Make the right choice: Sell your house online or in person from the options available - Estate agents, auction houses, quick cash sale firm or selling privately?

Published by the Housebuyers4U team, June 2015

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What are your options?

Thank you for showing your interest in Home Selling Options – a comprehensive guide put together by the experts at housebuyers4u. As a homeowner, you would want to sell your home as smoothly as possible and this is why we’ve come up with this simple, easy to understand guide. Whether that involves selling your house online using cash home buyers or hiring an estate agent who you can deal with face to face, we are positive our guide can help. You can find everything you want to know about the different property selling options in the UK. Not only we will discuss the pros, cons of every option, you will also get to know the right way to go about it. Let’s not wait any longer and get started.

The Home selling process is not the easiest! Stats available at show that less than 50% of the properties put on the market managed to sell.

Stack the odds In your favour!

Once you have decided to sell your home, it is crucial that you choose the best home selling option to make the most of your effort. There are several ways to do it.
  • 1. Selling your home through an estate agent
  • 2. Auction your house online
  • 3. Selling to cash house buyers
  • 4. Creative ways to sell your home privately

Home selling has now become more complex than ever. You need to take care of home viewings and use the best possible marketing tactics. Not to forget, there are lengthy, complicated contracts and other form agreements which may become tough to handle.

In addition to inspections, marketing and negotiations, you also need to keep a close eye on your home pricing. Several factors such as housing market conditions and interest rates influence how much money you can easily get for your home.

Home selling isn’t really easy or very complex. In fact, it is a combination of science and art. Remember, the more you know about the options of selling your home, the easier it is to invest your efforts where it matters the most. Let’s now look at each of the options in detail.


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Selling Your Home through an Estate Agent

For most people, selling a home perhaps is the biggest and most important transaction of their life. So, they decide to hire a professional estate agent to provide them with expert knowledge, opinion and legal protection.

Five rules for working with an estate agent

Here are the top five rules that will help you maintain a healthy, happy relationship with your estate agent and make selling your home a smoother process.
  1. Know the commision
Agents work on a commission – yes, you cannot cut it out of your deal. The savviest home sellers compare, interview several agents before hiring one. Get to know the most competent agents in your area and compare their record and commission rate. You know what to do next.

  1. Pick a winner
Look up the licensing, property selling experience and accreditation's before selecting your next agent. Remember, endorsements by the state or local bodies are a huge advantage. You can also find out how long the agent has been in home selling business. A company with more than 30 years of experience definitely is better than an agency that hasn’t completed 3 years in the estate agency business. Associations you should look out for include National Association of Estate Agents ( and Royal Institution of Chartered surveyors ( Also look at Property Ombudsman Scheme.

  1. Read the fine print before signing an agreement
You are expected to sign a agency agreement – a contract that describes the relationship between you and the agent. Once you sign this legal document, you need to abide by the rules. Also, ask the agent/agency if they will release you from contract if you are not satisfied.
There are different types of agreements you can sign with an agent. Most common ones are listed below:

  • Sole selling agreement - the agent has exclusive rights to sell your property for a given period of time. If your home is sold during this time, you need to pay the agreed commission even if the agent is not involved in the sale.

  • Sole agency - the agent again has exclusive rights to sell your home, but you don’t have to pay the commission if you find the buyer yourself.

  • Joint agency - two agents work together for you and share the commission.

  • Multiple agency - contracts mean you can hire as many agencies you want. The one who finds you a buyer gets the commission.

  • Ready, willing and able - is the trickiest contract. You might want to avoid it at all costs. This contract means that you will have to pay the fee as long as the agency finds buyers for your home. You’ll have to pay even if you decide to drop your home from the market.

  • Let your agent know what you expect

    Give your agent a quick refresher on how quickly you want to sell your home, what is the price you’d like and how often you want them to communicate. Don’t feel shy for asking an agent to explain the contract or legal details. It’s their job. If an agent doesn’t answer your questions, start looking for another agent.

    Look at their listings and proposed marketing plan

    How and where will the agent ‘promote’ your property? How regularly will your home be advertised? What property websites will the agent use? How many buyers on their listing are looking for homes like yours? Answers to these questions will help you select the best agent for the job.

    Working with an agent: The pros

    Almost 90% of home sales involve an estate agent to some degree. Often, hiring an estate agent is the best interest of home owners – only if you find the right agent.

    Advantages of using an agent

    1. • You don’t have to sort through the dozens of contracts (including fine print details).
    2. • You are far less likely to worry about omissions and errors in legal paperwork. The sale will be done by the book.
    3. • You can save a lot of time and energy – you don’t have to devote time to viewings and staging of your home.
    4. • Hiring an agent is a good idea to get your home into sellable shape. A good agent can help you find the best contractors, landscapers.
    5. • Agents will happily negotiate on your behalf and you could end up in maximising your profit..
    6. • The agent will be an expert in your local market. Not to forget agents will know how to set the appropriate price and find the best places for promoting your home.

