Key Post A guide to selling your home - reviewer needed

Brendan Burgess

I have limited experience in this area, so this post is a skeleton post. Corrections and contributions welcome

Do I need an auctioneer?
They should know the market better
They should be able to negotiate better on your behalf
They should know some buyers in your area
They should know how to suss out potential buyers to see if they are realistic or not
They should give you advice on the correct pricing
Most auctioneers have access to – private sellers can’t advertise on it

They charge you a fee
Many auctioneers are of very poor quality and are frustrating to deal with
They want the sale at any price so they will encourage you to sell it for the first offer
They may be dishonest and sell it to a friend and not pass on higher bids to you

Prime Time programme on auctioneers
What should I expect from an auctioneer when selling?
Can I give my house to several auctioneers to sell?
Auctioneer messing us around
The estate agent selling my house is messing me around?
Is auctioneer lying to us?
Auctioneer is insisting we accept offer of asking price
Auctioneer ignoring our offer to buy?
Advice for buyers in dealing with auctioneers

Selling directly without an auctioneer
No fee
Dealing directly with a purchaser cuts out a lot of the messing
No pressure to sell at too low a price

You lose all the advantages of using an auctioneer
It takes time showing people through your house
Potential buyers generally don’t like the seller to be present as they feel awkward criticizing the house

Check out this thread:
Selling house myself(without estate agent)
Pros and cons of selling a house privately
Selling my house privately – which websites? Same topic, different thread
Where can I get a for sale sign made and erected?
Websites where you can sell your home directly

Choosing an auctioneer
Look at houses for sale in your area. Which auctioneer has the most boards up?
Pretend to be a buyer and call some auctioneers.
Do they return your calls (in my experience, this is a huge problem.)
Make appointments to see houses – see how they behave
Check the brochures and website
Ask neighbours and friends for their assessment
Invite two or three around to propose. See how they handle it

Some auctioneers will propose an high asking price just to get the business. Once they get the business, they will then suggest a lower price. So don’t choose an auctioneer solely on what they say they will sell the house for.

Assessing the auctioneers proposals
They should submit a written proposal for marketing the house.
Is it realistic?
Do they understand what you want?
Have they any good suggestions?

Negotiate on fees. Ask them when they are proposing, what fee the will charge. Ask if it’s negotiable.
Estate Agent fees
How much do auctioneers charge?

Setting the price
This is very difficult and there are no right answers. It is my opinion, and just an opinion, that it is best to pitch it around 10% higher than you want. Buyers will offer around 20% less than the asking price.

If you want a quick sale, consider setting a low price and asking for offers above this price. In practice though, I think buyers will still offer around 20% less than the asking price.

What’s all this about BER?
Anyone like to write a summary? I know nothing about it.

If I find a buyer directly, do I still have to pay the fee to the auctioneer?
Check the contract with the auctioneer.
If you have a potential buyer in mind before you go to the auctioneer, tell the auctioneer about them and tell them that you will deal directly with that person if they do make an offer.

Sacked estate agent looking for a fee?

Checking on the auctioneer from time to time
Get someone to call the auctioneer about the house and maybe visit it to see how the auctioneer is performing. There are many reports about auctioneers not passing on bids to the seller.

Auctioneer is telling callers that my house is sale agreed, when it isn’t?

Be prepared to show your house at short notice.
If someone knocks at the door, then show them your house. If they are responding to an auctioneer’s sign or ad, then the fee is due to the auctioneer. Tell the auctioneer that you showed them the house.

Obviously, you need to be careful about security if you do show the house yourself.

Getting your house ready for viewing
To be completed – suggestions welcome

What do I do if I am unhappy with the auctioneer?
If it’s a large firm, tell the Director responsible and ask for the agent dealing with your house to be replaced.

But don’t be afraid to dismiss them. You will still have to pay them for advertising. You will also have to give them a fee if someone they showed the house to, buys it subsequently.

Can I bypass the auctioneer and make an offer to the seller directly?

Should I accept the offer?
Buyer has not put their own house on the market yet?

I can’t sell the house
Reduce the price
My house is on the market for one year and there is no sign of it selling
Try a leaflet drop
Help with selling
Apartment won’t sell
Lots of viewings, but no offers?
I need a quick sale?
How to sell my house fast?

What is the legal process?
You agree to sell the house to a buyer at a set price.
The buyer pays a deposit to your solicitor
Your solicitor draws up the contracts for sale and sends them to the buyer’s solicitor.
The buyer should arrange a survey
The buyer returns the signed contracts bringing the deposit up to 10% of the agreed price – up until this stage, the buyer can pull out and get their deposit back without giving any reason.
You sign the contracts and send them back to the buyer – up until this stage you can pull out an return the deposit without giving any reason
You close the sale on a set date around 4 weeks later

Should I use the solicitor I bought the house through, to sell the house?
Solicitor’s fees

Interesting posts on askaboutmoney
Should I keep my old house as an investment?
Can I sell my house below value to save on stamp duty?

