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Hints, Tips and Other Questions

how does it work?

We're trying to put the power back in your hands, giving control to both buyers and sellers. Making things a little simpler and a lot cheaper in the process.

roofoveryourhead provides a no cost solution that connects property buyers and sellers.

Sellers are given the tools to market and sell their homes. Buyers and sellers get to deal openly with each other from start to finish; communicating, coordinating viewings and negotiating directly without any middlemen or outside pressure.

Making it easy to buy your home Making it easy to sell your home

With control comes responsibility. Be fair, highlight the many great aspects of your home but be honest and accurate, otherwise you’ll waste your time with viewings that come to nothing.

If your sale doesn’t seem to be going to well, remember you’re in control. You need to make it a success; what your objectives are and what is important to you

Finally, as you're doing most of the work, unlike many online property sites, we don't need to or want to charge a fee. Yes its free.

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why sell your own home?

Obviously for some, the skills, resources and experience of any professional are worth paying for. However some people quite simply prefer to do things themselves. To use a simple comparison, why would someone paint a bedroom rather than pay for a decorator? Because they can and because it saves money.

And just like when you do something yourself along with the cost saving, there is quite a sense of achievement. So if you can sell your home and save money then why not?

Historically sellers have been held back because without an estate agent it has been difficult to get your home in front of potential buyers. However we now have a truly liberating tool at our disposal - the internet. It empowers, educates and entertains us. It also connect us; with family and friends or, in the terms of house sales, millions of potential buyers. It is also possible to present your property in a highly professional manner.

Neither do you need estate agents to act as an intermediary. You can sell your house on your terms. This can save confusion, time and quite obviously money.

Clearly a big factor in deciding to sell your home privately is that you want to save money on commission fees. Estate agent commissions range from 1.5% to 3%, which if you're talking about, even say, a £250,000 house, it is not chicken feed. At roofoveryourhead there is no commission charge to us, estate agents or otherwise.

We are not suggesting this is an easy option and certainly it is not right for everyone but for those with energy and initiative, selling your own home can bring rich rewards.

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why not use a traditional estate agent?

We're not saying traditional estate agency is wrong, we just want there to be a decent cost effective alternative.

There are many highly professional estate agents out there who continue to do an excellent job selling the homes of those that do not want to do it themselves.

However for those willing to accept the challenge it can be a rewarding journey, financially and otherwise. So if you want the ability and freedom to sell your own home roofoveryourhead can help.

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why is roofoveryourhead not on rightmove, zoopla or prime location?

Two simple reasons; the big portals do not allow ordinary folk to sell their homes directly, they only allow estate agents to sell your home. Secondly, estate agents pay hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds for the privilege of this.

It is such unfair barriers that we hope to overcome.

If you are selling your home and you are doing the work, clearly you should not have to pay lots of money for the privilege.

Fortunately as your own roofoveryourhead website will be live on Google, the world's number one search engine, within 24hrs, with support of extensive social media, most of the planet is covered, and with the sign outside your house and local marketing to capture local buyers, we feel these portals can act as another unnecessary 'step' and expense.

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charitable giving?

At roofoveryourhead we believe that there is no reason why a business cannot make money and support the local and wider community.

Consequently we hope that when you buy or sell your property through roofoveryourhead, saving thousands of pounds in the process, we thought it would be nice to give you the opportunity to make a donation. There's no obligation but if you can, it will all be gratefully received.

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how is it free?

roofoveryourhead and the support services

We operate in an open and transparent fashion at roofoveryourhead.com so we want to let you know about the firms we introduce and how they help pay our costs.

Part of our service to you is to put you in touch with people who can help you buy or sell your home, and have researched and identified financial advisers, solicitors and surveyors to do this.

When you chose to use one of these professional services, we usually get paid a fee. Before any alarm bells go off, please note this will not affect the price you pay for the services, these remain the same as if you've walked into them independently off the street. Any fee comes directly out of their pocket and it will not affect our or their service to you. You are our customers first and we want what's best for you. This is why we suggested them; they offer a good service at a good price.

So why are we telling you this? Their fees allow us to operate roofoveryourhead.com without charging you. So hopefully you get the best of both worlds, a free house sale and good vetted professional services that won't cost the earth. Still we think it's important to be open and honest about why and how we earn money.

