Why DIY valuations and selling can be a disaster!

From Colin Shairp
Proprietor, Town and Country Southern, Drayton

It’s easy selling houses, or at least that’s what some organisations would have you believe.

Do it yourself and you can potentially save thousands of pounds on estate agents’ fees, they say.

I can’t dispute that, of course, because maybe you could. But I could show you how you could lose many thousands more because you sold your house at the wrong price.

One of the big problems home owners face is how to put a fair valuation on their property before they market it.

People who decide to sell their home themselves may get estate agents round to value it before showing them the door and using the information to market the house online through one of the new introducer sites the Government and some consumer bodies are keen to promote. Other owners may take to a website to see what their house is worth.

But there’s a risk in that latter course of action. Just recently, we sold a house in around a month from being instructed to completing the deal. It sold for £42,655 more than a popular website’s suggested valuation for that road.

It sold quickly because we were able to find the right buyer to suit the property. There’s always a risk that some sellers think you have undersold if the property moves quickly but the reverse is most likely true – it was pitched at the value that the market found to be right.

We also sold a house within one day of setting its value in September – or at least we thought we had. Suddenly, the chain fell apart in November, leaving a very disappointed seller.

But the next day, we found a new buyer and the deal has now completed – that’s just two days of marketing and two buyers found. In that case, it sold for £30,130 more than the online suggested value.

It shows that, contrary to popular mythology, estate agents are not all sharks, but this public misconception is as much the fault of agents as it is anyone else. I know some estate agents I would never deal with, but many of my industry colleagues are hard-working and professional.

The best bit of DIY you can get involved in when selling your house, apart from some timely cleaning and decorating, is researching among friends and neighbours to find which agents have served them well.

Then forget all that self-valuation nonsense, and get recommended agents to appraise your house and start work. Choose wisely, and it will pay dividends.