40% of homeowners believe they could do a better job of selling their own home than agents and save up to £6,000 on the cost of moving at the same time, according to a new property website.
John Candia, of the iProperty company, believes that with the right knowledge and a bit of effort, it will become progressively easier to bypass estate agents and make a considerable saving by listing your home yourself.
To find out more about how this is done, check out the discussion below with John and personal finance expert Holly Thomas. (We’ve condensed it down into a straightforward Q&A to make it easier to follow.)
Is the role of agents declining?
Holly: I don’t think they are becoming redundant. I do think there is a lot more choice nowadays for sellers. There is a lot better technology and a lot more companies popping up that are offering services where you can sell your home yourself online.
There is a capability among everybody to do this themselves with a bit of time, a bit of effort or reading up on a bit of knowledge to know how to do it all. You need to start in the same place, with the valuation, and then you need to take on a few projects yourself which ordinarily an estate agent would do such as taking photographs and writing a description.
But that is all stuff that most people should be able to handle, you can have a look at what is already out there for ideas, use your common sense and just think about what you as a buyer would want to know.
What do the statistics show?
John: We found out that over 40% of home owners across the UK believe that they can do a better job of selling their own home and we very much plea that that is the case.
I think that product knowledge is the number one factor when it comes to selling anything and I think that the home owners obviously know their home far better than an agent would and therefore it is very valuable for a buyer to be able to speak directly to the owner.
Is it easy to bypass high street estate agents?
John: I think it is very easy. Over 90% of all property searches start online anyway now. We have worked for over a year with the UK’s largest development companies and are doing this in partnership with the NHBC so what we have done is we have made sure that we are presenting all properties in a very professional manner and we have taken a lot of advice to make sure that it is done properly so we basically have a one simple form which homeowners can go in a fill out and their properties are presented professionally and are there in the search engine ready to be found.
How much can somebody save by avoiding agents?
John: The survey indicates an average saving of about £6000 and this can obviously go up in certain areas and down other ones but it is a huge amount of money when we think really that we could do this ourselves – especially now you have people that even with agents there like to be there for the viewings.
You have to prepare your house and makes sure it’s clean and tidy regardless so you might as well do it yourself and save yourself a lot of money and in the very worst case why not try it as well.
If you are unsure then use an agent by all means and list your property with us. It is absolutely free of charge. All your private details are kept that way and everything is through the messaging system so you really have nothing to lose.
How does valuation work?
John: We have an affiliation with a company called Hometrack which is the largest automated valuation business in the UK. Almost 90% of all UK lenders actually base their lending on their valuations and you can access this through our site and instantaneously you have an 8 page report on your property value so that is obviously a very key part when you come to selling your home and we do have every service that you may need through all stages of the property transaction.
What are the potential pitfalls of this type of selling?
Holly: A potential pitfall will be the concern that these kinds of websites don’t have the reach that estate agents have given that they have a high street presence and websites don’t. But as John has already pointed out, 90% of searches start online anyway. If anybody wants to know anything these days, most of us will tap it into a search engine and see what pops up just as that initial bit of doing homework on an area you are not certain about, so I think that might be some people’s concerns but it’s not right for everybody but again as John pointed out you can use an agent and you can use this service too and see what works out best.
What will the future of house-selling look like in the UK?
John: I definitely see it being predominantly online and I see that there will be specialist agents that will always do well like there are specialist travel agents but for the vast majority of people I think online is definitely the way for the future. [At ipropertycompany.com] we have a range of how to guides, we have a lot of professional affiliates with loads of free advice… It is a very easy form to fill out and you’ll be online and receiving viewing requests very quickly.