The Inside Edge
When people ask what you ‘do’, what do you say? It’s easy if you’ve got one of those jobs with a title everyone understands, like doctor, fireman or teacher but when you run a web business you could say a million different things – webmaster, publisher, business owner, entrepreneur, marketer, social media specialist, online something or other – like many small business people.
When I explain that I’m setting up a website to help people sell their own houses inevitably people have a few questions and almost always say ‘what a great idea!’ or a variation thereof. Often they have a horror story of an estate agent lying/ stalling/ pressuring and other hijinks that estate agents are known for.
This reaction is always heartening and backs up my research – that people can and will sell their own houses with a little help and guidance. I feel for decent websites like mypropertyforsale, littlehousecompany and houseladder that have been plugging away for more than 8 years trying to save people thousands of pounds and still many people do not realise it’s even possible to sell your house without an agent. People are becoming more aware, certainly since Sarah Beeny has launced her Tepilo service using her media profile built up through the channel 4 Property Ladder programme to reassure people that private selling is a viable option.
The kind of questions and doubts I come across often concern the legalities of selling a house and many people are surprised to hear that estate agents don’t have any part to play in the legal exchange of contracts other than introducing buyer and seller and keeping the sale process moving.
It is the solicitors that review all the surveys and searches, create, review and agree the contract. Estate agents do add value to the process through marketing, sales skills, aiding the negotiation and quite often managing the chain to ensure the sale proceeds – but they are not absolutely necessary and anyone with the time and inclination can sell their house themselves.