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Sell house with or without estate agent?

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 elliot.baker 19 Nov 2021

I know all the stereotypes but is there any major disadvantage to not using an estate agent to sell your house? Assuming that it's a simple 'ordinary' and reasonably desirable house, I have a good idea of the value etc.

Does the estate agent do some work with your/the buyer's solicitor to help things along?

I don't mind doing viewings myself etc.

Just thinking we could save several thousand, could be a holiday or treat or whatever... unless I'm missing something obvious.

 Pedro50 19 Nov 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

You need to use an agent to get listed on Rightmove and the other one.

Selling our late mother's house recently we used Purple Bricks cost hundreds not thousands. The local agent was excellent and proactive. 

In reply to elliot.baker:

Must be one hell of an expensive house if you are looking at saving several thousand!Most estate agents fees are way below that.

Most searches are done online these day so you need a visible online presence as the starting point.

Personally when buying a house I do not like the seller to be there. Its easier to say to the estate agent a no. So you will be saving yourself alot of heartache if soembody else attends the viewings for you.

Knowledgable local estaate agents will have a far better grasp of the market than you.

 Messners Yeti 19 Nov 2021
In reply to neilh:

Not all estate agents are equal but I found that having a good one meant they arranged all the viewings and got a good offer. However, their real value kicked in once we got into the process of selling as they were a good back channel to the buyer and their solicitors when they were slow providing stuff. Our chain (and their commission) would probably have fallen through without their pestering. 

In reply to elliot.baker:

If you want to do most of the work yourself, Strike offers a free, very basic service which includes a Rightmove listing if I recall.  If you don't list on Rightmove you'll get far less interest, everyone looks there these days, so you need this unless your house is very desirable and will sell on word of mouth.

I've not used them but I have seen their name against houses on Rightmove.

You did used to see non-agent "for sale, apply within" boards, but nobody goes round looking for houses like that these days.

Post edited at 10:41
 PaulJepson 19 Nov 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

I considered this this year and ended up going with an estate agent. 

You might pay a bit more but I'm fairly sure I sold for 2%-5% more than I would have if I'd gone with Purple Bricks or done it myself. The benefit of not having to deal with the viewings, time-wasters, etc. myself and the fact that they keep things moving was well worth it in my opinion (the cost was 1% incl. VAT FYI). It's a bit annoying having to deal with the actual estate agents (aren't they just the worst? They could be second on my shit-list, after landlords) but if you take their salesy bollocks with a pinch of salt (not every viewing is going to be "reeeaally positive") and let them get on with it, then it isn't too bad. 

The other thing to think about is that the likes of Purple Bricks get their payment upfront, so stop working for you very quickly. Traditional estate agents on the other hand don't get paid until you complete, so they will keep working to progress the sale right up to the hilt (or they should, if you don't get a shite one). 

I've known a couple of people who used purple bricks and the feedback was not that good (in fact, one of them lost buyers etc. because they failed to pass on information). 

In reply to neilh:

Apparently the average Estate Agents fees in the U.K. is 1.18%+VAT. It’s a while since I’ve sold a house, but memory suggests that 1%+VAT was typical.

If we say several thousand pounds is £3-5,000, we are very much in the realms of average house prices and certainly not “one hell of an expensive house”.

 thel33ter 19 Nov 2021
In reply to PaulJepson:

If you do go with an agent, make sure they're good, ideally a smaller local one. We're buying through Connell's at the moment, and every interaction with them from the moment we suggested submitting an offer has been awful - threats of taking other offers if we don't use their mortgage people, no advice on how to proceed once we'd made the offer, telling us one thing over the phone, then emailing us different things because they weren't allowed to be saying that. 

If we weren't as keen on the house, we'd have bailed just because dealing with them was such a crap experience.

 gethin_allen 19 Nov 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

> Apparently the average Estate Agents fees in the U.K. is 1.18%+VAT. It’s a while since I’ve sold a house, but memory suggests that 1%+VAT was typical.

> If we say several thousand pounds is £3-5,000, we are very much in the realms of average house prices and certainly not “one hell of an expensive house”.


Indeed, from recent experience 1.2%.

I never understand why estate agents are paid on a % basis when it's no more effort to sell an expensive house in a nice area than it is a cheap house in a crap area. In fact, the latter is likely to cause more problems.

In our current area I reckon you could scribble a for sale note on the back of a beer mat and stand it in the window and someone would offer you something.

 PaulJepson 19 Nov 2021
In reply to gethin_allen:

It makes about as much sense as surveys being priced on the cost of a property.