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how to market your own home?

roofoveryourhead gives you the tools to shout 'MY HOUSE IS FOR SALE' to local and national audiences. Here's what you'll need:

web page - Using roofoveryourhead you will create your own individual and unique website for your home.

Your website will allow you highlight the general and individual features of your home to literally millions of potential buyers, and produce more targeted campaigns to attract, smaller more focused group.

Your website will be accompanied by your own unique and memorable website address or URL , e.g /29 Acacia Road, that will be used on Google, other search engines, social media and on marketing material to direct potential buyers directly to your home's home page.

Running parallel to this will be a more descriptive URL that describes what your are selling, e.g. /three_bedrooms_oxford, which is simple, informative and helps with the all important search engine optimisation.

brochure - hard copy and electronic version - When you upload your information and photos to the Roof Over Your Head website, it automatically creates your marketing material. This will be similar to those that most estate agents produce and can be easily printed or sent electronically. It can be used to:

flyer - hard copy and electronic version - Again this is generated by the info that you add in the Sales Room. The flyer is a snapshot of the property containing the photo of the front aspect of the property, brief details, including price and of course a link to your unique webpage.

This is probably best used for advertising; put it up locally where it will get noticed, e.g. notice boards, newsagent's windows, telegraph poles. Always ask for permission but you will be surprised how helpful people will be when they know that you are doing this for yourself.

online marketing - Unlike other 'independent' private sale sites, we do not pay well known property portals for the privilege of appearing on their listings, we do not use temporary pay for click promotions to draw clients in then drop them when we have their custom, nor do we have pages with every property permutation known to man. Instead to keep your costs down and focus on your home rather than everyone else's, we make great efforts to organically register and climb your property through the search rankings.

Your personal website will be online immediately and will be reviewed by Google and other such search engines within 24 hours. It is your site, the more you add and update the better '- search engine Optimisation is often over complicated, if your home's website is relevant and thorough it is not only good for the search engines, it'll be good for your buyers too. A win win.

social media - Anyone who has viewed one of the many millions of photos, clips and messages posted online, will be aware of the fantastic marketing reach and power of social media. How many people do you know? How many do they know? And so on. The world is at your fingertips, let it know that your marvellous property is up for grabs.

for sale board - Even in these days of multi channel, multi media marketing, the simple board that sits out of the front of the property is a critical sales tool. At a basic level it lets everyone know you are open for business, it also draws attention to your home; not just for your neighbours and friends, who may know of someone that'd be interested but visitors to the area, including people that may be visiting other properties for sale in the locality.

advertising - You can advertise in the property section of the local paper. You can get small adverts in local papers for a few pounds. Linking this to your roofoveryourhead website makes a cheap advert very professional and effective.

You can obviously make use of further advertising on the Internet, linking to your unique property website. Some websites will do this for a fee, others will list your property for free.

word of mouth - While we don't expect you to become a salesman overnight, you need to appreciate that your potential buyer can be anywhere. Never miss an appropriate opportunity to let someone know that your house is for sale; even if its not for them, they may know someone that it'd be perfect for.

Certainly let your friends and family know that you, not an estate agent, are selling your home. You are leading the way so ask them for ideas and assistance. It will all help to get the message out there.

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understand your target market

Specifically what types of people would be interested in buying your home and what will appeal to them? Grouping these 'types' of people creates target markets. If you can work out what appeals to them, e.g. near a park, pub or good school, you can tailor your sales and marketing to them.

This does not necessarily mean that all of the people interested in your property will be the same as you or will indeed like and dislike the same things in your home. Don't be restrictive, consider all potential buyers and adapt your selling points when communicating with different buyers.

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managing viewings and showing your home

Before reading this, please relax. Do not worry about having to show your property, people are realistic and they live in normal homes too. They will generally see past the kids toys and the washing up to how it works for you and how it could work for them.

So helpful hints, not strict rules.

Before anyone comes round, just give it a once over. Although it is impractical to maintain a show home, it should be reasonably clean and tidy. Clear waste and remove clutter. Little things like putting the washing up away or the toilet seat down can really help. Remember you're selling the physical attributes of the property and the more people can see of this the better.

Other tips are:

The most important aspect of any house viewing is to let the prospective buyer have space and freedom in which they can consider their thoughts and, more importantly if it's a couple viewing, they need to be able to discuss potential advantages and drawbacks which they're not going to do if you are present. Don't pressure or hurry the buyer. Tell the buyer to take all the time that is needed.

