In the same way that the Internet has revolutionised getting private or landlord insurance quotes, it is beginning to make in-roads into how properties themselves are sold.
While many estate agents will be expecting an increased number of clients as the property market improves, there is growing proportion of sellers who have cut out traditional estate agents in favour of their pared-down counterparts, online estate agents.
The big draw of selling online is that it is far cheaper than doing so with a regular estate agent. Traditional agents charge between 1.5 and 2 per cent of the final selling price; A 2 per cent levy on a £400,000 house is an eye-watering £8,000.
Online agents are far cheaper. eMoov, for example, will sell a property for £395 plus VAT, while Hatched will sell a property for £450: £225 initially, and £225 on completion.
Those selling their property online must be prepared to show people around their property, which is the main drawback of avoiding the estate agent’s services. However, as many of those who have sold a home before will know, owners very often end up carrying out this duty themselves anyway.
They will also need to have a for sale sign made.
Many online sellers will arrange photos, floor plans and even deal with paperwork through to completion as part of their fee.
Those with less knowledge of the Internet may prefer the tried-and-tested services of a traditional estate agent, but with potential savings of several thousands of pounds in fees, it is hard not to foresee the expansion of online estate agents.
Will selling one’s home online and without a regular estate agent become the norm one day? It seems logical that it will.
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