Who should you use to Sell your Property Privately?

publication date: Jan 12, 2010
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Who should you use to sell your property privately?

The first problem with private selling companies on-line is that you don’t know who they are and how good they are, and you have to pay for their services upfront rather than nothing to an agent if they don’t sell your property. Of course they will all have case studies of people that have sold through them, but it doesn’t mean that they actually have, or it could mean they are the only ones that did!
The fact is to sell your home, you really need to be seen on some of the property portals. Unfortunately the biggest one, Rightmove, doesn’t accept private sellers' properties. Many of the private property sales companies don’t advertise in local papers or offer a ‘for sale’ board to put up outside your home and these are the other two ways you need to advertise to be ‘seen’.

A further problem exists and this is the definition of ‘what is an estate agent’. This was recently re-defined by the Office of Fair Trading and in theory it comes down to whether they offer for sale signs or not. However in practice, this isn't necessarily the case.

Here is the Office of Fair Trading website for the official definition and a summary from their website:-

A company is acting as an agent if they are carrying out a combination of the following:-

1. Sending out property particulars and arranging viewings
2. Receiving and fielding queries from potential sellers or buyers and passing on details to your clients
3. Providing clients with a 'For Sale' board and/or putting it up outside their property where the board contains your contact details.
(source OFT)

As such they must be part of an independent Estate Agency Redress Scheme.

The types of companies that offer private sales services are:-

Virtual Estate Agency Companies
These companies are fully fledged estate agents, but don’t have an office. They do everything that a normal agent would do, for example advertise on portals, newspapers and put a board outside your home. They often give you the choice of organising viewings with buyers yourself via a specialist phone forwarding system. They normally charge around a £500 fixed fee. For example: Move & Save.

Mix of On and Offline Private Sales
Several companies have been doing this successfully for nearly 10 years and actually recommend that you run their services alongside an estate agent’s service. They provide a series of packages which include just advertising on-line, through to organising floor plans and a for sale board. They normally charge from £50 to £600 including a HIP. For example Property Broker or HouseWeb or House Network. Be aware that private sellers cannot advertise on the likes of Rightmove.co.uk, if they are they may be really an estate agent (see above for definition by OFT).

On-line Advertisers
These companies tend not to be worth using in Kate's opinion. They are often run by people at home who have little idea of the buying and selling process and just ‘think’ they can make some money out of advertising your property on-line. Their service is just advertising your property on-line and sometimes they don’t even advertise it on any other websites. They typically charge around £50.  Sites to avoid are: MyPropertyForSale and BuyItPrivately.

If you want to sell your home privately, then contact us first via enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk or 0845 838 1763.

Need help with a property problem? Have a question? Why not call Designs on Property on 07585 897128 or Contact Us via email.
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