Are sell-your-own-home websites a good idea?

Two years ago Tesco launched its own version of a sell-your-own-home website. Yes, Tesco are jumping on the wagon for a second time. Asda’s attempt at an estate agency model also failed.

Are sell-your-own-home websites a good idea?

Which? magazine has given the sell-it-yourself model the thumbs up.  Certainly the vendor can save hundreds if not thousands of pounds by sourcing their own Home Information Pack, conveyancing solicitor or surveyor rather than using the estate agent’s “recommended” firm.  Thereby not only saving money but having the freedom to move estate agent if necessary.  Don’t even mention the referral fees that estate agents are (allegedly!) receiving for these recommendations.

However, before we all jump on the sell-it-yourself-and-save-lots-of-money band wagon, there are a few issues to consider. 

Consider your safety

How do you feel about letting a complete stranger wander round your home, opening every cupboard door and seeing its entire contents, only validated only by an email address and possibly a mobile phone?  Do you know how easy it is to obtain an email address or a SIM card?  I would suggest that single ladies should be particularly aware and have a friend at home with you during the viewing.

How do you know the buyer is serious and not just a voyeur who fancies a look around your home?  You should consider asking several questions to the potential buyer.  Are they in a chain?  Renting? Mortgage arranged?  New to the area?  You are likely to be selling your biggest asset so do not be afraid to ask sensitive questions. Your estate agent would.

How would you deal with several buyers who are in different situations all bidding for your home?  How can you suss out their intentions to find yourself the best – and most lucrative – deal?  A good estate agent is trained in handling these types of situations and may well improve the bids sufficiently to cover their fees.

When did you last deal with a solicitor?  Estate agents are also used to handling enquiries from solicitors and surveyors, sometimes extremely complicated situations.  They know the procedures for allowing access to homes and can facilitate this whilst you are at work.  It is not easy to allow a surveyor into your home whilst you are at work.

Finally, the LAW

Do you know the legal implications for mis-representation?  Simply by extending the size of a room or two by a foot or two, you could be misrepresenting your property and end up on the wrong side of the law with a heavy penalty.

There are certainly lots of pros and cons but worth ensuring you have thought through them all before you put your home on the market.

Let us know what you think

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