How to sell your own home

Here’s how, without any experience of selling houses and during a difficult time for the property market, I sold my home within 4 months, from initial listing to completion, and paid just £350 in estate agent fees!

I decided to put my house on the market in late July 2018. Naturally, the first step was to choose an estate agent. Most of us have now heard of “Purple Bricks”, the no commission agents. But, with packages starting at £899, I personally don’t find their service to be offering outstanding value. That’s why I decided to test out another challenger estate agent called Doorsteps, whose packages start at a mere £99! At this price, I figured I hadn’t much to lose and, if it worked out, a lot to gain.

Now the first thing to say about Doorsteps is it’s not for you if you are really time poor, and are unable to do your own viewings. I’m sorry, but you have to be on crack if you think you think you can sell your house for £99 and NOT have to do your own viewings! Whilst slightly inconvenient at times, the potential saving on offer rendered this absolutely not an obstacle for me.

Upon viewing the three different Doorsteps packages on offer, I decided to opt for the £199 package, solely because this included professional photographer images, which I knew would be essential to the sale of the house.

Within a week, a Doorsteps “Consultant” came out and took the standard wide-angle images (the sort that make each room look bigger than it is), and we had a chat about the details that should be included on the Zoopla / Rightmove ads description. Lastly, we discussed what the initial price should be set at. It’s worth mentioning here that, by a “chat”, I mean she asked me what I wanted to set the price at, I gave her a figure (which I knew to be over what the house was actually worth), and she noted it down without rebuttal.

A couple of weeks passed without a sniff before I received a request for my first viewing. A couple in their 20s who did a lot of nodding and smiling which never manifested in an offer of any sort. Soon after, I dropped the price from £299,950 to £289,950 (yes I know I am a marketing genius), and got a couple more viewings but no offers. Several weeks passed before I looked at the page views, noting they were pretty low. At this point, I was also starting to get a bit fed up of the last-minute viewing requests. So I decided to do three things:

  • I lowered the price by another £10k to £279,950
  • Decided to advertise an “open day” for the following Saturday
  • Paid an additional £150 for “Premium” ads on Zoopla and Rightmove. Essentially, this allows you to show more photos on the search listings page, making the ad stand out a bit more.

Gladly, this move resulted in a significant increase in page views on my ads, which in turn culminated in 4 bookings for my open day.

The open day viewings went really well. As much as none of my previous viewings had been a disaster, the atmosphere of the open day was noticeably different: one of genuine excitement. The viewers asked questions about who had already come to see the property, and what had been their level of interest.

Monday came and I waited all day in anticipation of an offer. Nothing. Feeling both confused and disappointed, by Wednesday morning I decided if the buyers weren’t going to contact me then I would contact them. I called Doorsteps and spoke with a woman named Sarah. Sarah diligently called around the open day attendees and BOOM- within the hour, I had my first offer. I was happy with it and so, after a few hours (I didn’t want to seem too eager), I accepted!

Two months later, we exchanged contracts- I had sold my first house! Versus a traditional estate agent who would have charged 1% plus VAT, I reckon I saved approximately £2,500 in estate agent fees. So, whilst they may be pretty hands off and, didn’t offer much by way of advice on the price, the open day, etc, I’d definitely recommend Doorsteps to anyone.