Selling your home privately - 10 top tips

By Ian Cox

Traditionally homeowners have used the services of estate agents to sell their homes. However a significant number of owners may wish to sell privately not only to save the cost of an estate agents commission, which may range from 1.5 to 3% plus VAT of the price realised, but also to retain control of the disposal of their most valuable asset.

Below we have set out some guidance on selling your home privately:

1 - If you have also got an Estate Agent.
Before signing a contract with an estate agent who you may also have asked to sell your home, make sure you have the following words included in it: ‘The parties agree that no commission is payable to the agent in the event of a private sale to a buyer not introduced by the agent'. This safeguards you from any legal claim from an agent who may claim sole selling rights and their fee even if you find the buyer yourself.

2 - Setting your price.
Visit the Land Registry website or sites such as to see how much similar properties in your area and preferably in your street have sold for. Then add between 5 and 10 % to arrive at you asking price as you will usually be offered less than the asking price.

3 - Prepare your home for show.
There is no need to spend thousands of pounds doing up your home in preparation for sale but you should finish those little jobs you've been putting off, such as a dodgy door handle or a broken pane of glass. Make sure light bulbs work, and kitchen and bathrooms are sparkling clean and ensure the house is tidy. Pay special attention to the front entrance - first impressions really do count.

4 - Check your paperwork.
Ensure all guarantees, planning permissions, building certificates are available as these will be required during the transaction.

5 - Find your private sale website.
More than 70 % of home buyers search the web. Choose a site with lots of traffic. You can compare sites at Once you have selected your site, take your own photos, write a description giving key points and ensure the advert has good contact details. Then post your advert.

6 - For Sale board.
Get your own For Sale board for the front of the house. These are readily available from websites online or you can make your own. Even with all the technology available, a simple For Sale board is still one of the best ways to advertise your property.

7 - Viewings.
Plan your route through your property and rehearse your sales patter. After a few attempts with a friend or partner you'll wonder why estate agents claim special sales skills. Don't expect a sale from the first person to walk through the door. On average, buyers look at 10 houses before making their first offer. Don't let negative comments during viewings get to you - everyone has different tastes so remain polite and friendly.

8 - What do you do when you get your first offer?
Unless it's at the asking price, give the potential buyer a least one chance to increase their offer. If you're happy with the final offer they you can accept in principle. Then ask your buyer for their solicitor's details and whether or not they have a property to sell. If they are in a chain you can still accept their offer in principle but do not take your property off the market until they are in a position to exchange contracts. Ask them for proof of funds or a mortgage offer as without the cash available, they cannot buy your home.

9 - Your Lawyer.
Once you've accepted an offer, pass details to your solicitor for the conveyancing.  You should always instruct a solicitor to carry out the conveyancing. Sarginsons Law specialise in this field. If you make a mistake it could be catastrophic. It really is worth paying a professional to take care of this technical side of the transaction.

10 - Keep in touch with your buyer.
Call or email your buyer at least once a week to check on progress and to ensure problems are dealt with quickly. Expect their mortgage lender to complete a survey within two weeks and if this doesn't happen, ask why. Keep a note of other potential buyers until you've exchanged contracts. Two out of three offers fall through so it is vital you have a note of other potentially interested parties so you can contact them should your buyer pull out.