/ Home & Energy

Should you sell your home using an online-only estate agent?

Selling a house can be expensive. High street estate agents typically take 1% – 2% of the sale price in commission alone, so it’s little wonder that online-only rivals are shouting about potential savings. But is the trade-off worth it?

Looking at the sums, the potential savings are certainly eye-grabbing. With online-only estate agents fees starting at around £500 for a basic sales package, you could easily save yourself £1,000s in fees.

So that means if you were to sell a house for the average price in England and Wales of £188,000 you could save more than £1,300. That’s a saving worth a little consideration, don’t you think?

Weighing it up

Now you could argue that these days the main shop window for your property is likely to be on online property portals such as Rightmove or Zoopla, especially as more people move around the country when property hunting. So providing your property is listed on those websites – something which online estate agents do – then that’s mostly job done right?

But, for any of you who have been through a property sale before, when it comes to selling a house it’s about far more than just advertising.

A good high street agent would probably say they more than earn their fees by the service they offer you. Any high street agent really worth their salt will know the local property market inside out and will be able to share this insight with you. Equally if you’re getting to your wits’ end with a tricky sales process it can be reassuring to know you can pop into the local branch and talk to someone, face to face.

Many online agents do now offer an increasingly wide range of support services such as ‘personal account managers’ and 24/7 call centre support. But in most cases it’ll be you that conducts the viewings and answers questions from potential buyers. So if you’re not a natural salesperson or you’re time-strapped then this could be a lot of hassle.

Are you sold on this?

So an online agent is likely to save you some money. However, at a practical level, if you use an online agent you’re likely to end up doing a lot more of the legwork yourself.

The vast majority of people still opt to use a traditional high street agent. After all buying and selling property can be a stressful process as it is. But if your house is likely to sell relatively easily, plus you have the time and willingness to be more hands-on, then an online agent could be worth serious consideration.

So how about you, are you sold on the idea of online estate agents? Have you used one before, or would you consider it?

Would you use an online estate agent to sell your home?

Maybe, it depends on what they're offering (45%, 1,271 Votes)

No, I'd rather use a traditional estate agent (36%, 1,025 Votes)

Yes, why not? (19%, 526 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,822

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This comment was removed at the request of the user

I was not aware that if you market your property yourself, i.e. without using an agent [on-line or high street], you could post it on Rightmove or any other property portal as I was under the impression that access to these services is restricted to authorised agents only.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Thanks Duncan. I think luck must play a big part when using one of the more obscure set-ups. I had heard of Tepilo and Purple Bricks because they advertise on TV and have started to rattle the high street agents but I had not heard of the others you mention.


You are corect in your assumption, Rightmove will not allow adverts from individuals:

4a. Can I sell my home privately through Rightmove?
In the UK, as part of our commitment to our users, we only work through estate agents because they are covered by the Estate Agency Act 1979 and the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991,
which requires them to be truthful in their advertising about property and affords protection to both buyer and seller. If you want to advertise your property for sale in the UK on Rightmove, you can find our members in your area by searching for an estate agent. Alternatively, ask your preferred agent to contact Rightmove about membership. If you are interested in selling property overseas and you would like to sell your property overseas, Rightmove Overseas do accept listing from vendors.

Thank you Oxford Agent.

I am surprised [or not, possibly!] that Rightmove has not updated this clause to reflect the fact that on 1 October 2013, the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 [which previously made it a criminal offence for estate agents to make false or misleading statements about properties being offered for sale] was repealed. Its scope has been superseded and greatly extended by two other pieces of legislation which regulate estate agents and other businesses involved in property sales and lettings: the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008. The Office of Fair Trading was so concerned that estate agents were unfamiliar with this change that they published new guidance for estate agents over a year ago.


I thought exactly the same when i read it myself! The new legislation is interesting in so much as it’s proving almost impossible to obtain clarification on numerous situations. In general terms we need to disclose any material information that may affect a buyers decision to purchase the property. Sellers are asked to fill out a property information questionnaires to obtain as much detail as possible. If we are dealing with a probate sale where the owner has passed away in the house we are being told that we need to disclose that information to buyers.

I am not sure where that guidance in your final sentence came from but I think it is the sort of mischievous “what-if” speculation that occurs after any new legislation is introduced. Such information should not be withheld if requested but not volunteered; it is hardly a material consideration*. There has to be a limit on what an agent can be expected to know; should you provide a feng shui assessment?