Be natural but be prepared. Think about their likely questions. What did you ask when you bought the property? Prepare answers.

Finally always remember to be safe when you are conducting viewings; security is a priority. In theory estate agents should vet all viewers before sending them to view your home, and you need to do the same. Roofoveryourhead allows you to get the name, address and contact details of anyone coming to view your home, including a photo so that you know who is coming to visit you and what they look like. If a different person turns up or you are unsure cancel the viewing. It is also advisable not to conduct viewings alone. If you live alone, have a friend round for coffee - you will feel more relaxed and the coffee's aroma will add to the general ambiance.

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how to take good photos of your home

These days with smart phones and digital cameras, it is very easy to take a good quality digital photo; certainly, giant professional cameras with fish eye lenses are not required, just a little common sense.

Even though most of us fight a constant battle with mess and junk, if we're looking for a new home, we like to at least think things will be different there and the photos should reflect this - keep things neat and tidy. Remove unnecessary clutter; shoes, hoovers, toys, bins and any other essential items that tend to get under the feet. Remember people are looking to buy your house, not your possessions.

That said we are not looking for a minimalist pad (unless that's what you're selling), think of furniture and stylish objects as props and the room a stage. Sell your lifestyle and move things around if you have to.

Take the shot from the doorway or corner out to try to capture the most space. In addition capture special features that need highlighting from the general room shots, e.g. ornate fireplaces.

Take photos at the right time of the day so that natural light is maximised. Use artificial light where necessary.

Also, take lots of house photos. The more you shoot, the better the odds are that you'll get a few really good shots. If you like it, photograph it.

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population size and density - Want the buzz or need the space? If you appreciate friendly chats with a neighbours then a smaller town will appeal. If you're looking to get lost in the crowds, a larger town or a big city is better suited to your personality. neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk is a great place to start your analysis.

friends and Family - If you have strong links to your nearest and dearest, make sure they will be nearby or within easy reach. You want to feel happy in your home, not feeling you're having to spend all your time out and about just to stay in touch with your loved ones.

lifestyle, culture and leisure - Whatever floats your boat, you want to choose to live somewhere with easy access to your preferred leisure activity.. Whether it is the arts, religion or sports, work out what there is for you and your family, try www.gov.uk or www.list.co.uk Or www.visitbritain.com and www.bbc.co.uk.

generally local Councils are a good source of up to date local information

schools - For those with children, the availability of good schools and higher education establishments is often the top priority when choosing where to live. If you are new to an area and cannot 'pick the local's brains', you might want to have a look at www.education.gov.uk and www.gov.uk. Or neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk for a variety of data.

healthcare - A good and accessible health service, either public or private, is important at any stage in life but if you have children or if you are feeling the ravages of time they may well be more of a consideration. Try this useful little webpage www.nhs.uk to help ascertain what is where.

employment Opportunities - Well you've got to pay for it haven't you. Employment opportunities vary across the country so spend some time researching relevant opportunities in your industry in your chosen area. Do you move for the convenience of work, or adapt your career to fit your favourite area?

Do your research before you move, and ideally, find a job before you relocate. Look at local agencies and websites, try www.gov.uk or then there's the ever reliable search engines. Alternatively there's the commute.

ease of getting to work - When you've found your dream house in the perfect location, you want to spend time there, not stuck in traffic getting to and from work. So if you're not fortunate enough to live and work in close proximity to good road or rail links are required. Have a look at:

On the road: www.gov.uk or www.theaa.com

By rail: http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk

climate - Even in our fairly stable climate, the weather can have a dramatic impact on our lives and your attitude to certain weather conditions, and your like/dislike of the outdoors, should be taken into account when picking a location. Warm or cold, sunshine or showers - try www.metoffice.gov.uk to find your preferred location.

crime - No one, even criminals, don't want to live in high-crime areas and equally no one area is crime free but by researching the crime rates and statistics for various areas, you can learn more about the safety of a town or neighbourhood. Remember poor areas can improve and, equally, nicer areas can deteriorate. neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk is a good source of info.

food - If eating locally at good pubs or restaurants is important to you, consider whether you can easily access good food. Try www.thegoodfoodguide.co.uk or www.thegoodpubguide.co.uk.

If its junk food and convenience you need, head for the neon to get to it fast.

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viewing tips for the buyers

Be prepared; ask questions, note the answers and the reaction.

