Selling real estate privately – procedure & risks

Selling property privately – There are various reasons for selling a house. A professional move, a change in your family situation such as a divorce, the move to a larger property or the financially necessary sale are among the most common reasons when a house should change hands.

In most cases, the house sale should go quickly and be realized without a long waiting period. When selling privately, you as the owner are heavily burdened as you have to do all the tasks yourself before and during each stage. Nevertheless, selling a house privately is quite possible, provided you take all the steps in the right order and are aware that you will have to invest a lot of time in the coming weeks or months in discussions with prospective buyers and in viewings.

Sales prices for private sale

Private sales often fetch a lower selling price than home sales through realtors!

Before you decide to sell your home without an agent, we would like to point out that there are immense errors in the offer pricing process. Have your property professionally appraised and don’t set the price until you know the fair market value of the home. This means that you will have to hire an appraiser and pay for the valuation. This incurs costs averaging 1,000 euros, causing some owners to forgo the important basis for determining the price.

Risks of private mediation

Subjectively valuing your home carries the risk that you will either price it too high or too low. A price that is too high will limit the interest of potential buyers, while one that is too low will result in losses. Generally speaking, homes sold privately tend to sell for less than professionally brokered properties. This fact is based, among other things, on the negotiating skills that are inherent in the profession and experience of real estate agents. If you as the owner want to sell quickly, the risk of selling the house below its actual value increases. Be aware of this fact and exclude it by orienting the price to the market value and have this determined by an expert.

Facts about preparation and sales processing

Before every house sale, the necessary documents must be obtained. You will need an extract from the land register, the energy certificate, a valuation, floor plans, proof of any land charge or proof that the property is not encumbered. Furthermore, the site plan and development plan, evidence of renovation and maintenance work carried out must be available. For the preparation of an exposé, you need pictures that present the property from its best side and thus promote interest. All descriptions must correspond to the truth, be meaningful and also include any defects.

Organisational matters: accessibility, documents

After publishing the exposé, you should check your availability by e-mail and telephone, as prospective buyers expect a prompt response and often an immediate viewing appointment. Be prepared for the fact that you will receive a particularly large number of enquiries in the evening and at weekends and should be available accordingly. The timing of viewings requires good organisation, as the appointments must harmonise with your everyday life and with the time possibilities of potential buyers.

If the intention to sell becomes serious, you will need documents from the interested party regarding creditworthiness and income, as well as confirmation that financing is guaranteed. The examination of these documents requires experience and must exclude that there are ultimately problems shortly before the signing of the contract, for example due to an unsecured financing. Only with a lot of time and attention can you sell a house from private without learning the pitfalls and forgetting important factors.

Objective valuation as a basis for private house sales

As an owner, you always have an emotional connection to your home. This means that an objective assessment of the selling price is very difficult or even impossible. There are memories in your property that lead to an overvaluation or a price below the real value, depending on the orientation.

Only if you base the offer price on the professionally determined market value can you really sell objectively and leave subjective feelings out of it. Most prospective buyers enter into a price negotiation with the seller. This is when mental toughness and negotiation skills become significant. You have determined the price, relying on fair market value. Now your negotiating skills are in demand if you do not want to undercut the price set for the property and achieve disadvantages along the way.

More information about selling a house:


There are various reasons that make you think about selling a property. Many of our clients already own their own house or condo when they inherit their parents’ home and don’t know what to do with the inheritance now. Are you facing this question or have another reason for selling your house? Our professional online real estate agents will assist you and help to get the best price for the property and not put a long wait on the agenda in the course of the sale. While you can sell privately if you are the sole owner, a house or apartment owned by a community of heirs presents greater challenges.

Tasks of a broker

Basically, a real estate agent fulfils all tasks that are important before and during the sales and rental phase. He creates an exposé, determines the market value of your property, advertises your property and is then the interface between you and interested parties. While the creation and publication of an advertisement is a time-consuming but unique task, answering customer enquiries is part of the daily business of an estate agent.

  • Here you can find more information about the tasks of a broker.

Commission for the broker – The most important regulations

More than 80 percent of all properties for sale or rent are brokered. This means that the owner commissions a real estate agent to advertise the offer and to carry out all tasks up to the conclusion of the contract on his behalf. Professional brokerage is a service that is agreed between the client and the real estate agent. After the service has been rendered, a commission, the so-called brokerage fee, is due. Who pays the commission depends on the type of commission and the reason for the commission. If you sell your property through an estate agent, the buyer usually pays. In the case of lettings, the buyer principle has applied since 2015, so that the invoice recipient and commission payer is identical to the person who has commissioned a brokerage service.

  • Here you can find more information about the broker commission.