Although it isn’t an especially common circumstance, occasionally, homeowners find themselves in a position whereby a friend or family member would like to buy their home. The process of selling a property can prove incredibly complex and stressful - particularly when considering the additional parties involved (estate agents, solicitors etc.) And so selling directly to a friend can be incredibly appealing. This method of selling is one that homeowners tend to find much more convenient and straightforward for all involved.  

In this article, we’ll outline the various advantages and disadvantages of selling your home privately to someone you know, and how best to do this.  

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Can I sell my house to a friend or family member? 

To put it simply, yes you can. Taking the private route and selling to a family member, friend or even an acquaintance can prove a profitable way forward for a whole host of different reasons. More often than not, the sale is much more straightforward than it would otherwise be and the likelihood of running into any unexpected issues is drastically minimised. There’s also a huge opportunity to save money on pricey estate agent fees, as well as reducing the time spent arranging viewings, finding a good prospective buyer, vetting those buyers and of course, negotiating a deal. You may also find that your friend is already familiar with the property and all of its positives, resulting in a much smoother selling process. All of this combined can help homeowners sell their home super quickly and easily. 

What is the appeal of selling your home to a friend? 

There are a whole host of different reasons why a homeowner may wish to sell house to friend. It may be that they are looking for a quick, stress-free sale and it just so happens that their friend is looking for somewhere to buy. This ideal situation is advantageous to both parties, effectively minimising the length of the process and cutting out a lot of the ‘middle men.’ One of the best things about selling to a friend is that all the negotiating can be done directly, and there aren’t any question marks as to whether or not the buyer is serious or not. When selling to a friend, homeowners tend to feel much more comfortable with their buyer, and don’t experience feelings of apprehension when it comes to the prospect of the sale falling through or the buyer not being as serious as they claim to be.  

When selling your home to someone that you know, you may even be inclined to agree on a price slightly below the market value as you have been able to alleviate a lot of the legal fees you would otherwise have to fork out for. This flexibility is sure to please your buyer and again, help establish a prosperous deal in the smallest possible timeframe. 

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Why not to sell your home to a friend 

While there are many positives when it comes to selling your home to a friend, there are of course exceptions whereby it isn’t quite the right decision. Before jumping in head first, consider the potential drawbacks you face by taking this route. Above all else, entering into a house sale with a friend raises the risk of a damaged friendship, should anything go wrong. Relationships with friends and family members can become strained and even irreparably damaged as a result of property disagreements, particularly if the sale eventually falls through. So, before you enter into any kind of agreement or arrangement with your friend, speak with them on a friendly level first and make doubly sure that their intentions are transparent. You want things to go as smoothly as possible and to minimise the risk of things going wrong later on down the line. 

Another stumbling block may occur if your friend is not able or willing to fund the actual property market value of your home. This could leave you torn between selling your home to your friend and potentially losing money, or selling to a stronger buyer and reaping the profits from this. In an ideal world, you would of course sell your home to your friend, but if the monetary difference is considerable, the alternative option may leave you with no choice but to reject your friend’s offer, which could of course result in an irreparable rift.

How to sell your house to a friend 

1. Get a valuation 

Before agreeing on your home’s sale price with your friend, it’s important that you are aware of the current market value of your property to help ensure that both parties are placed in a fair situation. You can do this by employing an estate agent or surveyor to carry out a professional valuation. 

2. Agree on a price 

Once you are aware of how much your property is worth, you can begin to negotiate a sale price with your friend. At this point, it’s important that you’re transparent with what will and won’t be included in the sale of your home - for instance any fixtures and fittings. Communicate any conditions the buyer must meet before the deal can proceed, too. Whether or not you sell the home for its true market value or you offer your friend a preferential rate is entirely your decision. 

3. Hire a solicitor 

Although you may have chosen to sell your home privately, enlisting the help of a solicitor to handle the legal side of things is imperative. As well as managing the legalities, your solicitor will ensure that ownership of the property is transferred correctly from you to your friend. Your solicitor will also work to draw up the contract and ensure that all necessary searches and checks are performed as they should be. 

4. Organise a survey 

Before the sale of your home is finalised, your friend may wish to employ a surveyor to check over the property and highlight any issues they need to know about before the sale is finalised. This is something that you should actively encourage your friend to do and will evidence your transparency and goodwill. Supporting this will also help alleviate any potential disputes at a later date. As a general rule of thumb, your buyer will arrange and pay for the survey.  

5. Exchange contracts 

Upon completion of all the necessary checks and both parties have agreed to the terms of the sale, you can then exchange contracts. At this point, the sale is classed as ‘legally binding’ and a completion date will be agreed upon. 

6. Complete the sale 

When the completion date arrives, the solicitor will proceed to transfer the money from the sale to you and your friend will officially take ownership of the property. At this point, you must arrange for keys, deeds and any other documentation to be passed over to your friend. 

Whilst this type of sale is classed as private, it’s important to bear in mind that you must still adhere to any legal requirements in place - for example paying necessary taxes and supplying an EPC (energy performance certificate.) 

Alexandra Ventress

Alexandra is a Content Producer who enjoys writing articles, finding out about the property market, keeping you up to date with the latest trends.