Selling your home is often a case of expense after expense after expense, and we can completely sympathise –few people like spending money that they don’t have to. So is it possible to sell your home without using solicitors or estate agents?
Here’s a quick rundown of how you could do just that!
Eliminating Estate Agents
If you want to eliminate estate agents, you could just advertise your home locally. Of course, in a world where most people’s first resort is Zoopla or Rightmove, you may struggle if you don’t advertise online. As a result, it could pay to use an online-only agent that simply lists your properties on those sites, and they typically start at around £100 to £200. You cannot directly upload properties to Zoopla or Rightmove, as that requires a long-term subscription, and you would end up paying substantially more (£500 per month or so) for those subscriptions.
Regardless, if you do decide to advertise your house in the local papers then the first thing you’ll need to do is to tidy your home extensively, and then take well-lit photos of each room. It’s a good idea to open the curtains and have all the lights on when you take these photos, and position yourself in a suitable corner so that you get the widest possible angle. Don’t forget to include the garden, the front of the house and the back of the house. If you have any outbuildings, include those.
Next, arrange for an energy performance certificate. If the property has had an EPC assessment in the past 10 years, you can reuse the EPC, but otherwise you will have to spend between £50 and £120 to get a new one. An energy specialist will come into the house, take a load of measurements and produce the certificate.
Finally, talk price. This can be a sticking point, of course, as you want to maximise your price, and the buyer wants to minimise it. Choose a price that is 10% above the actual value, as it gives you an opportunity to reduce it as necessary.
You will also have to include a contact number so that people can talk to you regarding viewings. Naturally, if you miss one, you could lose a potential sale, so it’s essential that people can contact you at almost any time of the day. Don’t forget that you will have to show them around at a time that’s convenient for them and then follow up on any offers.
Once you have accepted an offer, you next move onto the legal side.
Now, we could cheat a little and say instruct a conveyancer, as they are not technically solicitors. However, we’ve made the assumption that you want to lower your costs as much as possible, and conveyancers are definitely not free. So, here’s what you need to do.
First, you need get your title deeds from the Land Registry. These are the documents that tell you what you own and all the conditions that affect the property. Then, you need to fill out forms TA6, TA10 and TA13 and create a contract of sale. If you have a mortgage, you need to create a settlement figure and then organise the final accounts, prepare the final settlement and pay off the remainder of the mortgage. You’ll also have to receive the house deposit, approve the deed of transfer, handover the deeds and finally send the outstanding balance to the account of your choice.
Here’s the sticking point, though: Many solicitors will not deal with a seller who doesn’t have legal representation. This is because the solicitor cannot automatically trust the documentation as there are no guarantees backing it and no insurance, and it results in extra work for them. It also means that you are personally liable for any mistakes within the documentation, and again, you don’t have any insurance backing you up. Finally, you may not be able to handle the mortgage agreement on your own, as a lot of mortgage providers require an undertaking to be created – this is a formal agreement between legal professionals to pay off the mortgage using the proceeds.
Now, we absolutely understand why you want to eliminate estate agents and solicitors from the house-buying process, as all that commission can add up toa lot. However, if you really want to save money but still have the convenience of support when you need it, use a hybrid estate agent with a fixed fee, and use a conveyancer to cover yourself. If you do everything by yourself, it’s possible that you could end up in a serious legal tangle.