I was looking at one house that was not far off pristine, and priced accordingly. The survey was more expensive than a cheaper house that needed a fair bit of work. Surely surveying something that needs loads doing to it is a lot more work? And houses on at a lower price are more likely to need more work doing to them?

In reply to elliot.baker:

I sold my parents house last year and the estate agent was excellent: a good sales  plan, pitched it right, kept the process moving along liaising with solicitors, buyers etc and couldn't have been more professional. Having just bought an apartment on behalf of someone the agents in my home town have been completely undynamic, no communication unless forced, didn't check on empty property despite being 60 seconds from their office etc etc basically just a window and a website. so if you decide to use one have a good talk with them first to get a feel for what they're like!

In reply to PaulJepson:

> I've known a couple of people who used purple bricks and the feedback was not that good (in fact, one of them lost buyers etc. because they failed to pass on information). 

I've interacted with Purple Bricks (and Zopa) from several angles and I'd suggest avoiding.  If you are going to pay, pay a bit more for a service that actually takes the hassle out of things and ideally gets you a better price.

In reply to The New NickB:

Several thousand to me means £7-10k....smiles....£3-5 K is a few thousand.......smiles

Post edited at 12:06
In reply to PaulJepson:

Logically it would be a per hour charge for a surveyor.  But doing it based on the house price is a way to charge people more if they can afford more.

 elliot.baker 19 Nov 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

good insight thanks everyone. Overall sounds like estate agents might be the way to go. And yes 1%+VAT so a few k.

In reply to neilh:

Several means “more than two, but not many”. Take it up with the OED if you disagree.

 Pedro50 19 Nov 2021
In reply to MG:

As per my first post we were very happy with purple bricks despite the naff adverts. I've just checked the invoice it was more than hundreds but came to 0.42% of the sale price including escorted viewings as we lived remotely.

The local agent understood the local market, our first agreed sale fell through when their mortgage application was declined. The same day she sold it for the same figure to a divorcee who's own house she had just sold. We did not have to pay upfront as someone mentioned above.

 BennoC 19 Nov 2021
In reply to Pedro50:

I also used purple bricks a couple of years ago. We did the viewings ourselves, but we sold the house in two days, and handled most of the stuff ourselves by messaging the buyers directly. I really don't see what value paying more for an agent can bring. Houses are selling like hotcakes at the moment.  

In reply to The New NickB:

The poster can either try a few estate agents or several to get a quote to compare the costings.Maybe a couple might be better.

In reply to Pedro50:

Purplebricks is £999 in most areas or £1399 in certain parts of the South East.  I think it's an extra £300 for the agent to do the viewings, or thereabouts, plus a few odd uplifts for things like premium listings if you want them.

You can pay later if you agree to use their conveyancer, but otherwise it's up-front, unless some sort of special offer was on.

Post edited at 15:53
In reply to elliot.baker:

> good insight thanks everyone. Overall sounds like estate agents might be the way to go. And yes 1%+VAT so a few k.

I've dealt with an agent and found they did nothing of any value for the extra cost over Purplebricks, FWIW.  And I thought they sounded good when I was discussing it with them, so it doesn't follow that you'll get the right impression!  They weren't *bad*, but they did not provide any extra value for costing three times as much (for that house).

 Pedro50 19 Nov 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

Yes that fits with our 0.42% in the SE.

 hokkyokusei 19 Nov 2021
In reply to MG:

> I've interacted with Purple Bricks (and Zopa) from several angles and I'd suggest avoiding.  If you are going to pay, pay a bit more for a service that actually takes the hassle out of things and ideally gets you a better price.

I'm not seeing a lot of love for Purple Bricks, so I just thought I'd contribute my own experience with them. When I was selling my recently deceased Dad's house, for various reasons I wanted as little involvement as possible. Purple Bricks did everything I needed, handled all the viewings and got me what I considered  to be a fair price and were very professional throughout.

In reply to hokkyokusei:

Fair enough, perhaps location/ agent dependent.

However,  I was particularly unimpressed with 'independent" surveyors calling me after getting my number from Purple Bricks when I was buying.

 jonfun21 20 Nov 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

Something to consider is aligning incentives, we agreed a target price (just above what we considered the market price for our house)  and the estate agent got 0.5% at or below that level. For every £1 above we split it 50/50.

This may have been the reason we achieved quite a bit above asking & a fast sale, it may not have been but will never know. It’s not perfect as if they can’t achieve the market price there is even more incentive for them to get you to accept a lower offer as they lose a couple of £ when you “miss out” on thousands. 

