It’s a time honoured phrase that’s just as apt for the property market as for any other – it can pay to cut out the middle man. In fact, some estimates give a figure of 1 in 20 homes as being sold without the services of an estate agent.
A survey by the Alliance & Leicester (before they became part of Santander in this year’s banking shake-up) reported that private home-sellers sold their homes in an average of less than two months; those using the more conventional estate agency route were taking over three months. And the sheer economics of scale make going estate agent free attractive too, what with the average value of a home sitting at around £200,000 (FT House Price Index) and estate agency fees ranging from 1 per cent to 2.5 per cent.
The OFT has published four research reports this month as part of its market study into home buying and selling. These comprise a survey of estate agents, a survey of trading standard services and both qualitative and quantitative consumer research; that is, they have looked at hard facts as well as people’s experiences. This is important and valuable research that, hopefully, will lead to some sort of regulation of private-sale websites, of which there are currently over 40, each offering different levels of service at prices ranging from nothing to £500.
One major contributor to the research was The Little House Company, the UK’s leading private sales website – and a company so successful that all the major UK property portals have banned their listings! Which is why, in the interests of fair play, we’ve included the link.