Should you hire an estate agent or try to sell your own home?

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Guest blog from Robert Holmes Estate Agents in Wimbledon.

Selling your home? It's a major milestone in life, leaving behind one set of memories and moving into a new phase of your life. Some people choose to go DIY and sell their houses without using an agent. Have you considered all the options?

The top three reasons people choose to go DIY are:

1. Convenience: arrange viewings at your leisure
2. Value: set a price you want
3. Saving: avoid paying any estate agent fees

If you do choose to sell without an estate agent, the service you are missing might cost you more than you think you might save.

Accurate valuations
In today's market, where over 65% of Londoners feel house prices are above 'fair and reasonable,' how are you supposed to price your property well enough to attract buyers yet not low enough undersell it? While you can research sale prices online, these figures are at least 8 if not 12 weeks old. An agent can give you an up-to-the-minute valuation based on similar properties under offer that have surveyed successfully. There's little point in spending a couple of thousand on surveys and conveyancing for what you're buying, to then have your buyer unable to borrow on what he's offered you because of a down-valuation by the mortgage lender. This happens when properties are over-valued, a good agent can advise on a REALISTIC sale price based on indisputable facts.

Emotions running high
Negotiating can be a tricky business. When estate agents negotiate between buyers and sellers, it's all part of a day's work. If you are the buyer or seller, then your emotional attachment to the transaction can cloud the water, leading to heated discussions that literally end in tears! If you are going to take on the negotiations yourself, make sure you remain calm, clear and collected. If you feel things are getting out of control, end the conversation and say that you will continue later.

This is also true of sales progression. Estate agents often mediate between parties who are stressed and suspicious. All too often people threaten to pull out of sales for these reasons. An estate agent is used to dealing with these issues and save many sales that would not have gone through without experience, third-party mediation.

High Stakes
If a sale does fall through, it can be heartbreaking for a vendor/seller. Choosing to sell through an agent lessens the pain. If the negotiations have been through an intermediary, then a sale falling through will be a disappointment but will feel less personal. It also means that you have a ready pool of buyers on the agent's database to start looking at your property to begin the process again.

There's a lot of complicated time consuming paperwork involved in a house sale. If you love form filling then you'll be fine. The advantage of an estate agent is that they will be used to completing these forms and have the time to get on with it.

If you choose to sell your house yourself, then perhaps you already have a buyer in mind. If not, do you know the best places to advertise to generate viewings? An estate agent will typically pay for space in the local paper. They will also have a strong online presence with their own website and listings with property portals, all of this is very expensive. Most people search for property online, so a web presence is key to getting your property details out there.

Estate agents bring many advantages to a client and provide a service gained by experience. It isn't a bad idea to sell privately if you have a buyer in mind, but otherwise we would definately advice you to employ an industry professional. It could save you far more by the end of your sale.

photo courtesy Photoxpress