Selling a house on cheap tracker. Would the bank settle for less?

Selling your home and buying another

Buyer is trying to pull out after signing contracts
Contracts signed, buyer is trying to pull out

Can I approach the seller of a house directly?

What items are included in a house after its sale?

Costs of selling a house?

How are you getting on trying to sell your house? (March 2010)

Is there a stamp duty clawback if I sell my house within two years of buying?


There's certainly a wealth of information there!

My small contribution regarding price:
This is very difficult and there are no right answers. It is my opinion, and just an opinion, that it is best to pitch it around 10% higher than you want.
I would believe that what the seller wants is irrelevant when setting the price. The price should reflect what the market will bear. It's pointless putting a house up for sale for €500k if all the other houses in the area are going for half this amount.
(This also raises the issue of the future of house prices.)


Frequent Poster
Get good photos.
Get the house ready for the estate agent first viewing so they have a favorable first impression.


Frequent Poster
Getting your house ready for viewing (draft - suggestions welcome)

A. The Exterior

1. Garden

  • Cut and edge lawn and other grassed areas.
 Patch any bald areas.
  • Trim hedges, shrubs & trees removing any dead branches, twigs & debris.
 Weed flower-beds, driveway, footpath, patio
  • Clean up gravelled / mulched beds
2. Deck, Patio, Driveway, Porche, Garage, Shed & Fences

  • Power-wash driveway, footpath, patio

  • Patch holes & cracks.

  • Remove stains.

  • Replace any broken areas.

  • Paint and/or stain fences & decks.

  • Arrange outdoor furniture neatly.

  • Put away all lawn equipment, bikes & toys.
3. House

  • Inspect all exterior elements: gutters, down-pipes, drains, windows, window sills, etc .
  • Clean, paint, and/or replace as needed.

  • Replace any broken windows, doors, etc.
  • Make sure they all work properly.

  • Clean windows, porch, patio doors / french windows thoroughly. This helps brighten the inside.

  • Roof & Chimneys: Inspect for missing/ damaged tiles & flashings. Make any necessary repairs.

  • Ensure doorbells, exterior lights, etc. work
B. Interior

1. Whole House

  • Clean windows inside & out.

  • Clean curtains, drapes, & blinds.

  • Clean carpets. If pet stains exist replace carpet & underlay.

  • Clean, wax & polish wooden floors.

  • Clean vinyl, laminate & tiled floors.

  • Clean, polish, paint/stain door trim, skirting, dado & picture rails.

  • Be sure to remove pet & smoke smells when cleaning. (Hint get someone else to check this as your nose will be “immune” to smells in your own house)
 Freshly paint using muted, neutral colours.
  • Repair damage to walls & ceilings. (holes, cracks, & water stains.) Repaint after repair.

  • Clean all lamp shades & covers.

  • Replace blown bulbs.
2. Wardrobes / Built-in Presses

  • Remove out of season clothing
  • Leave as little as possible hanging.
 Add extra, empty hangers (gives the impression of extra space)

  • Neatly arrange items on shelving.
 Leave extra space on shelves (gives the impression of extra space)
3. Pay Attention to the Little Things

  • Tighten loose door knobs & other door furniture.

  • Fix any leaky taps.

  • Tighten loose towel rails.

  • Lubricate squeaky doors or drawers.

  • Arrange furniture to give an open feel. If possible and practical, remove any unnecessary or oversized furniture.

  • Make sure all switches & power outlets are clean & working properly.

  • Consider fresh flowers strategically placed.

  • Make sure windows and doors open & close without squeaks.
4. Kitchen & Baths

  • Thoroughly clean all counter tops, appliances, mirrors, ovens, sinks, toilets, baths, & showers, including the walls.

  • Store small kitchen appliances to open up counter space.

  • Store all personal care items neatly.

  • Clean extractor hoods & fans.

  • Remove rust stains.

  • New knobs on drawers & cabinets make a difference.

  • Clean & organize drawers, cabinets, airing cupboard / linen closet.

  • Clean all tile grout & seals.
5. Garage, Utility, Attic, & Storage Areas

  • Dispose of everything you are not going to move.

  • Arrange items neatly & clutter free.

  • Consider painting walls & ceilings white.

  • Remove stains & dirt from floor.

  • Paint un-tiled concrete floors with grey floor-paint.

  • Organize garden tools & equipment.

  • Wipe off dirt/cob webs from central heating boiler, washer, dryer, dish-washer.
  • Ensure central heating timer & controls, rad-controls & room-stats work


Frequent Poster
No problem, glad to help.

This is something I looked for elsewhere, but couldn't find. If it's excess to requirements, it can be deleted, otherwise feedback, deletions, additions or suggestions are welcome.

