Selling your own property can be a daunting prospect but it makes sense to do the tours yourself as nobody knows your home better than you do. It’s incredibly frustrating to potential buyers when they ask estate agents questions that they can’t answer and it can really put them off. Another benefit is that you can actually meet the people buying your property and see what they’re like.
The housing market has been moving fast since the first lockdown ended, with many people wanting a change of scenery, including myself and my partner. We didn’t really trust estate agents and didn’t want them in our property during COVID so we did the tours of our house ourselves (with masks and temperature checks at the door).
I wanted to share what we learnt from the whole process so that you too can sell your own house, with or without an estate agent to help you. We used an online estate agent to avoid paying a commission but all the estate agents we used throughout the process of buying and selling were less efficient than I hoped.
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7 tips to sell your own home to potential buyers
1. Be honest
Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to selling your house, as ultimately it will trip you up later on down the line when your solicitor raises queries or your buyer decides to do their own research. Buyers always appreciate honesty and it actually helps sell your house – I let people know that we’d had damp and that we’d had damp proofing and replaced our asbestos garage roof and people were happy to know that. If you’ve already addressed snags and have the paperwork for them then buyers are always relieved that they don’t have to do them. We were going to buy a property where the seller had lied about owning a driveway that belonged to someone else. This type of behaviour wastes everyone’s time and really ruins the reputation of the person saying it.
2. Share your stories
If you share your (relevant) stories about living in the house, this can help buyers picture themselves living there and show that it’s a home, not just a building. We shared stories about using one room to rehabilitate foster cats and all the times we had friends around for drinks around the fire pit in our garden. There was a hedgehog that visited every night too so we told people about that and they loved it.
3. Be as detailed as possible
Don’t skimp on the details as they can be just as important – when did you get the bathroom done and do you have a certificate for the boiler? These are all questions that you will get asked and they will come up in the enquiries from the solicitor anyway so it’s better to address them straightaway. If, for example, you don’t have certificates for your double glazing then this means that they will need to replace them. This will be flagged in the survey and your buyer will potentially pull out if they discover they have to spend £15,000 on new windows as they may not be able to afford it. Make sure that you point out things that they could do to improve it, like a loft conversion or putting in a new fireplace as this will incentivise them to invest money knowing they will make a profit later. Don’t point out negatives in your home but don’t skimp on the detail either.
4. Tailor your tours
Find out about the potential buyer and then you can tailor your tour to them. If they have kids then point out what rooms can be used for playrooms or bedrooms and places in the garden where they could play for example. If they have a dog then tell them about good vets in the area or places to walk and so on. This also helps them to see themselves in your house. It shows that you’re listening and that you actually care.
5. Sell the lifestyle, not just the house
When someone buys a house to live in, they are looking for a change in their lifestyle to be a part of that area and to live in that property. Tell them about the area, the things to do, places to eat, walks to go on and anything else that is relevant. Our house was a ten-minute drive to the airport so we mentioned that as it meant you could go on holiday at a moment’s notice! We also showed off any nice artwork and furniture we had to show the house in its best light as a modern home.
6. Put boundaries on your time
Buyers who come for a second viewing are likely to put in a bid as many of ours did. However, that doesn’t mean that people can waste your time for the sake of it and it’s important to put boundaries on your time. Only around a third of people put offers on our property and some people will look around even if they can’t afford it or just to be nosey. One couple stayed for over half an hour asking random questions which interrupted our other viewings and then they came back for another viewing where they did the same. You’ll start to see time wasters for what they are and I wish I hadn’t bothered having them around the second time as they clearly had no intention of buying it. It’s fine to say no to people as it’s your home after all.
7. Know when to hand over to the professionals
Even an online estate agent will take over when it comes to negotiating the price as it can be complicated going between different buyers. Estate agents can also get proof of funds to make sure that your buyer has everything in place to buy the property. At the same time, they can find out everyone’s positions so that you can choose the right buyer for you as it is not just about money if you want a quick sale. This will save you a lot of hassle and if you get a good price it will show that all your hard work has paid off! If you do this yourself make sure to delete any private information later on.
My last piece of advice is to relax and not force it, if your property is reasonably priced and maintained then someone will definitely want to buy it! Most of the homes that are on the market but don’t move are due to being up for an unrealistic price or having too many issues that are not reflected in the price. We had 11 parties bidding on our property after it had been up for a week so don’t be surprised if it sells like a hot cake! Good luck.
Have you sold a property yourself and how did you do it? Share your experiences in the comments!
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