There are all manner of options available to homeowners to sell their homes ‘privately’, some specific sites do nothing but. Even Rightmove and Zoopla are at it. But what is the benefit for the consumer, if any?
Prima facie, the goal is to avoid the agent’s fee. Technically this could be the case but at what price?
Homeowners trying to be their own estate agents are akin to a doctor delivering his own baby – you just do not do it.
It is no accident that despite the reputation of agents in the marketplace over 99% of people selling, buying or renting, use estate agents and pay their fees. This is no co-incidence.
An agency is not just a ‘chunk of money’ that could be saved very easily agents do perform a role that is difficult to replicate by the homeowners for the following reasons:
- The most difficult part of buying/selling/renting is trying to calculate the value. The homeowner is the least qualified to do this not only because they are untrained but because, emotionally, they are so close to their home they cannot see the ‘wood from the trees’. Put the property on the market at too high a price and you may never know why it is not selling or renting. Put the property on at too low a price and you could be giving away tax-free money that, in all probability, will be more far greater than the most expensive agency.
- Agents are not just there to establish a value or, in fact, to show people across the property (albeit these are important functions) they are there to ‘get the deal across the line’ and this is their most important function that only an intermediary is able to do, separate from the buyer or seller. If, for instance, a sale were not proceeding fast enough, and the owner tried to chase the purchaser, this would be a sign of desperation and a signal that the price could be lowered (perhaps at the eleventh hour) where as if the agent did it the motive would be to earn their fee and that is a laudable pursuit.
There is much more to this buying/selling/renting business than ‘meets the eye’ that agents do regularly. They develop a knack of spending as little time as possible to get the best results. They take their fee from tax free Capital Gains that the homeowner has benefited from the inflationary system – and what is wrong with that? And, they only receive their fee after the deal has been done and dusted – as it should be.
So, I put it to you, out there in the ether, prospective private sellers/renters that what at first may appear to be an obvious saving could in fact be the most expensive deal that you should never do – beware!