Conducting Viewings of Your House without an Estate Agent (draft - suggestions welcome)

When showing your house to potential buyers, always bear in mind that something has already attracted them to arrange a viewing, so the “selling” has already been partially successful.

The merely technical facts about the house are important, but to an extent, they are fixed e.g. Size, layout, number of floors and rooms, location and price. What you need to do now is to engage the buyer emotionally with your property. For a home-buyer, as distinct from an investor, the decision to buy is influenced at least as much by emotion as by logic.

1. The Preparation

It’s trite, but you get one opportunity to create a first impression; don’t blow it.

  • Empty all waste-paper baskets, indoor rubbish or recycling bins
  • Ensure there are clean towels in the bathrooms, as well as soap and toilet-paper
  • Collect dirty laundry and deposit in laundry basket / utility
  • Clear sinks and draining boards in the kitchen / utility of dishes & pots
  • Plump up all cushions and artfully drape throws
  • If you have carpets, finish by vacuuming them in one direction only; this will leave them looking more luxurious and less “patchy”
  • Lay out clean tea-towels, oven-gloves, etc in the kitchen
  • Lay out a few mugs, milk and sugar with a plate of biscuits / buns on the kitchen / dining-room table
  • Put the coffee on to percolate (ahh! that smell)
  • Leave out a copy of the sales brochure, pens and a few sheets of blank paper for the buyer to jot down notes / questions during or after the viewing
  • Open all the internal doors
  • Turn off TVs, computers, games consoles, etc.
  • If necessary, turn on all the lights in the house
  • If your attic or basement stairs are steep ensure there are prominent signs cautioning buyers
  • Gather all sensitive materials (cheque books, diaries, bank statements, cash, medicines, etc) and lock them in a secure container / safe
  • Farm out pets, children, spouse, in-laws for the duration of the viewing. Consider offering rewards if they stay farmed-out.
2. The Welcome

Although the buyer is a guest at this stage, you want him to imagine living here and owning the home. You want to help the buyer to literally feel at home.

  • Greet your viewer at the hall-door and make sure they are who you are expecting
  • Don't expect the buyer to remove her shoes, unless religious or cultural reasons mandate it
  • Take the buyer to the kitchen / dining-room, show them the stuff you’ve laid out and invite them to help themselves
  • Leave the house. The buyer won't talk about the house in front of you or open cup-board doors or drawers with you standing there
  • Don't pressure or hurry the buyer, tell them to take all the time they need
  • Leave the buyer to his own devices and sit in the garden, weather permitting of course, or in the car
  • Give the buyer your mobile phone number and ask them to ring you with any questions or when they want to meet up at the end of the viewing
3. The Temperature

  • You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give the buyer an excuse to linger in the house, to feel comfortably at home, especially on hot or cold days
  • Now is not the time to worry about your heating bills. If it's cold enough to wear a jumper indoors, don’t, turn the heating up instead. You don’t want the buyer worrying that they may be buying a poorly insulated or heated house
  • If it's warm outside, turn on the air conditioning or open windows.
4. The Mood

  • Consider lighting welcoming log-fires, weather permitting
  • Turn on any “mood” lights and consider dimming or extinguishing the main lights in that area - the buyer can always turn them on if they wish
  • Be careful with mood music, remember it’ll be your choice and may not be to the buyer’s taste, nor do you want to create the impression they are in a generic hotel / supermarket listening to piped “muzak”
5. The Scents

  • Many people are allergic to certain scents and deodorizers, so don't spray the air or plug-in electric air-fresheners
  • Don't burn candles or spray perfumes - remember these will be your choices, but may not impress the buyer
  • A clean, warm, neutral-smelling, well-aired house will be attractive to buyers; one that is artificially perfumed may create the impression that scent-wise you have something to hide
6. The Feedback / Review

  • Once the buyer has finished the viewing, try to sit down in the kitchen / dining-room and relax over a cup of tea / coffee with them. Emphasise that your time is theirs and you want them to leave the viewing feeling that their time and effort have been invested well.
  • Ask if they have any questions. Answer all questions directly and honestly. If you don’t have ready answers, say that. Write down the questions together with their name and number and commit to ringing back with the answers
  • If a question is more easily answered in the room or area of the house it relates to, ask if they would accompany you to that area and answer the question there. Ask if your answer / demonstration is clear.
The Offer (?) Useful here or included elsewhere?

The Departure (?) Seems a bit too obvious to me and maybe insulting. Useful here or included elsewhere?


Frequent Poster
would you have to have had the boiler serviced, chimney cleaned, security system serviced???? Or at what stage in a sale do you need to do this if at all??


Frequent Poster
Wonderful advice and hints here. Two complaints I most often hear people saying they're put off by are cigarette smoke and the smell of dogs/cats. Amazing how difficult it is to convince home owners of this.