Selling a house privately in Ireland-is for sale by owner a good way to sell your house?

Are you tempted to sell your house privately, cutting out the estate agent and taking the ‘for sale by owner route’?

I think I have only had one such sale in the last 5 years, but it went surprisingly smoothly. And with a considerable saving for the vendor for the thousands that might have gone to an estate agent were kept by my client, the vendor.

And I sold our first business, which included a commercial/residential property back in 1989 myself.

I achieved a good price, too. In fact, at a price far more than what a top auctioneer had valued the property at the time.

However, I still would not advise this route, to be frank. But the two sales I refer to above showed me that it is possible in certain circumstances.

If memory serves me right, I believe my client advertised the house for sale on Facebook and obtained his buyer that way.

Once there was agreement about the price and any contents my client approached me and let me have the names and solicitor details of the purchaser.

I drew up contracts in the usual way and issued them to the purchasers’ solicitors. The whole transaction went extremely smoothly with no hitches.

An estate agent might argue that my client may not have obtained the best price for the house and he or she would have done better, more than offsetting the additional cost.

But my client, due to personal circumstances, needed a quick sale and the speed of the transaction may have been of more significance than obtaining the best price which may have taken more time.

Once my client, the vendor, has obtained a client all other matters will be dealt with by and through the solicitors. The estate agent’s main purpose is to obtain a buyer at an acceptable price. Once this is done the deal can be progressed to finality.

Why I advise getting an estate agent

Some of the reasons why I would advise against trying to sell yourself and doing without the services of an estate agent include the danger of you taking any criticism of the property personally and jeopardising a deal.

An estate agent will have seen it all before and will recognise, if such be the case, that the criticism may be a tactical negotiation ploy. You, on the other hand, may take it to heart, especially if it is a property into which you have poured your heart and soul, not to mention money, over the years.

The estate agent may also act as a useful go-between if any issues arise as the transaction progresses. The estate agent will have seen most disputes arise before and should be able to recognise which are deal breaking issues and which are trivial and can be sorted out quickly and easily.

The private owner will not have this experience and may make a hasty decision or react in a way which will scupper the deal.

Having said that the property owner can always stay cool and ask the purchaser to communicate any requests or queries through their solicitor.

The estate agent will also be able to weed out serious interested parties from the tyre kickers and those individuals who are not able to buy right now and are merely looking at properties to obtain some good research and see what is out there.

Finally, there is the question of stress. Selling your house is a stressful activity, especially if you have not done it before.

In fact, moving house is one of the most stressful things you will do in your life. If you throw on top of this the task of selling it and showing it to potential buyers and dealing with queries, questions, negotiations, etc. the stress levels will not be long in rising to unhealthy levels.

The estate agent’s job is to sell houses and he/she will be doing this on a frequent basis with much less stress. In any case, it comes with the territory and is part of the reason why you are paying the auctioneer’s sales fee.


You can certainly sell your own home yourself. But I would advise getting an auctioneer/estate agent if you want to get the best price and have the benefit of his/her experience from selling hundreds or thousands of properties down through the years.