More and more homeowners are choosing to sell their homes online, rather than using a traditional high street estate agent. Although online selling is still in its early stages, it’s estimated that around half of all properties will be sold online within the next two years, and by 2020 it’s expected that the majority of sellers will opt for digital solutions. If you’re considering going online next time you sell here’s everything you need to know.
Benefits of Selling Your Home Online
There are many benefits to selling your home online, with one of the biggest advantages being a significant saving in moving costs. High street estate agent fees can range from 0.75 percent to 3.0 percent, with the national average being between 1.5 percent and 1.8 percent, depending on which source you use. Last year, the average property price in the UK was £196,999, which means you can typically expect to pay an agent around £3000 on average for their services. And this doesn’t take into account any ‘hidden’ costs, such as VAT, extras such as a ‘For Sale’ sign, and any sole agent fees.
But it’s not just about price. Selling online gives homeowners much more control over how their property is marketed to interested parties. The Homeowners Alliance lists a set of ‘clever questions to ask an agent’ but, perhaps unsurprisingly, many of these questions would be better answered by the owner. Buyers want to know how long the owners have lived there, why they’re moving, and when they’re moving. They want to know about council tax and utility bills in the area, about the neighbours, and about the local neighbourhood. The need for a more direct link between owner and buyer is becoming increasingly apparent, and no one is capable of showing off your home’s best bits than you.
Online Selling Options
If you’re interested in selling your home online, there are a number of options available to you that you will need to consider. The ‘right’ option will depend upon your personal requirements and preferences.
Option 1: Private Online Sale
It is possible for you to sell your home online privately without using any sort of online sales solution for assistance. However, unless you’re a marketing whizz, doing so can prove to be very challenging. Consider that websites such as Rightmove – which don’t enable listings by private sellers – can see upwards of 100 million visits per month. These sites are where the buyers are.
Option 2: Online Estate Agent
At the other end of the spectrum is an online estate agent. Online estate agents offer pretty much the same services as a high street estate agent, but may be able to offer lower fees due to minimal overheads. They’re a good choice for those that want to save money, but they don’t provide quite the same level of control over all aspects of your sale as private selling does.
Option 3: Property Sales Platform
Online property platforms provide a ‘middle ground’ between private selling and online estate agents. They enable you to have the private selling experience (with all the benefits, including complete control of your viewings, negotiations, and so on), but provide additional support, such as listing your property on sites like Zoopla and screening potential buyers before viewings.
How To Sell Your Home Online: A Step-By-Step Guide
Decide Your Platform
Firstly, you must decide how you wish to proceed with an online sale. Do you want to sell privately, use an online estate agent, or perhaps opt for something in the middle? What’s ‘best’ will depend on your circumstances, and the level of support you’ll require will be determined by a number of factors, including the type of property you own, and your location.
Value Your Property
Decide how much you’ll be putting your home on the market for. It’s easy to get an instant home valuation online which is useful if you have a rough idea of the value, but would like to confirm this to ensure you’re not losing out, or potentially deterring prospective buyers. You can adjust your value while its on the market to help secure a quicker sale.
Get the Ball Rolling
Contact your chosen online estate agent or property platform to get the ball rolling. This will usually involve arranging for photographs to be taken of your property, and erection of a ‘For Sale’ sign if you choose to use one. You will also need to arrange for an energy performance certificate (EPC) if you don’t already have one, and begin creating a description of your home.
Market Your Property
If you’re using an online estate agent or property platform route, the ball’s in their court. It’s now up to them to reach out to some of the UK’s biggest sales portals to market your property effectively. Private sellers will need to market the property themselves. How buyers will get in touch – either directly or through an agent – will depend upon how you’ve opted to sell.
Let the viewings begin
Depending on the level of support you get, you can either conduct the viewings yourself or ask the online agent to do it. Most people opt to do it themselves as the buyer generally prefers to meet the homeowner and you’ll be much better placed to answer all their questions. It’s also a good opportunity for you, the seller, to find out the buyer’s circumstances.
Once you have negotiated with a buyer and accepted an offer, you should find that the remainder of the selling process is exactly the same as selling through an estate agent. You’ll instruct your solicitor to correspond with your buyer’s solicitor to ensure that the sale is completed smoothly and successfully.