As the housing market continues to gather pace, South Yorkshire estate agent, Butcher Residential, is warning of the hidden costs and pitfalls which come with the DIY approach to selling property.
According to a recent national news article, industry experts estimate that 4 per cent of homes are now sold through an online agent, this could rise to 50 per cent by 2020.
Statistics show that 80 per cent of house-hunters begin their search on the web, so the initial attraction of selling up online is understandable.
Whilst the majority perceive selling their homes online as a means to save money, Ian Butcher, principal of Butcher Residential warns that sellers could be missing out by going online
Ian said: “The average house price in Barnsley is around £165,000, which is similar to the cost of a Ferrari. Would you entrust the servicing of your fabulous Ferrari to someone who’d just bought some tools and operated from home, or would it be wiser to find someone with specialist knowledge?
“In the digital age, with so much information readily available online, it’s easy to be misinformed or misled when it comes to the property market. House hunting online is a very different proposition to actually using an online agent to handle your sale.
“A huge pitfall of online selling is the tendency of online estate agents to charge an upfront fee before the process has even begun. When this is the case where is the incentive to sell?
“You wouldn’t hand over a cheque to a builder before the work was complete, so when it comes to as big a venture as selling your home it should be no different.
“Traditional estate agents have a vested interest in fulfilling your needs right to the very end of the sale, ensuring the process is as smooth-running as possible- a service surely worth paying for.
“With there being very little regulation when it comes to the web how do you know your online agent can be trusted?
“Though all agents must be a member of one of three grievance bodies: the Property Ombudsman, the Ombudsman Services Property and the Property Redress Scheme, their powers when it comes to disputes are limited so don’t assume their badge to be a stamp of approval.
“When you sell online, you don’t get the face-to-face support that you would with a local estate agent – you could easily end up doing the majority of the work yourself when you’re already busy running your own business or working hard in your own career.
“Most online estate agents don’t have specialist knowledge of the local area, or staff availability to help with the important things such as photography, organising viewings and negotiating.
“All our clients can benefit from being listing on the top two property portals – so they needn’t fear they’re missing out on the 133 million combined average monthly visits to Zoopla and Rightmove.
“At the same time, our team knows Barnsley and the wider South Yorkshire area inside out. With over 120 combined years’ experience no one understands the local property market better, knowing all the intricacies and quirks of Barnsley and Penistone is how we make clients’ lives less stressful and get that all important sale.”