In the future - Alternatives to estate agents Doing it yourself

If you decide to sell your property yourself, the heaviest cost you will have to bear is advertising. For the reasons given above, it's a good idea to put up your own 'For Sale' board, and then you must decide where to advertise.

You could even start off with the newsagents' windows, but apart from this you will have, generally speaking, three alternatives: a local paper, a national paper and specialist papers (such as Dalton's Weekly, Home finder, etc.).

When you advertise in a newspaper it's a better idea to do so on a day when there are a large number of property advertisements, where yours will be sandwiched between scores of others, than it is to choose one where you'll make a splash by being the only property ad in the whole issue.

You can be surer of getting the right readership that way -and if people are looking for houses they will read it, however small (within limits).

Unless you have an exceptionally lovely and unusual house, there's no need to worry about the length of the advertisement: as long as it states the essentials clearly, that should be sufficient. The essentials are, obviously, location of the property; number of rooms; age (roughly) of the property; whether it has a garden; number of loos, bathrooms, etc.; and length of lease if it's a flat.

A couple of descriptive phrases such as 'large, well-stocked garden' or '20 ft reception' will help. Don't forget the price. Decide by comparing your house with what local estate agents are asking for similar properties.

Apart from the advertising, the other thing you will have to do is to arrange some deposit equivalent to the deposit that estate agents accept from buyers as a sign of good faith.

Don't expect the buyer to be happy about handing the money directly over to you; you could ask for it to go to be held by your solicitor, if you're using one, or you could open a joint bank account with the buyer.

In the future - Sole Agency

A sole agency seems the most sensible way of selling your house if you decide to use an estate agent. You should make clear to the agent, however, that you are not awarding them sole selling rights. If you did, this would mean that if you finally arranged a private sale, you'd still have to pay the agent's fees.

Other aspects to make clear with the agent are who pays for what in the selling process: the Tor Sale' board outside your door, for example, and any advertising. The normal practice seems to be that the board comes as part of the package, as does any small advertising suggested by the agent themselves. If you ask them to advertise the property, however, or large advertisements are proposed, they . . .... see: In the future - Sole Agency

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