Selling a house is no easy task, no matter what approach you take to it.
While most property owners decide to sell their house through high street estate agents, some choose to the route of selling their house online – even if it is less than one in ten people according to HOA figures.
Regardless of this, virtually all property buyers begin their house search online, meaning that if you choose to sell online, you immediately have a wealth of potential buyers just by being present on those ‘big name’ websites, which is entirely possible if you choose the online route, as we’ll come to later on.
If you’re thinking about selling your house online, but aren’t entirely sure, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve created a complete guide to this process, focusing on how exactly you go about getting on the online market without the high street’s help.
The very first step to selling a house online is deciding whether or not it is the right choice for you.
Not everyone can manage (or even wants to manage) selling a house through an online estate agent as it’s a much harder approach than popping down to the local estate agents and getting them to sort everything out for you.
However, it does save you a lot of cash.
If you really want to save money during the sale of your house, then selling online is one of the easiest ways to do this.
High street estate agents generally charge around 1.5% of the price achieved in the sale, meaning you often end up paying them thousands when your house eventually sells.
It can be a little disheartening to see you lose a chunk of your money, and many people know they could use that money to go into making the next house better, or more to their taste.
In terms of what online estate agents can offer in comparison, their prices range from £200 to over £1,000, and you get to tailor your package to really get what it is you want from the online agents.
For example, you can choose if you’d like them to conduct viewings or negotiate price with potential buyers on your behalf.
There are also add-ons that you will probably have to consider paying extra for, so make sure to review all the information before deciding if selling your house online is right for you. It can be a very pedantic process, so you’ll definitely need patience.
It’s easy to see selling a house online as an easy process which will save you a lot of money.
That view is a very simplistic one, and it doesn’t exactly look into the process in depth.
You should be aware that selling your house online often requires you to pay for your package upfront, unlike with high street estate agents.
This also means that if your property doesn’t sell, you will lose your money.
The same applies if the estate agent closes down during the sale – your money is not coming back. So, beware of that when getting into selling a house online.
As well as this, while selling your house online can be a great alternative to high street agents, it means that the service is a lot less personal.
Most websites advertise a ‘local expert’ who will value your house, however, these experts will probably not know your local area well enough to make an accurate valuation, so you’ll need to pull some strings elsewhere to ensure that you get the right valuation.
So, if you’ve decided that selling your house online is the right option for you, then the next step is choosing an online estate agent.
This can seem like a daunting process seeing as there are so many to choose from, such as PurpleBricks, YOPA, House Simple and more.
However, you don’t need to see it that way at all.
Put simply, all you’ve got to do is your research which may be a little tedious and time consuming, but it’s worth it in the long run if this is the route you have decided to take.
When it comes to choosing your online estate agent, there are a few things you need to do to make sure everything is legitimate and that you’re getting the right deal.
The first thing to do is to check reviews of all estate agents and see which ones come out on top.
Just like choosing a hotel when you go on holiday, you want to know what other people think, so take some time to look through reviews and comments.
Another thing to take into consideration when choosing an online estate agent is what they offer in their packages.
You should make sure that photography, floor plans and advertising on Rightmove and Zoopla are all included in their basic packages, otherwise you’ll be spending over the odds on ‘add-ons’ that are really a basic service necessary for the sale of any house – online or otherwise.
The most important thing you’re looking at, though, is the advertising.
You need to be sure that the estate agent will give you the best advertising possible and have confidence in their ability to give you a sale that works for you.
Also, some packages only cover advertising costs for a fixed period of time, while others are unlimited. Make sure to check this before you pay any money and ensure it all works for you.
Remember that online is the only place people will be able to see your house, so how the agents market you on Rightmove and Zoopla really does matter.
As well as ensuring you get what you need from your package, you should ensure you look at prices and what’s on offer.
If we take a look at PurpleBricks, for example, you pay £899 up front and get floor plans, a valuation, photography, advertising and offer negotiation included.
In terms of ‘extras’, this includes premium listings on Rightmove, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which is mandatory when selling a property and accompanied house viewings.
Looking at YOPA, there are three different bundles on offer, beginning at £839 and rising to £1,795 with prices varying in some London postcodes.
Extras for YOPA are EPCs, accompanied viewings and premium listings on Rightmove and Zoopla.
As you can see, there are similar things on offer with online estate agents, and so the final decision comes down to you, really, and which one you think will do the best job.
Once you’ve chosen your estate agent and made the first steps to selling a house online, you will have to be quite proactive and organise certain meetings with the local property expert provided by the online agent you’ve chosen.
There will also have to be time put aside for photographs to be taken, as well as valuations.
One thing we would suggest when it comes to the next steps after choosing an online estate agent is contacting a local high street estate agent to value your house.
They know so much more about the local area and the housing market within it, and they will provide you with an accurate valuation, or at least one that is much more accurate than from a website’s ‘local property expert’.
Some estate agents will do this for free, others may charge a fee, so shop around and have a look at what’s on offer.
Following your house being advertised on the market, you will more than likely have enquiries into your house for a while.
Some people will book a viewing, and correspondence about viewings will take place between the estate agent and potential buyer.
However, if you have chosen to take control of the viewings yourself, you will have to ensure that you’re on hand to let the estate agent know when you’re free to hold a viewing so that they can inform the potential buyer.
Generally speaking, online estate agents will be there from the beginning of the sale through to the end, even if you have already paid them up front.
If this is the case with your house sale, you will be carefully guided through the process of a house sale and, when an offer is made, the estate agent will vet the applicant to ensure they are able to fulfil their proposed financial commitment.
And, depending on what your preference is, the estate agent can also be the negotiator of the house price at this stage, if you’d like them to be.
Whatever happens, selling a house online is not easy, but it is rewarding and it is cheaper, so we wish you the best of luck.
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