Selling Uk Homes In The Digital Age
News Posted On: 18 April 2012
Selling houses in the UK used to be so much simpler before the internet became the power that it is today. It was a simple case of choosing an estate agent, which you did either by watching for the quickest disappearing for sale boards in your area, or looking at the best ads in your local press.
Nowadays it is completely difficult, and some would say more complicated, but others would say the addition of choice means it is as complicated or as simple as you want it to be, and perhaps proportionately to the amount of money you want to save. If you want to avoid paying the 2% traditional estate agents commission then there are options out there, but they require a little more time and effort on your part.
To begin with the only other option was to sell your house privately, using private sale websites, and this was a good option, because these sites listed your home on the massive sites like Rightmove, FindaProperty and Primelocation. However, once these sites banned private sales sites from listing their properties, selling privately became much more difficult. Luckily a third option came along not long after in the form of online estate agents, aka fixed-fee estate agents. These are able to charge lower prices because they focus on the internet and so save on overheads like high street offices and company cars, which they have no need for.
However, it is not an all or nothing choice between private sales or an estate agent. In the UK there are four types of estate agency agreement: sole selling, sole agency, multi agency and ready, able and willing purchaser.
The sole selling agreement is the estate agents favourite, because it means they are the only one who can sell your home, and even if you find a buyer yourself you must still pay the agent his commission.
Both the sole agency and the multi agency agreements allow what is called dual-selling, because if you find the buyer through a private sale website for example, you do not need to pay the agent his commission. In sole agency you operate dual-selling with only one agent, and in the multi agency you do it with more than one agent, and pay commission to only one agent if he/she finds the buyer, no commission if you find the buyer. However, in the sole agency contract be careful that the private sale sites you list with don't do any of the following:
Send out property particulars and arranging viewings.
Receive and field queries from potential buyers on behalf of those listing on their site, i.e. the enquiries must go straight to the seller.
Provide and/or put up outside the property a 'For Sale' board containing [The Private Sale Company] contact details.
The ready, willing and able purchaser agreement is not very user friendly, it means that if the agent brings you a buyer that is ready, willing and able to purchase your home you pay them the commission, whether the sale completes or not.
So, What's the Best Way to Sell UK Property in the 21st Century
With this new method (dual-selling) in hand, of course the best way to sell a house in the 21st century is to have the best of both worlds. Using an estate agent will get your property on to the big hitters like Rightmove, Zoopla, Find a Property and Primelocation. Not having your home on those sites costs your home potentially millions of online views and god knows how many enquiries and viewings.
But there are thousands of private home selling sites that allow you to list for free, and many more sites that can bring thousands of online views for your property, so not listing on those would also risk losing out on exposure, and possibly the chance to sell without paying commission.
Online Agent or a Traditional Agent?
This is a pretty simple choice actually. If you can whole-heartedly see that the internet dominates home-selling and think you can handle your own viewings and negotiations, then an online agent is a no-brainer. If not then a high street agent is probably your choice.
Where to Advertise Privately?
So, you choose your estate agent to get listed on the big online portals and possibly also to handle viewings. Next is to choose where and how you will advertise yourself. It's a simple formula; you want to get the widest exposure for the lowest price. So start by listing on the big portals that are also free: Ebay, Gumtree, Tepilo, and the Little House Company are the big 4 free sites. And Houseweb will get you onto Fish4Homes and many other big sites for £125,
Apart from those your best bet is to find sites using Google search. Google is the biggest search engine, and millions of people use it to search for property for sale every day. If you come across property search engines like Nestoria or propertyads.co.uk in the top results, then look at their listings to see which sites they pull properties from and list on one or all of them.
For example if I wanted to sell a property in Scunthorpe, I would search houses for sale in Scunthorpe and see which of the top 10 sites would allow me to list privately, as those will likely get a good number of visitors looking to buy a house in Scunthorpe. You can then run similar searches to find more places to list, and also inspect the sites advertising for these terms in the paid results.
Then there is niche marketing; finding buyers based on the special attributes of your home. For example, if your home comes with rights to fish a stretch of river, then you may find buyers on fishing sites, likewise for if your home has access to land or stables, you may find buyers on equestrian or farming sites.
Again, you know your home better than anyone else, and you know what you love about and so what other people will as well. Thus, you can potentially create a far better listing than an estate agent would.
Written by Liam Bailey
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