Do I need an estate agent, can I sell a house myself?

I want to put my house on the market. I know that the normal way is to contact an estate agent and let them handle the sale, but is it always necessary to do so? I'd like to sell my house by myself if possible, so I want to find out if there's anything to prevent me, such as it being a legal requirement to engage the services of an estate agent, or it being too complex for anyone without an estate agent's expertise to attempt.

Katy from Sheffield


There is no legal requirement to use an estate agent.  There are various websites that let you access a good range of marketing as well such as  However, there are some things that you do need an estate agent for:

1.   Setting the price – as a private individual, you can search sold prices but a good local agent will have a real feel for the market and should be able to set the price accurately.

2.  Traditional marketing – we find a lot of people still check the property section in our local newspaper each week.  However, for properties aimed at the younger market this probably isn’t so important.

3.  A good local agent will have a shop window and a database of waiting applicants too.
4.  Some people are more comfortable buying through an estate agent.
5.  You will have to do the viewings yourself which can be time consuming.  Some people also worry either about having strangers in their house or how best to show people around.
6.  You will have to do the negotiating yourself. Good agents have experience negotiating on your behalf and it’s often easier to be a tougher negotiator if you are not the one having to ask for more.
7.  Sales progression – more negotiating this time between the parties in the chain, solicitors, mortgage companies.
It can be really easy or it can be complicated and the experience agents have with dealing with this day in, day out can really pay off in either getting the deal done quickly, or at all.  Most of the online sites allow you to bolt on these extras as add-ons.  However, this can push the price up to what you would pay for a local agent and you still haven’t got the true local knowledge and contacts of an agent that deals with the properties near to yours on a daily basis.

reallymoving comment: 

A lot of estate agents will suggest that you use their recommended conveyancing solicitor.  It is always worth geting several conveyancing quotes as well.  Ask your estate agent what referral fee they are receiving from the solicitor, and cross reference this with what the solicitor tells you.  It often runs into £100's so you can save a lot of money by going direct.

You may also wish to read our article How To Sell Your House Without An Estate Agent.

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