Everyone loves to hate estate agents. If you use them to help you sell your home, they’ll take between 1.5-2% of the price you get for it as a commission. And what do they do exactly? Well they take some photos of your house, they show people round it and they negotiate offers for you.
Sounds pretty straightforward really doesn’t it? That’s why there are now several websites offering to cut out the middle man and let you sell your home online. You do most of the work yourself, but you’ll save literally thousands in estate agents fees. Read on to find out how you can sell you home online.
There are various sites out there who offer this service, but we’ve chosen to focus on Tepilo.com which was set up by property guru Sarah Beeny, because we think it’s the best.
Quite a few of the other sites out there charge you to use them, but Tepilo is completely free. It guides you through the whole process of selling your home, giving you advice and tips at every step along the way.
The site won’t however help sort your mortgage out for you, whether you’re buying or selling – that bit you have to have in place beforehand. So if you’re a first-time buyer looking for a mortgage, or you’re remortgaging for your move use our mortgage comparison service to find the best deal for you.
I know what you’re thinking though – ‘what’s the point of saving money by advertising my home online if no-one’s going to see it’?
Well, Tepilo currently lists 10,000 properties and in it’s first year saved users a cool £1 million in estate agents fees.
Plus, when you add your property to the site it is also added to Google Maps, The Telegraph, Channel 4, The Independent, AOL Trovit, Oodle and more sites – so your listing will be seen by a huge audience.
Some estate agents are brilliant. They are very knowledgeable and can offer you valuable advice, but on the whole you are paying a lot of money for something you can do yourself.
It’s a myth that it’s a complicated and difficult process to sell a house, complex words are used, and processes are involved that we think we don’t understand. Actually the process is straightforward. In fact in America, 40% of homes are sold without the use of an estate agent.
People don’t do that traditional thing anymore where they dedicate a weekend to going round high street agents. If they want to look at properties they’ll just browse them online. So I thought, why shouldn’t you be able to sell online too.
There are a few things you’ll need to have in place before you advertise your home online.
1. An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): It doesn’t need to have arrived yet, but you must have made an application for an EPC before you market your property. Tepilo recommends using myhiphome.co.uk for this.
2. Photographs: You can take these yourself with a digital camera. Make sure you have a good selection and that your home looks tip-top in all of them. If you really can’t face doing this yourself, Tepilo does have recommendations of companies who will do it cheaply for you.
3. Floorplan: You may already have this from when you bought the property. If not, you just need to take the measurements yourself and use Tepilo’s floorplanner creator to make your own.
4. Lease: If your property is leasehold, find out the details. You need to know how long is left on the lease, and how much the service charge and ground rent is each year.
Once all this is in place, you can follow the steps on Tepilo, and get your home online.
Then you can make decisions on whether you’d like an advertising board outside your property, and whether you want to do the viewings yourself.
You will then need to contact your solicitor to ask them to get the paperwork ready for a buyer. They will send you some forms which you’ll need to fill in – a fixtures and fittings form and a preliminary enquiries form.
At this point it’s just a case of waiting for contact from potential buyers. Once they’ve had a look round your property, you can use Tepilo to negotiate offers with them. If you come to an agreement, you need to swap solicitors details and agree exchange and completion dates.
Then you need to instruct your solicitor, giving them all the details of the buyer and the sale. The buyer will then part with some money (a deposit) which acts as a guarantee for you.
After this there is likely to be much to-ing and fro-ing between your solicitor and the purchasers solicitor while surveys and searches take place.
Once the purchaser’s mortgage offer has come through and all the paperwork is in place, the solicitors can exchange contracts and your house is sold!
You will receive the money from your solicitor minus any charges against the property (i.e. your mortgage) and their fees.
The one obvious drawback with using one of these sites is that you will have to do most of the hard work yourself. Yes, the company are there to help you through the process and offer advice, but it’s you who has to show people round your property, and negotiate the price.
Remember that selling your home is a stressful process anyway, and there is a reasonable amount of work involved if you do it yourself. That said, if you really want to make big savings it is definitely worth the effort.
Remember that there are always going to be time-wasters out there. You’ll have to separate them from the people who are genuinely interested in your property, so be prepared to do that.
Also, while the site offers legal advice, you are still responsible for appointing a solicitor just as you normally would when selling a house. If you don’t already have one, go on the recommendations of friends or family and don’t scrimp – make sure they are going to do their job properly.
And a few personal security issues. The process itself is generally very safe, but make sure you:
- Never give more personal information away than necessary i.e. place of work, times that you work, dates on your holidays etc.
- If you live on your own, don’t mention this fact to potential buyers or tenants. Consider getting a number of viewings at a similar time and invite a friend over to be with you whilst they are going on.