Estate agents secrets: eight things they don’t want you to know about selling your home

Selling a home in 2015 is in the power of the man on the street – and not the high street estate agents that he walks past. Listing fees, legal documentation, photographs and the many other aspects of putting a house on the market are all aspects of the sale, which have been simplified and empowered online, and much of that is because estate agents sometimes have a bad reputation. Here are eight things estate agents don’t want you to know about selling your home:

 Their fees vary greatly

Do your research before enlisting an estate agent for a valuation, because the values charged are diverse. Most charge a percentage fee of between 0.75% and 3.5% of the agreed selling price – for a house of £300,000 that’s a difference of more than £8,000. Read the small print.

 Don’t go too high…

Use the Internet to research the properties in your area and street, and plan accordingly. If your house has apparent extras such as a summerhouse, conservatory, off-road parking, and other individual attractions, then increasing the asking price accordingly is sensible. You can bet the buyer will be doing the same research and knowing what they should get for their money.

 …but don’t go too low either…

Reducing your asking price can be a great way to stimulate interest in your property  if necessary, but the key to achieving a quick sale whilst still achieving the best price

for your property is to ensure you are marketing at a sensible price according to

current market conditions.

 Accessibility can go a long way

“Yes, I’m free for visits at pretty much any time in the evenings. Apart from Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And weekends. Actually Thursdays are a little dodgy as well….” This is a guaranteed way of ensuring no-one ever gets to see your home, and therefore keeping it on the agent’s books. They should warn you of the dangers of restricting accessibility – but many don’t.

Conceal your pets

You’d be amazed at the factors that can dictate a searcher’s decision to even look at a home. Dog bowls or children’s toys in a picture show that there are creatures that might not be responsible for their actions living in the home, and in the case of the former that also might include fleas and fur-loving beasts.

 You can do it online

Marketing your home yourself online is easier than ever before, with a huge range of customisation and fee options depending on how much work you put in. Companies such as HouseSimple visit the property and set up the advert, with some sales taking as little as 22 days; a far cry from the more traditional methods that your high street agent may prefer.

Social media can do it all for you

Earlier this year online estate agents participated in the first virtual open house on Facebook, for a property in Hackney, in a move which could potentially see the seller save up to £8,000 on estate agent fees. A real-time question and answer session at the same time of this HD walkthrough does much of the hard work – and it’s surely going to find a much more diverse audience.

 De-personalise

Making your home your own is a personal and gradual process, but making it suitable for someone else is a different ball game. Striking the happy medium between removing your beloved items such as family pictures and retaining enough of a character that the house shines through in photographs or videos is a balancing act. But if you’re struggling you can even enlist the services of ‘home stagers’ to do the job for you.

Have your say