Online estate agents: Cap the cost of selling your home
You can save thousands of pounds by selling your home through an online estate agent or even by doing it yourself.
A new online estate agent has joined a growing pack of websites promising to slash thousands of pounds off the cost of selling your home.
MyOnlineEstateAgent.com claims it could save customers up to £10 million in estate agents’ commission fees every year. It charges a one-off flat fee of £249 plus VAT (£298.80) for people to sell their home.
What it costs
For this basic package you will get professional photos, a floor plan and your home listed on the major property portals, including Rightmove.
You also get help deciding on your asking price, someone to field sales enquiries, arrange viewings and support you with negotiations. If you pay a bit more, up to £399 plus VAT (£478.80) you can also get an Energy Performance Certificate, a ‘for sale’ board and a premium ad on Rightmove.
By comparison, estate agents are likely to charge anywhere between 1.5% and 2.5% plus VAT. On a property sold for the average £160,000, this would mean between £2,880 and £4,800 ripped from the proceeds of your sale.
MyOnlineEstateAgent.com also offers a rental package for anyone wanting to let a property. The price starts at £79 plus VAT, which includes online advertising, managing enquiries and tenant referencing checks. If you want professional photos and a floor plan, along with some other added extras, the price rises to £189 plus VAT.
There are even cheaper deals …
A few websites have popped up in recent years that help you to sidestep hefty estate agent fees. One such site is ithinkproperty.co.uk, which has a selling package starting at just under £179 including VAT.
It has a DIY element because you upload photographs, descriptions and room sizes yourself. However there is a pick ‘n’ mix of services you can add on top, including professional photography for £100 and a standard ‘for sale’ sign for an extra £60.
If you’re trying to spend even less, then emoov.co.uk has a charge of £99 plus VAT, payable each month until completion. However, if you’re house takes a long time to sell, this could work out as a more expensive option. If you don’t want to live with the threat of ongoing monthly fees you can pay a one-off and upfront £349 fee.
What about doing it yourself?
If you’re confident about going it alone, even doing your own photography and marketing, you could sell your house for free!
Property guru Sarah Beeny has her own website, Tepilo.com, which lets you upload details about your home for free, with no commission to pay. Watch this video to find out more.
Although over 90% of people search for property online, many people still buy the traditional way and prefer to go via an established company with a high street presence.
You need to be satisfied that the online estate agent you use is legitimate, so check its credentials before parting with cash. Does their website look fuzzy with spelling mistakes or does it look professional? You can also check a company at companycheck.co.uk, but remember to look for the registered business name – it’s not always the same as the website name.
If you’re becoming your own estate agent beware that demand from buyers and the number of viewings might not be the same as it would with the aid of professionals – especially if you’re wrapping the commitment around your day job.
Buyers might also be put off if you’re not a dab hand with the camera and your photos look a bit blurry. If you’re serious about selling, be serious about promotion too. Find more tips in our How to sell your home guide.
Beware of any potential scams. Don’t arrange viewings for when you’re home alone and don’t give personal information or details of when you’re away to potential buyers.
A bonus for buyers?
In theory, if a seller no longer has to stump up a small fortune to pay the estate agent, then he or she might be more receptive to the idea of knocking some pounds off the asking price.
It won’t work in every case but as a buyer it’s worth asking – especially since it’s your market nowadays. Buyers who look fit for a mortgage and are ready with their deposit are in demand. So some sellers might be happy to dip the sale price for a secure buyer.