Stacks Property Search, one of Britain’s largest buying agencies, has entered the debates over portals and the use of DIY house sale websites and online estate agents.
Stacks spokesman David Brooke-Smith says with estate agents charging between 1.0 per cent and 2.5 per cent of the selling price of a property, plus marketing costs and plus VAT, “it’s no great surprise that people are tempted to do the job themselves” via DIY sales websites.
But he warns that sellers who try to do it all themselves on a free or nearly-free to use website may be mistaken - and that the true skills of good estate agents are often under-estimated.
“If you are in a position to know the true ‘value’ of your property, if you know how to present it at its best, if you have a significant level of IT and search engine optimisation, if you have strong negotiating and diplomatic skills, if you have endless patience, and if you’re prepared to put in full time effort and place your life on hold for several months, you may stand a chance” he explains.
He says that his buying agency has seen sellers go down the DIY route only to find it’s simply not working and revert to more traditional methods.
For sellers who wish to avoid the traditional high street agent, he says “the greatest chance of success comes from using an online agent that offers help with photography, floor plans, and crucially, listing on the main portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.”
However, here too he has a warning - that vendors may find it difficult to objectively promote their property on viewings, and will probably be inexperienced at negotiating.
“The problem with this journey, apart from not achieving a sale, is that you will have incurred substantial non-refundable expenses. Selling online requires upfront fees, so if you revert to selling through a [traditional] agent, you will be duplicating a fair proportion of the cost” he says.