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Sell your house – but how? Is there an easy way?

Wanting to sell your house is an every day occurrence. Deciding how to sell is another matter altogether.

The BBC’s Money Programme took a pop at estate agents in the programme broadcast on 24 November. However, if the programme did one thing it should have reinforced the view that there is no one single easy way to sell your house.

Whichever path you go down it should be as simple and as hassle-free as possible. But there’s so much emotion vested in a house sale (and subsequent move) that most sellers experiences rarely reflect this ideal.

Selling privately is not the answer for everyone

Looking at the increasing trend of homeowners selling privately and intensifying competition between estate agents, the programme was an eclectic mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. For our ten pence worth the programme was interesting for a number of reasons.

First off there was Rightmove, there to help you sell your house..but only if an estate agent is involved.

A spokesman from Rightmove was defending its right to kick businesses promoting private house sales, like Property Broker, off its web site. All under the guise of requiring estate agents to comply with the appropriate legislation which private sellers don’t need to. Rye chuckles presumably followed in various estate agents offices (not to mention house sellers front rooms).

Perhaps it comes as a surprise then to learn that in the previous week reports appeared that the vast majority of advertisements for new build flats in Edinburgh – a whopping two-thirds – are misleadingly advertised by developers and agents. Which is probably what we all felt to be true.

Second, grasping the basics of selling privately appeared to be beyond at least one of the people featured. We have said it numerous times – you’re dead in the water if you don’t do your homework. Sure, you can on the face of it, you can sell your house for less than your monthly grocery bill. Many people do. But selling privately, especially if you want a quick house sale, and most of us surely do, only works in certain circumstances.

You need the right house, in the right area, sensibly priced. And you need to put some effort in. More than you would if you are selling through an estate agent.

Sell your house or stay put?

Then there was one estate agent in South East London caught advertising a property they’d not been given as an instruction to sell. Rather, the details had been pirated from the Property Broker website.

To be fair to Rightmove it did suspend the offending agent. But the fact the house sale particulars were poached in the first place, the programme concluded, was evidence of just how much competition there is among estate agents. But the programme failed to explain why..

The plain fact is that in some parts of South East London many of you are deciding not to sell your house. At least not for the time being.

Numerous estate agents have told us that they can’t remember a time when there were so few properties to go around. The result? Agents are trying all sorts of tactics to win potential house sellers over. Only yesterday we got an email from one agent inviting us to let them value our home now with a view to holding fire until 7 January..And if someone had given me a pound for every estate agent’s flyer that’s fallen through the letter box in the last four months..

Sell your house - supermarket sweep or not?

Finally, it seems you have not taken to the idea that you can sell your house with the help of a supermarket. Adsa’s lack lustre foray into selling properties is, to be honest, difficult to assess based on the limited pilot to date. Based on the location of their stores and customers we might have expected the pilot to be more promising.

It does seem that you might not be ready to pick up a new semi with your baked beans. This probably says quite a bit about how engrained our shopping habits are. It doesn’t appear to be a service Asda have hooked up to the internet (yet). Now if they’d started it online…..But perhaps they're looking longer term, and who can blame them, safe in the knowledge that their cost base gives them a huge advantage.

What does all this extra competition for estate agents mean? Well the best will adapt and thrive..And with more choice everyone’s a winner.

But equally, with more choice comes more confusion. You must choose the right way to sell your house to suit your circumstances.

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