Why more people are turning to property websites to sell their homeFeature of the week
We’re a nation of tech addicts – as evidenced by the fact that we now spend longer on tech than we do asleep – and that has meant change in every part of our lives.
The addiction knows no bounds and has now impacted on the way we buy and sell our homes. By 2020 it is thought that as many as 70 per cent of house sales could go through online. It’s a huge change, so why is it proving so popular?
“I’ve started so I’ll finish”
Almost every househunter (an estimated 95%) begins their quest online these days – that’s the tech addiction in action. Gone are the days of scouring through newspaper supplements and gawping in estate agent windows to find what properties are on the market. Now, in a matter of minutes, a web search can bring up hundreds of properties within the price bracket and geographical area you require.
Yet, when it comes to the traditional path, this is where the technology ends. Online agents enable sellers to market their properties to the internet-savvy shopper who wants to continue the sale process from the comfort of their living room. If shoppers are online, why force them to make the effort of going offline to carry on?
“It’s the economy, stupid”
Buying a house will undoubtedly be one of the most significant purchases anyone makes, if not the most. The sheer expense means buyers and sellers need to be smart and cut the cost. For buyers this is clearly about lowering the price that they will pay, for sellers it is about maximising the return on their investment. While the market may well dictate the price you can command as a seller, there is a way to cut down on the fees that you must pay.
Estate agents generally take a percentage of the sale price of your house as a fee for their services. This can range from 1 to 4%, depending on the agent (not including VAT which stands at 20%) and means a bill stretching to several thousand pounds. Online agents promise to do the job for a fixed fee, often about £500 or so, meaning sellers pay a fraction of the fee charged by traditional operators. The cost factor alone is enough to make many people want to find out more information.
“I want to make it snappy”
Everyone wants to sell for the best price possible and, invariably, wants the whole process to be over as quickly and painlessly as possible. Online agents reckon that they can sell a property in about a third of the time taken by traditional outlets, which is roughly 60 to 70 days.
“I want to have a say”
Online estate agents are increasingly offering sellers the flexibility to have their own say on the sale process. Instead of pushy salesman dictating the way you write about your property, for example, you can ditch the industry jargon and write much snappier and more attractive descriptions yourself. Using an online agent allows you the freedom to show people around your property yourself, something many sellers prefer to do anyway and stops you paying for services that are now ineffective and unnecessary (photos in windows, adverts in papers).
Speed, convenience, flexibility and – above all – cost are helping to fuel the interest in online estate agents and undermine the dominance of traditional agents. With these trump cards in their hand, it’s difficult to imagine these sites won’t continue to flourish.
The editorial unit