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Selling Property Privately


Some vendors try a private property sale before instructing an estate agent; putting up a For Sale board and testing local interest in their property to get the buyers through the door themselves. This is called a "private property sale" or "for Sale by owner".


A private house sale is not for everyone. But if a property owner is happy to deal with buyers directly, give the viewers a guided tour of their home, agree a selling price and exchange solicitor details; then it is possible to sell property privately and potentially save thousands of pounds on Estate Agent commission fees.


What do I do when a viewer makes an offer to buy my house privately?

When you receive an offer to buy your home, ask the buyer to put their offer in writing and then put them in touch with your conveyancing solicitor so that the contract can be drawn up and the legal process of property conveyancing can begin.


For Sale by owner

FSO or for Sale by owner can be selling your home privately without an Estate Agent - with your own advertising and a private property sale board in your garden. The problem with a home-made FOR SALE board sign is that it relies on passers by and without internet advertising may not reach a very wide audience. Also the potential viewers have little information until they arrange a viewing. This will inevitably mean a number of viewers trailing through your home that would have not viewed if they had received more facts about the property details. The solution would be to detail the property on a private property web site and have the web site address and property reference number detailed on the For Sale board.


What's the main difference with a private house sale?

You won't have an Estate Agent to negotiate the price, or chase things up - but if you maintain a good relationship with the buyer and keep in touch, you can allow your Conveyancing solicitor to deal with most aspects of the sale. 


How do I advertise my property privately for sale?

The internet is increasingly the preferred method for buyers to search for property in the comfort of their own homes. 70% of buyers search for property on the internet. 60% of households have internet access. However, be aware that currently Rightmove and most of the larger property portals will not advertise a 'private property sale' either directly or via private property sale websites. They will only deal with property marketed by Estate Agents who are registered with the NAEA and have more legal restrictions to their property marketing and abide by the Estate Agents Act and regulations put in place by the Office of Fair Trading.


To sell property privately you could advertise your property privately with a dedicated websites for private property sellers such as Houseweb. or The Little House Company. They can provide a for sale board, free property selling guides and additional inclusive online advertising.


Advertising your property for sale in online classified ads such as Gumtree and ebay is also possible. Newspaper classified sections will also cover private property adverts but this can be expensive.


It's important to be careful when searching for advertising options online for your private property sale. The lines have become a little blurred and previous private property advertisiers, such as My Property for Sale, have changed over to become an online estate agent, fully signed up to the NAEA and the Property ombudsman, they charge significantly more but do offer all of the usual Estate Agent services at a cheaper flat rate.


There is a fine line between the definition of an "Estate Agent" and private property sale websites which may also fall under the definition of "Estate Agent" if they provide a for sale board and take calls or liaise with potential property buyers on your behalf. As such there are now many "online estate agents", who offer an excellent service.


After advertising privately for 4 weeks, if you do not go under offer, you would be well advised to aim for maximum potential home buyer interest and ensure that your property is marketed on the biggest property portals such as Rightmove, Find a Property, Zoopla and Primelocation. To do this you would require an Estate Agent or an Online Estate Agent to market your property for you.


A clear alternative to expensive high street agents and cheap private property advertising would be to instruct an online estate agent such as or House simple who can advertise your property on Rightmove and the major property portals. They do not have high street offices but do offer a full estate agency service including photography, floor plans, booking viewings, negotiating offers on your behalf and full buyer liaison. They don't conduct viewings. Set fees instead of percentages can potentially save vendors thousands of pounds in agents' fees.


Online Estate Agent discount code:

Use promotional code GUNYOMLLDM at for a 5% discount on services. 


If you are already with an Estate Agent and wish to advertise your property privately in addition then you need to check your Estate Agent's contract carefully for possible clauses. In particular look out for the following:


Private property sale when in a "sole agent contract"


You cannot usually add a second Agent to market your home or put up another For Sale board in addition to the Agent's board without incurring additional fees at sale, but you can take out an online web advert and deal with viewers personally who contact you directly from this advertising.


If your contract was a 'Sole Agent contract' then according to the Government's Office of Fair Trading, you can sell your property privately and not have to pay the Estate Agent's commission. Although you may have to pay for the property board or newspaper advertising fees incurred to date, if you do sell your own home privately, you could save thousands in Estate Agent commission charges. However, check your Estate Agent's contract and always let them know you intend to advertise privately. It should encourage them to work harder to get the sale and earn the commission. See also 'Estate Agents' contracts' in this Guide.


Estate Agent notice period


When a house fails to sell and the owner wishes to change Estate Agents the Contract usually ties them in for a 2 to 4 weeks notice period before being able to advertise with another Estate Agent. During this time the vendor is restricted from putting up a For Sale board of another Estate Agent. Most Agents abide by this contract clause to stop vendors 'Agent hopping' to change Agent's after all the costly marketing particulars have been produced.

Other articles

Selling property

Getting a mortgage

House survey

EPC costs


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