To assist your memory feel free to make notes and take some photos. Best to ask if it's ok first though.

Consider when you are visiting and appreciate how will the property and the surrounding area will change throughout the day/night e.g. light, traffic etc. Find out the local council rates, and which council you will fall under.

For safety and a second opinion, consider taking a partner, friend or family member.

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what if you're already using an estate agent?

If you are marketing your home yourself as well as employing an estate agent, you need to be aware of the terms of your contract with the agency. 'Sole agency' means you'll pay the agent's commission ONLY if they find a buyer for your home, but agree to 'sole selling rights' and you'll end up paying them even if you find the buyer.

There are grey areas, however. If you find a buyer privately who turns out to be on the books of the estate agents you appointed, they'd have to prove the sale was as a result of their marketing activity.

However, if a buyer knocks at your door as a result of seeing the estate agency-sign outside your house and the agents find out, their case for payment is much stronger.

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understanding agency agreements

Roofoveryourhead are not an estate agency, online or otherwise. We just give you the tools to freely sell your home. Consequently we do not use agency agreements, and you are free to use any other form of sales medium you can. However if you have already instructed an Estate Agency or now wish to instruct one, you need to know something about Agency Agreements. There are three main types of estate contracts in the UK property market; the sole agent agreement, the sole seller agreement and the multi agent agreement.

sole agent agreement

The sole agent agreement is the most common type of estate agent contact. A sole agent contract is used when you have an agreement to sell your property with just one estate agent for an agreed rate of commission if your estate agent successfully introduces you a buyer.

Each agency will have a set sole agency period which is likely to range from between 6 and 16 weeks. It is important to remember that even at the end of the term most agents will still require written notice, usually 2 weeks, to terminate the agreement. Multiple agency agreements continue until one of the instructed agents sell the property or you withdraw it from the market. Some agents will also include a clause stipulating that if a sale that they have agreed falls through you cannot switch agents for a set period, usually 2 to 4 weeks.

Therefore if you were to market your own home with roofoveryourhead alongside your estate agent, you would not have to pay your estate agent any commission if your buyer or tenant contacted you independently of them.

multiple agent agreement

A multiple agent agreement is when you have the freedom to advertise your property with two or more estate agents. As there is a greater risk that one of the agents will not get paid, it is not uncommon for estate agents to charge a higher rate of commission if you select this option.

A multiple agency contract should not prevent you from finding a buyer or seller independently with roofoveryourhead. Generally multiple agency contracts are only used when someone is looking for a very quick sale or rental..

sole seller agreement

Like a sole agency contract, a sole seller contract is an agreement between the seller or landlord and one estate agent. However, the main difference is that if you independently find a buyer for your property that has been introduced independently you will still be liable to pay your estate agent commission. This includes selling via roofoveryourhead or any other independent source.

Due to their restrictive and seemingly unfair nature, sole seller agreements have been readily criticised and are not commonly used these days.

managing agency agreements

If you are not already in an agreement with an estate agent, but wish to enter into one and use roofoveryourhead also to sell your home, yourself it is best to let the estate agent know your intention, and request that a specific clause be entered into the agreement to state that you, the client, always reserves the right to sell the property privately.

If you are already in an agreement and are concerned that due to the type of agreement, the agent may be able to charge commission, then negotiate with the estate agent to amend the terms of the agreement as above. Remember, you are in a strong position, as you always retain the right to cancel your agreement.

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roofoveryourhead philosophy

We are not an estate agents, or even an online estate agents. roofoveryourhead was set up by a couple that wanted to allow similarly normal people to market, manage and execute their own property sale.

We hope to empower ordinary individuals and save them money. Giving homeowners the tools to do the job of buying and selling their own home.

We also intend this to be a social enterprise, raising funds and awareness of one or more worthy causes.

We will create value for the users, staff, investors and third party partners.

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contact us

Any problems?

We try to keep things simple so if you have a problem, just let us know – help@roofoveryourhead.com - we'll do our best to fix it asap.

If you’re not happy with this outcome, we’re happy to work with Trading Standards Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedure - www.businesscompanion.info

Any questions or ideas on how we can improve? Please let us know.

Thank you, from the roofoveryourhead team

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work with us

If you are interested in working in a thriving young business, as part of a thriving young and equally not so young team then please let us know.. We are always interested in speaking to individuals with skill, energy and drive.

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