When it comes to selling your house, it is important to understand what options are available.
You will need to choose the one that makes sense for you and achieves the best possible outcome for your individual situation.
Like any marketplace; cars, holidays, furniture - there are two main sales channels.
They can be called “retail” and “trade”.
The retail market is where owner occupiers buy and sell, mostly using estate agents. These buyers are also likely to use mortgage finance. Properties sold via this channel will likely be advertised on the main portals, Rightmove and Zoopla.
The trade market is where professionals and traders operate and this could be undertaken off market, via auctions or through commercial agents. These buyers are predominantly cash purchasers and typically do not need to involve banks in their transactions. Properties transacted in this space may never appear for sale or be advertised other than in an auction catalogue.
In order to achieve a satisfactory outcome to your sale, you should choose the option that most suits your situation and your property.
If you are not in any kind of hurry to sell, then you should consider retail channels.
Most people opt to sell through an estate agent, and you have the choice of using a traditional High Street agent or an online agent.
Again, you will need to research the options and also check independent third party reviews of any agent you are thinking of working with.
One simple way to choose an agent is to go onto Rightmove and search on property criteria similar to the one you want to sell. Tick the “Include Sold, Under offer” box and then view how many properties of this type have been sold. You will soon see if one agent has a particularly high success rate of selling your type of property in your area.
Once you have selected a potential agent, go onto such third party review sites as AllAgents and RaterAgent and find out what other clients have been saying about their service.
Working with any estate agent will involve fees for selling your property. These are typically around 2% of the sale price plus VAT, although online agents have a variety of less expensive options but do not necessarily get the job done.
Selling a property through the “retail” route could take anything up to 9 months. This is because you and/or your buyer may be in a chain. Retail buyers tend to use bank finance (mortgages), and when finance is involved, the transaction typically takes longer.
If you have an urgency to sell your property, then the retail channel would not be the best route.
You would need to consider the trade channel frequented by cash buyers.
You could put your property into an auction, but there is no guarantee it will sell on the day and there will be costs associated with getting it listed in the auction catalogue.
So, if you are motivated to sell, an option well worth considering is to sell your house fast to a house buying company or to a property trader. You can read more about selling a house fast here.
To sell your property via the retail channel, and appeal to an owner occupier, it would be best if it was free of defects and suitable for mortgaging.
If it has any issues such as short or defective lease, non-standard construction, derelict, Japanese knotweed, or subsidence, then it will likely be unmortgageable and only be able to be sold to a cash buyer.
This may also be the case if the property has been flooded or fire damaged.
Tenanted properties also tend to be sold via the trade channel so that there is minimal tenant disruption.
If your property is in need of refurbishment, you should be prepared to spend some money on improvements and up-grades in order to be able to sell it via the retail channel.
So, from the above, in order to find the best route for sale for your property, you need to understand your situation and the property itself.
As a general summary, if you are in no hurry to sell and your property is in good condition, the estate agent route will achieve you the highest potential price although this route is certain, can be time consuming and there is a risk of the sale falling through for numerous reasons.
However, if you are in a hurry to sell - usually due to such reasons as divorce, death, debt, redundancy, or a probate case, or if a chain breaks down - then selling to a cash buyer would be a sure way to achieve a quick sale of your property.
Additionally, if your property has defects and is unmortgageable, then a cash purchaser could be the best way of achieving a sale.
As with anything, there are pros and cons to each option and you should consider these carefully when making your choice.
It is worth noting that any property sale in Great Britain is not guaranteed until contracts have been exchanged.
It is important to understand this, as a cash buyer can exchange and then complete very quickly to give you that certainty. In some cases, exchange and completion can happen on the same day and within a short time of the offer being accepted. That said, you can decide your moving dates and you have flexibility so that you can plan ahead with certainty and move when you are ready.
As a seller, you must weigh up what is most important to you and be realistic about the price your property can achieve and the time it could take to sell, especially in a slow market like the one we are currently experiencing so far in 2018.
Estate agents will very often talk up the price they can achieve for your property to get your business, and then a few weeks later, when it hasn’t sold, they’ll come back to you and suggest that you lower the price and continue doing so until the property is priced to find a buyer.
Property expert Henry Pryor says that properties attract the most attention within the first 14 days that they are being marketed.
Buying or selling this spring bear in mind that average time to exchange is now 16 weeks with 35% of agreed sales falling through according to the latest conveyancing figures.
So this highlights the certainty that a cash sale brings, and that can be a good enough reason to sell your property with a little bit of a discount to a professional buyer.
Based on the average price of a UK property, it could be illustrated that you would be conceding £11K off the market value for a guaranteed sale to a cash buyer. That seems a small price to pay for complete peace of mind.