Post edited at 08:57
In reply to elliot.baker:

If I was selling 100% I'd go with Strike. Estate agents literally just answer the phones for viewings and walk people around your home, both super easy to do. Yes they can chase up solicitors, but anyone can do that.

When my dad used an estate agent a few years ago they didn't write a blurb about the house on any of the listings, just a list of "kitchen units, plugs, hob" etc, I wrote a new one up myself talking up the house. They claim to have a 'negotiating team' but gave us no advice on offers or adjusting pricing. We had to do that. Often weeks and weeks would go by with radio silence, no updates at all on how our listing was doing. Our listings were missing pictures, had tech issues sometimes and I was the one dealing with it. We wasted about 4 months under offer from an international buyer who ended up just ghosting us - estate agents don't vet potential buyers financials even when they make an offer, the solicitors do all that.

All the people that paid their estate agents thousands are obviously going to convince themselves it was worth it, but the reality is 99% of the real work is done by your solicitor and the estate agent is a middleman that does a tiny bit of admin but gets paid WAY more than a conveyancer for no discernable reason.

 elliot.baker 20 Nov 2021
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

You make a good argument and it would save us several £k….!

 freeflyer 20 Nov 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

If your house is a hot brick, Purple Bricks will get you onto rightmove, but they won't sell it otherwise - that's what an agent does.

To find an agent, trawl all the sold houses in your rough price bracket and local area, along with the agent, and go with the one that converted the most. This has worked for me twice in difficult times. There's a big difference between the good agents and the rubbish ones, and the obvious metric is how many houses on their books they convert into sales.

ff

In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> All the people that paid their estate agents thousands are obviously going to convince themselves it was worth it, but the reality is 99% of the real work is done by your solicitor and the estate agent is a middleman that does a tiny bit of admin but gets paid WAY more than a conveyancer for no discernable reason. <

From the estate agents' point of view their work showing potential buyers round, advertising, chasing people up etc probably results in no sale and a financial "loss" to them in many cases (well over 50% ?). Their living often depends just on what they can sell.

Over my life we've had three houses, and obviously sold two of them. We showed prospective buyers round ourselves but the estate agents managed that when we were absent; all the prospective and actual buyers were ones originally shown round by the agents.

On the negative side an acquaintance's flat failed to sell. His wife rang the estate agent pretending to be looking for a property with their own home's exact specifications...the agent did not even suggest it to her.

 Fredt 21 Nov 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

If you can find a buyer without using an estate agent, then you just let both parties' solicitors do the rest. 

I had been asked to sell a deceased relative's house on the families behalf. As I was clearing out the house, a lady walked past and asked if it was going to be put up for sale, and what the price would be. I was aware of the value, added £20k, and she offered to buy it. We exchanged solicitor's details and it all went through.

 Nic Barber 25 Nov 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

Also looking to sell in the next few months.

In terms of getting a vazluation is it best to go through an estate agent or elsewhere? Should I get opinions from >1 estate agent (or is that just what they did when I used to watch homes under the hammer as a student?)

I know how much we paid for it, and roughly how much we've spent updating it from a tired shell into a nice house (the wife chose the colour schemes!) We've only been here for a smidge over 2 years, but then again a nice remote house with views of hills is probably even more desirable than it was pre-pandemic.

 turtlespit 25 Nov 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

Interesting country comparison - I sold a house in Australia a few years ago, and the estate agent commission was 2.75%. Was pleasantly surprised selling a house recently in the UK with the commission only being around 1%.

However, the time to sell in the UK is crazy.  From offer to completion in Australia was 4 weeks.  In the UK it was about 10 weeks (which is supposed to be relatively quick). 

In reply to Nic Barber:

You can probably get a decent idea of the value by looking on Zoopla for what has sold in the area that is similar.  But an agent will typically do it for nowt.

 trouserburp 25 Nov 2021
In reply to thel33ter:

> If you do go with an agent, make sure they're good, ideally a smaller local one. We're buying through Connell's at the moment, and every interaction with them from the moment we suggested submitting an offer has been awful - threats of taking other offers if we don't use their mortgage people, no advice on how to proceed once we'd made the offer, telling us one thing over the phone, then emailing us different things because they weren't allowed to be saying that. 

Ditto that experience of Connell's turning down offers if you refuse to use their mortgage broker. Eventually I gave in and spoke to their mortgage broker for 2 hours, who came up with a worse offer than habito before an additional £700 for his services (he said he's worth it!)

 Rob Naylor 25 Nov 2021
In reply to Messners Yeti:

> Not all estate agents are equal but I found that having a good one meant they arranged all the viewings and got a good offer. However, their real value kicked in once we got into the process of selling as they were a good back channel to the buyer and their solicitors when they were slow providing stuff. Our chain (and their commission) would probably have fallen through without their pestering. 

