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Selling A House; Go Private Or Use An Estate Agent?

Mar 28, 2008
Many people may resent the amount of money they have to pay their estate agent when selling their house. When the salaries of an estate agent are considered, it is unsurprising that some people think them overpaid, especially when the service some offer is substandard. Even if this is true however it is estimated that ninety percent of sellers prefer to use an estate agent rather than sell their property themselves. But what are the benefits of selling privately, will you really gain the savings without suffering in terms of visibility and quantity of buyers.

In terms of cost it is doubtless that you will save money on the selling fees. The large fees of the estate agent may well seem exorbitant but in real terms you will pay for the fees in other ways. It takes a lot of work to sell a house, so before you consider undertaking the process yourself consider the effort you will have to put in to achieve a sale. For many, the time they will have to dedicate to the sale of their house will be marginal.

When it comes to advertising, your estate agent provides a valued service that will be worth the fees alone. The majority of the time the agent will pay the sum needed to advertise the house in the local press and on internet sites. The problem with this is that the seller can lose control of where their house is advertised, however; if a seller wanted to achieve the same exposure as the estate agent the sum of money needed would definitely be large. Added to this the agent will possess high street visibility, especially if they are part of a large corporation. Sellers who underestimate the importance of the shop window are likely to experience a slower selling rate.

The estate agent also performs tasks with the buyers. They can vet buyers who could be considered time wasters in many sellers' eyes, whilst also passing on information on worthy buyers. Some may argue that the personal touch you can achieve by conversing with the buyers yourself is worthwhile but the agent is the professional who has the experience. Many buyers want to hear the facts quickly and efficiently, you may not be able to provide the information how an agent would.

With a ready pool of buyers the estate agent can maximise the chances of gaining the asking price. As they usually have buyers waiting for properties, sometimes in desperation, they can extrapolate the most preferential price from them. If you are selling privately you must first attract buyers to the property and generally work harder to achieve the best price.

When buyers are looking around a property the objective view of the estate agent showing them around can be a clear advantage, the lack of detailed knowledge can be a problem but a good agent will endeavour to find out all he can on any property they are selling. If showing buyers around personally the advantage of detailed knowledge can often be offset by the emotional attachment of the seller.

When feedback is given some estate agents can be slightly withdrawn and not give the best advice to achieve a sale. One advantage of personally selling a house is that feedback will come directly to you; how you choose to use this information is your choice. Your agent will also be your negotiator when it comes to the time of sale, while the experience of selling houses may well be a valuable attribute, the lack of direct control can worry some people.

Overall if selling a house it will usually be worth employing the services of an estate agent. In an ideal world we could all sell our own houses but for many of us finding the time to dedicate to the pursuit of the sale is simply not possible. Moving house is a stressful enough experience as it is, by employing agency services you at least take away one area of concern and instead can focus on finding your dream property.
About the Author
Property expert Thomas Pretty looks into the pros and cons of using an estate agent when selling a house.
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