    The possible disadvantages of using an agent

    1. • You will have to pay commission to the agent when your home is sold. An experienced agent can be expensive to hire.
    2. • Your home may not get the desired attention if your agent is really busy with other clients. The busier your agent, the higher the chances of the deal getting delayed.
    3. • You will have to stick with the agent for the time of contract even if you are not satisfied with the service. Also, you will have to pay the charges even when the agent doesn’t devote required time and effort..
    By gathering plenty of information about the agent, you can minimize the chances of ending up with a not-so-great estate agent.

    How do you find an estate agent?

    There are several ways to find a local agent.
    1. Get recommendations from family members and friends who have recently sold their property
    2. Look for estate agency signs in your area
    3. Attend open houses and see if you find an experienced agent
    Use to find agents that work in your area

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    Selling Your Home at Auctions

    Selling...selling...SOLD! Real estate auction is slowly becoming popular – home sellers love auctions because they are fast, efficient and effective compared to other traditional home selling methods.

    You can opt for auction if you want to sell your home relatively quickly or believe that your home will bag a good price as a result of bidding. However like any other transaction, it pays to do your homework.

    Questions you must ask before going into an auction

    • Is the auctioneer trained and experienced? You must hire an auctioneer who specialises in selling homes similar to yours.
    • Do you know what your home is worth?
    • How much will the auction cost me? Some auctioneers may charge you 6-10% of final sale price as commission.
    • Do you understand the auctioneer's marketing and sales strategy?
    • Do you know how buyers are qualified?
    • Are you protected if the auction doesn't go as you want?
    • Are you comfortable with reserve bid or prefer to go for absolute auction?
    • Have you read the entire contract including fine print details?
    • Have you honestly disclosed all the property's flaws?
    • What happens if you find another buyer before the auction?
    • How will the auctioning company be showcasing my home?

    What’s best to sell at an auction?

    Certain properties have better chances of selling at an auction compared to other traditional selling methods. Examples include:
    • Repossessed homes – they can be sold quickly at auctions to cover the money the former owner owed
    • Artistic or unconventional homes – they are often difficult to price which may reduce their selling chances. Interestingly, these artistic creations are much likely to get a higher bid at an auction where curious buyers would be competing to hit the jackpot.
    • Houses that are high in demand normally exceed their estimated market price at auctions. If your home is one of the properties that are high in demand, you can’t even imagine what it might sell for during the heat of an auction.

    Proceedings and the cost involved

    Selling at auction is an excellent option if you want to sell your home as quickly as possible. However, you only have one month to pack your bags and hand over the keys to the new homeowner after a successful sale. There are 2 important things you need to keep in mind.
    • Make sure you choose the right auctioneer.
    • Don’t forget to conduct a property valuation.

    Remember, this is important if you want to get a favourable deal on your home.

    The costs involved:

    You will have to:
    • Pay the auctioneer for your home advertisement in catalogues, brochures and other advertising platforms.
    • Pay a commission (to the auctioneer) which can be 6 – 10 percent of the sale price.
    • Pay for other expenses (decided by the auctioneer) regardless of the final outcome.
    • Pay your solicitor for preparing the contract.

    You may be required to pay the charges even if your home is not sold.

    Proceedings at an auction

    • You will have to first set a reserve price. The price you set is based on your valuation – you can also consult with the auction house.
    • You have to prepare a contract for sale with help from your solicitor. This contract (included in the auction brochure) will list the terms and conditions of the sale.
    • You may have to present your home for viewing. Bidders would want to have a close look at your home before putting down an offer.

    Before the hammer falls

    Auctions can be highly unpredictable – you can never really know how much your home will sell for! If there’s high demand for your home on a given day, you can end up making more money than you initially thought. On the other hand, you can end selling your home for a low price if the buyers aren’t really interested. You also need to remember that your home can go unsold! If I is unsold, it can be risky as speculative buyers would have seen it marketed and thus a perception could be developed as to why it has not sold in auction and also the value. In other words trying to then put it on the open market with an agent for a higher price can be difficult.

    Do your homework

    • Make sure your solicitor is present at the auction to sort out last minute legal confusions and answer questions. This can be a costly affair – depending on how interested your solicitor is about spending an entire day at the auction.
    • Since your home has to be open to potential buyers, don’t forget to make the necessary ‘viewing’ arrangements. You would want your home to appear attractive to potential buyers and their surveyors to get a higher price.
    • Never trust the auctioneer or the auction house to do all the marketing. Of course, they would reach out to potential buyers, but make sure you also do your part to get the news out to as many interested buyers as possible. Use social media and request your friends and family to spread the word.

