Selling a property without an estate agent may seem like a difficult task. Reading this helpful overview will give you all the know-how to do it without an agent and take control of selling your property on your terms.
Maybe you are considering selling without an agent to save their fees eating into your profits. Or maybe you think it is doable because you understand your property’s true value and potential better than anyone else.
It is your property after all. You bought it to live in or as an investment. It formed a large slice of your life. And now it is time to pass it on to the next owner. It makes complete sense that you want to do this on your terms.
Selling your property without an estate agent means you will not be pressured into accepting an offer you are uncomfortable with (just so they can claim their commission). Selling your property without an estate agent means you will be the one who decides how much and where to spend on marketing. It means you will be the one who pockets the 3% – 5% of the sale price, usually reserved for estate agents. Check here how much you could pay yourself!
Ok, so now that you’ve decided to sell your property without an estate agent, where to begin? Follow the advice below to help you cover all the bases on the sale of your property.
Step 1. Find a solicitor
Having a good solicitor is a must. Having one engaged at the beginning of your journey is going to save you a lot of headache during the process.
If you don’t already have a solicitor do shop around. Ask your friends and family (or Facebook!) for recommendations of a good property conveyancing solicitor. Get in touch with them, explain what you are up to and discuss their services and ask for estimated costs, the good ones will do that in writing without you even having to ask.
Once you know your preferred solicitor, let them know that you will use their services! This is a great opportunity to establish a relationship with them and avoid any last minute surprises when it comes to completing the sale of your home.
Step 2. Tidy it up
As the saying goes: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Seriously, how can you expect to steer the successful sale of your property if you cannot even be bothered to give it a good clean?
Go ahead, get stuck in. Clean the entire property from top to bottom. Beyond that, fix those nagging little issues like cracks in walls or peeling paint. In fact, don’t be afraid to splash around some (tastefully chosen) paint. Consider the elbow grease you are putting in at this stage as “sweat equity” that you will realise upon the sale of your beloved property. Read our 7+1 Tips for getting your home ready for a sale article to get all the details right!
Step 3. Set the price
Do your homework. Research the amounts similar properties have sold for in your area. A good idea is to get an independent property valuation. That way, you will know what you are working with price-wise and will be better placed to negotiate down the track (see Step 9). There is nothing worse than letting your house go for less than what it is really worth.
Knowing the right value of your property, plus being able to stick to a minimum asking price will not only help you within the marketing campaign, it will ensure you are a force to be reckoned with once the haggling begins!
Step 4. Get an EPC
An Energy Performance Certificate informs your potential buyers about the energy efficiency of your property. Whilst you may not be living in a carbon neutral hobbit hole somewhere in the forest, it is still important to declare what the features of your house are when it comes to environmental impact. In most of Europe it is required by law to have an EPC when selling your house. However, your house may already have one, especially if it is a recent build. So, you should only really pursue getting an EPC if your house doesn’t already have a valid one.
Step 5. Take photos
Ok, so you may not be in league with the best real estate photographers in the world just yet. However, that shouldn’t stop you from taking some really awesome photos that will interest buyers and highlight the best features of your property.
Researching a few simple tricks to real estate photography can really help. Alternatively, consider giving a local photographer the job. You know what they say about taking photographs? Every picture tells a story. Decide on the story you want to tell about your home that is going to help your buyers picture themselves in it.
Step 6. Create a floor plan
Floor plans. You may be thinking to yourself: are these really necessary? You just want potential buyers to inspect the property for themselves and be so blown away that they will give you the asking price on the spot. Well, we have bad news for you. This rarely happens. This is where a floor plan comes in.
A floor plan of your property will help potential buyers visualise how they might use the different spaces in your home. It will help them imagine where they might place their furniture, what modifications (if any) they may make, and where they could hide away from their children/significant other, etc. Just remember, your property will be competing with others that do have a floor plan drawn up so it’s best that yours does also. Doing so is also a helpful way of reminding buyers after they’ve inspected your home of the way it might suit their lifestyle.
Step 7. Write a description
This sounds standard enough: inform buyers about the price, features and location of your house for sale. The description of your home is your chance to intrigue potential home buyers about the value of your property. There are a few ways to do this.
You might like to frame your description as a solution to a problem (‘escape the inner city rat race’), or maybe providing the benefits of buying your home as a set of facts and figures (i.e. discussing rental returns) is more your style.
If you are not a confident writer, there are other avenues you can try. For instance, you may need to hire a translator, or you could consider giving the freelance marketplace fiverr a go. Here you will find lots of excellent writers who are prepared to produce some great content for a very reasonable price.
Step 8. Advertise
“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at read. Make it fun to read.” Advertising is usually one area estate agents excel at. This is because they have the backing of a trusted company with a strong profile and online presence.
However, this is not to say that you cannot step up and deliver some high quality marketing that will help sell your property yourself. It is going to require more than you placing a handmade “For Sale” sign out the front. It’s important to adopt a three-pronged advertising strategy to sell your home.
First, local. Here is where you want to hit up the local papers and even social media!
Next, you want to take your ad nationally. Consider using a website that allows sellers to connect with home buyers without the need for pan estate agent. Check out our handy list of the top property portals in each European country that allows home owners to list directly!
Finally, you might be even able to attract international buyers if you use the right website (yup, that is us!), advertise your European property with us today!
Step 9. Arrange and conduct viewings
Now that you have followed the above steps, your home should have started to attract some keen buyers. Now, the following becomes important:
- Organise general ‘open for inspection’ timeslots that suit most buyers (i.e. Saturday mornings or after work through the week)
- Be prepared by having thought through answers to possible questions you may get asked. “Can I use your toilet?” is hopefully not one of them!
- Tidy it up (see Step 1 above)
- Highlight the most attractive features of the property
- Stay safe at all times (keeping a mobile phone handy is suggested if you are conducting the viewings alone)
- Make sure the house smells nice and no, we don’t mean by baking a fresh batch of cookies. Apparently these days everyone is on to this old trick (although, if you did do this you would have some delicious cookies. Mmmm… cookies!).
For our ultimate guide on conducting your house viewings check this article out!
Step 10. Negotiate
Hopefully, some of those interested buyers, or ‘leads’, are now ready to put in an offer on your property. This is when the real work begins! Look, I’ll be honest. There is a lot of advice and books out there about how to not suck at the art of negotiation.
Really, what it all comes down to is ensuring that you get a fair price for your home. As you engage with the negotiation process you will have a bottom figure in mind, your minimum price (see Step 2 above). Don’t go below it for any exception. Simple. Be polite and prepared to walk away. You don’t want to sell this important part of your life for anything less than it is really worth!
Step 11. Instruct your solicitor
Congratulations! All that hard work has paid off. Now it is time to instruct your solicitor to complete the sale. Make sure you agree deadlines and follow those though until completion of the sale.
You have successfully navigated the process of selling a house without an estate agent. We hope this helps and if there is anything else you would like to know before embarking on your journey of selling your home in Europe privately please get in touch and we will do our best to assist!
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