Selling a home

Selling a property: can I sell my home without an estate agent?

Source: iStock / sturti

It is up to you whether you sell your property yourself or instruct an estate agent. The “do-it-yourself” route can be challenging. However, it can be worth it for homeowners who are very disciplined and know the industry well.

The majority of homeowners instruct an estate agent to sell their property.

A good third attempt to achieve the sale themselves. However, once they realize the scale of the challenge involved, some change their mind and seek out the expertise of a professional estate agent instead. Ultimately, only a few homeowners successfully sell their property on their own.

What does it mean to sell a property privately?

When you sell a property yourself, you are responsible for the entire process from start to finish, including:

  • Setting a price
  • Preparing the home for sale
  • Marketing the home
  • Negotiating a price
  • Preparing the necessary documents
  • Closing the sale

Advantages of selling a property privately

1. You avoid paying estate agent fees

The most common reason for selling a home privately is to avoid paying the commission, or fees, required by the estate agent based on the final selling price of the property. This commission comprises on average 2-3% of the selling price and is usually paid by the seller from the proceeds of the sale.

2. You have full control of the asking price

Without an estate agent, you are free to set the asking price yourself. Consider your home as an investment and compare it with similar properties in your area. You could also hire a professional appraiser for around 800 to 1,000 francs. They will provide you with a genuine and realistic market value for your property. Tip: you can obtain an initial estimate of the value of your property online on the Comparis website.

3. You can choose when to hold viewings and open houses

Having to leave your home for last-minute viewings and all-day open houses can be hard work, not to mention keeping the place clean at all times. However, if you can manage it, you can at least decide yourself when you want to show people your home. You don't have to wait for your estate agent to be available to handle viewings with potential buyers.

4. You're in charge of marketing your home

You invest more time and energy in getting the presentation of your home just right. Private sellers can advertise online (79% of buyers say they search the web), including at and other sites like or Don't forget to produce professional photos and print advertising, including professional sales documentation. Bear in mind the financial means of potential buyers. Can they actually afford the property? Have they already spoken to a bank and secured a mortgage? Or are the people viewing your home just time-wasters?

5. You are an expert on the local area

Not only can you tell potential buyers about your house, you can also let them know what it's like to live in your area. After all, you know your neighbours better than anyone. Being able to share this information can be a major selling point for buyers.

A word of warning

It can be hard for private sellers to detach themselves emotionally from their home and concentrate on the selling process. If you want to sell your property yourself, it is extremely important to be objective and to accept feedback from potential buyers. Decide in advance what price you will accept and what concessions you are prepared to make. This can help make the negotiations more rational and less emotional.

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Advantages of appointing an estate agent

1. Estate agents know how to determine a fair market value and produce a sound pricing strategy

An experienced local estate agent should already know what a house in your area is worth and what price will lure potential buyers through the door. The agent can help you strike the right balance between making as much money as possible from the sale and ensuring the deal is attractive to a broad range of buyers.

2. Estate agents are objective marketing experts

Good estate agents have in-depth knowledge of your local market and want to show your home in its best light. They also have links with professional and amateur photographers who can work as a team to highlight the features that local buyers are looking for.

3. Estate agents can tap into extensive market opportunities

With access to online property portals and professional networks, a social media presence, links with other estate agents and a high degree of recognition, your estate agent can steer attention towards your property and attract many potential buyers. Good agents are also in contact with local banks and their property valuers.

4. Estate agents are professional negotiators

Experienced estate agents can identify serious buyers and get them to make their best offers. This eliminates the laborious task of you having to call and negotiate with less motivated buyers. You can let them sift out the time-wasters. Estate agents are ideally acquainted with the selling process and your local market and can recommend appropriate counter-offers. In addition, estate agents only receive payment once they have sold your property.

5. Estate agents are familiar with the necessary paperwork

The sale of a property involves a good deal of paperwork . Without an estate agent to help, sellers must take on the task of completing this paperwork themselves. Experienced property professionals are experts in the buying and selling process and the associated legal jargon.

A word of warning

If you do decide to appoint an estate agent, you are unlikely to be their only customer. Make sure your estate agent understands your reason for selling and your timescale. Be clear on your communication preferences and let the agent know how involved they should be. You will be paying them commission from the proceeds of your sale. It is therefore important that you are satisfied with the level of service provided.

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