*If it were a material consideration should it not be included in your brochures and website property description? I don’t think so. Caveat emptor hasn’t been repealed!

you would not be able to sell as a private seller using rightmove or zoopla, access to these portals is restricted to agents, but that can include on line agents if they offer a traditional estate agents service

This comment was removed at the request of the user

not sure what your point is I’ve read the article and gone onto house simple who charge approx £1000 to sell your house using zoopla and no doubt right move

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Let me start off by saying that I am an estate agent and have been for over 30 years. There are so many other elements to this than meets the eye. The standard line is that ‘online’ (an odd phrase as all estate agents are online) don’t have expensive premises to run and can pass on their savings. Looking at my accounts the office premises (rent, rates etc) are only approximately 10% of my overall costs so they must be saving money elsewhere to operate at such low levels. There is no local newspaper advertising included in their deals so you are effectively excluding any buyers that may come through this medium. I have seen some of the photography that ‘online ‘ agents (shocking) and generally no brochures are produced. Of course the biggest saving is on experienced local people and this is something that is hard to attribute a value to. However, what does it matter if you go ‘online’ without these extras as long as you still sell your home?

let me put it this way, the price you achieve for your home will be dependent upon the number of buyers your agent can introduce. I work in the SE (outside London) and for the past 6 years we have had too many buyers and not enough houses. Simple ‘supply and demand’ states that prices will rise until supply and demand are better balanced. Let’s look at an example:

Take a £300,000 house in my area. Purplebricks will charge £798 including VAT whereas my charges would be £3,600 including VAT. Going ‘online’ will potentially save you £2,802. But this assumes that everything else is equal and it simply isn’t. Within 10 miles of our imaginary our property for sale I have a network of 8 offices employing over 50 people whereas the online model has a single ‘local’ representative. Our own professional photographer will take the photos, this will make the property stand out from its competition on the property portals, we then produce a brochure that potential buyers will show to friends and family who will back up their decision to buy. We have access to a mailing list of over 1,500 potential buyers who we pick up the phone and speak to. These are people that we know, people that we have been speaking with and building relations with for some time. We run adverts in the local press, book the viewings for you, accompany the viewings for you.

If our imaginary house generates a single offer, at what level do you think that will be? Of course it could be at the asking price but putting ourselves in the position of the buyer we’d ask if the agent had received any offers and when told ‘no’ then it’s more likely that we’d chance our arm, so lets be positive and suggest an offer somewhere between £290,000 and £295,000. So how about if there are two potential buyers? my experience tells me that we would achieve the asking prices and possibly a little more. If we had three potential buyers then it’s likely that we will receive offers over the asking price. To sum up, the difference between introducing a single buyer and multiple buyers could be anywhere between £5,000 and £15,000.

Common sense surely says that if you have better marketing and better access to buyers then this will produce better results. I would put my team of over 50 people with their local knowledge, our presentation skills, our database of active local buyers against any ‘online only’ offering. I know that we will generate those extra buyers and achieve our clients better prices over and above the potential saving on fees. In addition our service model is more comprehensive, we do everything for our clients from accompanied viewings, dealing with offers, sorting out chains (because we probably know the other agents involved) negotiating poor surveys (with our access to local trades people) and even negotiating our clients onward purchase (often saving thousands). This experience and local knowledge means that less than 10% of our sales ‘fall through’ against a national average of somewhere around 30%.

We only get paid if our client accepts an offer they are 100% happy with, if we don’t perform we don’t get paid. If you go online you will pay regardless of whether you sell or not.

Of course there are good and bad online offerings and good and bad high street agencies so you need to do your homework. I am sure there is room for both models within the industry and competition is always a good thing. The main point I wanted to make is you can’t just focus on the price, you need to look at the end result, which is a combination of the service provided, the sale price achieved and the costs incurred.

Stepping over the pounds for pence spring to mind using an online agent.

Yes they can put your property on a website like right move but they do not do a fraction of work compared to a traditional agent.

We all know how bad call centers are and this is what online estate agents are.

My opinion is most traditional agents find and negotiate the best offer and really earn their money progressing the sale its nice to use somebody that can deal with the stress so i do not have to.

leon says:
5 February 2016

The reality is online agents have found a more cost efficient way to market properties the same way as high street agents do. Without charging extortionate fee’s.

We all know the main way to sell a property these days is on the net. If this wasn’t the case then RightMove and Zoopla wouldn’t be getting 70 million hits a week.

To place a property online, wait for enquiries to come in, find a buyer then charge the vendor £4000 + is absurd!

Online = £800 ( after some research online agents can do viewings for an additional cost – still much cheaper than the high street)

High street = £4000 +

Not a hard decision really!

Ii read with interest what Oxford Agent said, as I prefer to do most things online. He makes a good case, but not compelling enough. Estate agents have such a bad press and my previous dealings mean I don’t generally don’t trust them to do all the extras that mean they provide value for money. So if i am only going to get a basic service then why not pay the lower price, and sell online only.
I do agree the online agents need to up there game too. The problem is they are only looking to gain market share from the high street agents, and it’s such an easy target they don’t have to try that hard or be that good.
The best of both will survive.
High street agents need to move away from % based fees and more of a fixed tier price structure to compete. After all what they do seems to me to be relatively fixed, so why pay a handsom % just because my house is bigger than next doors.