Plus one on that. When buying, the seller's Agent was a great back channel for me...and also sorted me out with an efficient and proactive solicitor when the one I'd engaged proved useless. And now, selling, the Agent we're using has been great at linking with other Agents in the downward chain, keeping everyone informed and passing information through to our solicitor. 

As you say, not all are great but the two I've used this year have been excellent at oiling the wheels. The first one rescued an almost certain fall-through and the one we're using now has so far ensured that things have run much more smoothly than they might have.

 Rob Naylor 25 Nov 2021
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> All the people that paid their estate agents thousands are obviously going to convince themselves it was worth it, but the reality is 99% of the real work is done by your solicitor and the estate agent is a middleman that does a tiny bit of admin but gets paid WAY more than a conveyancer for no discernable reason.

My experience has been the opposite. Several of the solicitors in the chains have in both my recent cases been dilatory and fairly useless and only the Agents' continual intervention "at both ends"  has kept things moving. Plus an introduction to an efficient solicitor in one case when my own proved too useless for words and had to be kicked into touch. Solicitors might be the "gears" in the engine but without the Agents providing the lubrication in both my recent transactions, the gears would have seized.

In reply to trouserburp:

> Ditto that experience of Connell's turning down offers if you refuse to use their mortgage broker. Eventually I gave in and spoke to their mortgage broker for 2 hours, who came up with a worse offer than habito before an additional £700 for his services (he said he's worth it!)

To be fair some of them use mortgage brokers to check that you are serious i.e. can afford the mortgage, when I bought my place they took that line.  It turned out they actually found a decent deal, but they never suggested I couldn't find my own.  Anyone suggesting otherwise is really misbehaving.

In reply to Rob Naylor:

If ringing up a solicitor to find out what the holdup is, is worth many thousands of pounds to you, then fair enough. 

In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> If ringing up a solicitor to find out what the holdup is, is worth many thousands of pounds to you, then fair enough.

What would be worth many thousands of pounds would be getting many thousands of pounds more on the sale price, such as by advising on the state of the market (e.g. "here's an offer for £X, based on the market in my professional view you should counter-offer £Y and threaten to walk away if it isn't agreed, as I've got another 5 potential buyers coming up") - but I've never experienced that, they do as little as possible for as much money as possible.

Post edited at 13:12
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

I don't think sellers solicitors will talk to buyers at all (confidentiality).  However, sellers agents can talk to both sellers solicitors and buyers agents, which provides a communication channel.

Alternatively if the the other party seems sane, swapping phone numbers is often the best approach.

 Rob Naylor 25 Nov 2021
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

I can ring up MY solicitors, and perhaps get some answers (or not...even if they bother to answer the phone or respond to emails, which in the case of one practice they didn't) but I can't move down-chain or up-chain unless my solicitors are proactive, whereas the agents who are dependent on a sale for their commissions will contact other agents and solicitors on both sides of a chain and oil the wheels. There were no fees that side for me as it was the vendor's agent I was dealing with, but their help was absolutely invaluable.

I know for a fact that in the two recent transactions I've mentioned, I would have lost the first one without the proactive support of the vendor's agent, and that our own agent in the second one has secured us several tens of £ more than we were reasonably expecting to realise on our sale, by advising us about the reliability of the purveyors of various offers and whether to wait for a while for a high-offer purchaser to "come through" when all our instincts were to dump that one and fall back to another offer. Probably realised 5-6 times the cost of that agent's services.

In reply to Rob Naylor:

> unless my solicitors are proactive

Perhaps the most important thing. 

Maybe it boils down to the type of person you are. I like to do things myself, not rely on people, or pay for things I don't need. I can easily sell a house without an estate agent (especially in the current market) so that's what I would do. I can see why people might want advisors to do some of the leg work for them, but if you know what your house is worth then personally I don't see the need. And as many others have described, estate agents often aren't helpful. 

 Dave Rumney 26 Nov 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

I used Strike a couple of years ago and was impressed with their overall service.

I think their business model is based on low prices to gain market share and sellers hopefully using their conveyancing services.

I've moved home a few times over the years and i'd definitely recommend getting at least 3 estate agents round to get a price for your house, likely sale speed, suggestions from them on maximising sale value and also get a good idea of their fees and overall impression of them. 

Most people just look on Rightmove these days so I'm not sure what value a local estate agent in the high street charging 1%+ would be and the local estate agent for the house I was buying were awfully inefficient - I don't think they did their seller any favours.

It seems to be a sellers market at the moment anyway.


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