, but have yet to establish themselves.

    The private house sales websites we recommend are:

  • (since 2008, free)
  • (since 2003, free)
  • (since 2000, £99+VAT)
  • (since 1996, £47 inc VAT)
  • When using a private house sales website it’s important to check what level of service is offered, which other websites your property will be marketed on (Fish4homes, Gumtree and Google maps are popular ones) and if a private For Sale sign will be provided.

    You may be interested to read other resources in this series:

    Preparing your house for sale privately (coming soon)

    How to choose an estate agent

    Free Online House Price Valuation