    Completion of auction

    Once the hammer falls, your home is officially sold. That’s right. You now have a legal binding with the buyer. The successful bidder (buyer) will have to pay you 10% of the sale price on the spot. The remaining balance has to be paid within one month of the auction. Remember, if the buyer fails to the make the payment in due time, you have every right to sue him!

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    Sell my Property Online using Cash House Buyers

    You might think about using a company that buys your house for cash if you need to sell your property in a hurry. If you want to take this quick sale route, here’s how you should go about it.

    Questions to ask

    Here’s what you need to ask the company, remember, if you fail to get satisfactory answers, continue searching!
    • How long have they been in business?Online cash house buyers
    • How long will the process (sale) take?
    • Are you the actual buyer and can produce proof of funds?
    • Are you an intermediary or broker simply marketing the property?
    • Who will value your property and how?
    • How much are they willing to pay for your home?
    • Can the offer price be changed?
    • How will the sale happen?
    • Who will take care of the documentation process?
    • What fees and other charges will you have to pay?
    • What happens if the sale doesn’t go as planned?

    The best way to work with cash house buyers

    • Do your own valuation – try getting quotes from different real estate agents. This will help you decide whether the offer made by the cash house buying company is fair or not.
    • Shop around and look for the best company. Also, make sure you look at different features companies offer.
    • Credentials of the company matter a lot. Check whether or not the company is registered with The Property Ombudsman or Ombudsman Services.
    • It’s always good to negotiate the terms and conditions and offer price with the company.
    • Make sure you get everything in writing. Verbal assurances aren’t good enough.
    • Make sure the company gives you sufficient time to make a decision. If you’re being pressured into a decision – change the company!
    • Read the contract/agreement carefully. Do ask if you have any questions.
    • Stay away from companies that tie you to a long contract. Remember, a quick sale contract with cash house buying company is typically less than 3 weeks.
    • Be honest with the company and expect them to be honest with you. If you get incorrect information or unfair offer for your home, ask the company for clarification.
    • Don’t sign the agreement until you are satisfied with the offer and all legal checks are complete.
    • Once you are satisfied, get the offer in writing and sign on the dotted line.

    Why work with HouseBuyers4u

    • You can complete the form or call on our free number 0800 0845 025 to contact one of our experienced experts.
    • Our expert will analyse your unique situation and give you a no obligation cash offer (in principle) using the valuation price you provide in the initial discussion. The amount offered can vary depending on the location, property details & market conditions.
    • Our experts are willing to answer any questions you may have. Also, you can take as much time as you need to decide whether our services, offer and other associated benefits are right for you.
    • Once you are 100% happy and satisfied with our offer in principle, an independent RIC's survey will be completed. Don’t worry, we pay for this! Also, all working is conducted within timescales that suit your personal needs.
    • If everything gets a green signal, we make a formal offer in writing.
    • Even at this stage you are under no obligation to proceed and you can still pull out of the sale.
    • If you are happy with the formal offer, we will move the sale forward – exchange contracts. We work with qualified, established solicitors and DO NOT CHARGE ANY FEES. Yes, we cover all the legal costs.

    We are a true cash buyer, which means there are no middlemen or 3rd party funds involved. The paperwork is completed quickly which is directly sent to the solicitors. The paperwork includes details such as fixtures, fittings forms, the contract and where you want the money upon completion.

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    Selling Your Home Privately

    You can save thousands of pounds when selling your home privately by using an online estate agent/online property marketing platforms. An average estate agent can charge you £4200 to complete a successful sale. Compare that with spending £350 and selling your home online! So are you interested?

    Sell my house online - Who to sell too

    If you want to sell your house privately, look beyond the traditional real estate agent and selling methods. That’s right. You can achieve a successful private sale by working with the right property portals. This section lists some of the easiest and cheapest property portals you can use to sell your home in the UK. Yes, you can now promote your property to the largest community of interested buyers for a fraction of the cost of what you spend on high-street estate agents. This could involve selling your home online buyers as well.

    Interestingly, most real estate agents use the same popular property portals to market their properties. Simply put, you too can generate successful leads by advertising on the same platform.
    Please Note: It is recommended that you read the updated terms and conditions from the agent’s website before making the decision.

    So we’ve reached the end of the guide, We sincerely hope that our guide has given you a better understanding and insight into all the different ways, as a home owner, you could go about the sale of your home!
    Before you go, we would like to share some final words of wisdom that may help you in journey when you are deciding on how to proceed with the sale of your home.
    In order to succeed, we must first believe we can

    Nikos Kazantzakis

    We realize that the sale of your home can be a daunting task. With all the different options and procedures involved, it can be overwhelming at first however, we are positive that with our comprehensive guide in hand, you will find it much easier to pick the right way for you!

    Want discuss your house selling options with our expert property consultant?

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