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How to Save Money Selling Your House with Online Estate Agents

By Guest Author | February 7, 2012

Buying a house is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make. Unfortunately, selling a house doesn’t come cheap either.

On top of the obvious costs such as estate agent fees and solicitor fees, there are numerous hidden costs that many people often disregard or, worse, don’t even realise they’re paying.

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(Image by Images_of_Money)

The Main Costs of Selling a House

The first costs that come to mind when you think of selling your house are, unsurprisingly, the most expensive. You can expect to pay an estate agent a percentage of your sale price so in other words, the more your house sells for, the more you pay. We also suggest taking  online accounting classes to help catch the hidden costs that most would overlook.

Lawyers on the other hand tend to offer a fixed fee charge but be wary of believing the first cost they tell you and always read the small print – I have personal experience of a solicitor’s bill mysteriously increasing from a “guaranteed fixed fee of £650” to £3000 by the time of completion!

If the sale falls through you will still have to pay the solicitor fees for work done - and usually 1-2% of the property’s value in estate agent fees too.

The Hidden Costs of Selling a House

However don’t be fooled into thinking that these are the only costs you’ll pay. It can take months to sell your house and all of that is time that you are still paying a mortgage and utility bills, a particularly important cost to take into account if you are no longer living in the property.

You may also need to spend money carrying out some basic home improvements to ensure you get the best sale price possible.

Add on other factors such as the cost of hiring a removal van, a legally required Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and possibly also storage space to keep your belongings if selling your house and buying a new one aren’t perfectly timed, and you’ll find you have quite a hefty bill on your hands.

How to Reduce the Cost of Selling a House

If you’re very brave, you can opt for the private sale route and bypass estate agent fees. Use word-of-mouth to let people know that you want to sell your house and advertise in your local paper and online – each advert will usually cost you under £100, considerably less than your local estate agent’s fees.

However, there are downsides to selling your house privately, especially if you want to sell a house quickly as it can take longer to find a buyer.

Technically, you can also sort out the legal side of moving yourself but not only is this the most labour-intensive task involved in selling a house, it can also be very costly if you make a mistake.

Unless you really know what you’re doing I would recommend asking around and getting a few solicitor quotes.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to haggle and play them off against each other to get the cheapest price possible.

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(Image by ElvertBarnes Flickr)

An Alternative to the High Street?

If you want to save money selling your house, but don’t want the stress and hassle of a fully private sale, why not try using the internet to sell your house?

With fewer overheads to pay, online estate agents can afford to offer much cheaper rates and in today’s technology-addicted society more and more buyers are searching for houses online, rather than in their local estate agent’s window.

Your property in front of the literally tens of millions of users who visit major property websites – that’s far more than will be reading your local newspaper advert!

It's also a very low-cost solution compared to selling through a traditional, brick-and-mortar estate agents.

Have you had an experience of selling your house privately or online? Which do you think is best?

Estelle Puleston is a property blogger specialising in informing potential online buyers and sellers on key industry topics such as "how to sell my house online?" and "how to choose an online estate agents"

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