I agree with much of what you say Anthony
I dont like Oxford Agent who is yet another one hit wonder who whilst putting his case would not win me over…………
As I have said two of my children have bought houses in recent times
The first took near to 8 months yet the agent repeatedly said immediate occupation followed by soon,,,soon,,,soon to we went and visited the seller…………………A little firm explanation that we had made the offer on the basis that the house would be vacated several months ago got a move on

The second offer was on a vacant house and again we were told a load of rubbish……
The agent told us the septic system was tested whatever that meant but the wayleave to access it was not sorted
The water supply was supplying two properties but we were not told………
Again we visited the seller and the brother who’s yard borders the house and within three days everything was pointing in the right direction……………….Neither the seller or his brother had been asked to sign anything
They were both in with the solicitor within days and signed wayleaves for everything…………..
They paid for the new water connection the same day and within a week the connection had been made

Estate agents are the same as many businesses………………Constantly complaining about the net and not changing with the times
The times have changed and we will not be going back
The % they got from waffle was/is too much
I know one will come on here again and defend them but when we are looking we dont walk up the high street looking at windows we lift our laptops and they are all there to see and quite a lot are listed by the owners and why not
Its the solicitors and financiers who check everything and verify the property fit for the loan
Ask an agent if the immersion works,,,,,,,,did they try it,,,,,,,did they try the boiler,,,,,,,,,,,,

Not single item in our two purchases was tried by the agent,,,,,,,,,,not one,,,,,,,,,not their job
I have no objection to agents selling houses…………many owners do not want to sell their own for a miriad of reasons but the commission gained for walking around talking a house up are rather a lot

They are salesmen,,,,,,,,,if you want them have them but I’ve had my fill as has my two children and the seller and brother or so they tell me anyhow……………..

I’m not sure I would dismiss ‘Oxford Agent’ as a “one-hit wonder”, DeeKay. With over 400 properties on the market in one of the prime property hotspots in the UK at prices from £100K to the low millions the firm is obviously doing something right and by all appearances is one of the better agents that I would have no hesitation in using.

He’s a one hit wonder who arrives posts a right giving it some post and is off
One hit wonder as in one hit and I’m off
I’m glad you’d be happy to use his business………..

Well he might pop in again – it’s early days for this discussion. These Conversations always benefit from having someone from the trade to give their side of the story.

I understand the problems your family has had with delinquent agents; I also think of the unmentioned Knotweed problem reported in another Conversation. Unfortunately when buying we have no say in who the agent is, and it’s worth bearing in mind that the agent is always on the side of the seller.

I would have assumed that an agent would be on the side of the seller but the young man who showed me round a property advised me to ‘put in a cheeky offer’ on the basis that the vendors had moved out a couple of months before and wanted to get their house sold. I took his advice and it worked, but it’s fairly obvious that few will want to have money tied up in a property they are not using and still has to be looked after.

I’m with you with estate agents. Couldn’t tell you the last time I looked in an agents window and most people do their house shopping online through one of the big portals. Have sold 4 homes via “non-high street” online agents and just accepted an offer on another via Urban Sales and Lettings. 2 of the others were here in the UK and 2 in the USA . In the USA the potential $$ to be saved was even higher as agents fees are generally 3% to buy and 3% to sell BUT at least you know that your buyers agent is only acting for you and won’t disclose anything about your situation. In addition, they’re far more tightly regulated and don;t ever send out unqualified staff who know nothing about a property to do viewings. In the past, using High Street agents here I’ve been lied to , had people knock on my door and say they’ve been trying to get an appt to view through the agent (the agent wasn’t arranging for a viewing because they didn’t have my best interests at heart and were protecting the person who’d already made an offer) and on one occasion with a very well known agent here in the NE a purchase was delayed by 3-4 weeks whilst the vendor had the keys (from the same agent) for the home she purchasing and had decorated it from top to toe before the sale went through!
Before we moved to the USA we were selling via a non high street agent and one of our potential buyers went into another well known agent and asked how much she thought they should pay for our house. She compared it with another 3 bed home on the same street which they’d sold a year earlier for £25k (around 8%) less than our asking price and advised him not to pay anymore than that. What she failed to take into consideration was that our house was a different age and style and built bigger, had been extended (it offered 40% more square footage) and had an almost brand new bathroom and kitchen compared to 1970s in the house they’d sold a year earlier. Unfortunately for the potential buyer we’d looked at all the comp’s before listing the house for sale to make sure it was priced to sell, and I told him the same when he used the info she gave him to make an offer at 10% below the asking price.
Maybe it’s worth getting an agent if you’re selling a prestige property (although I would choose very carefully) or want someone to do the viewings (although some non -traditional agents do offer this now, along with a brochure you can print off yourself) I’ve seen many bad photographs and descriptions from high street agents and some don’t put the room dimensions in the online description, or even tell you whether it’s leasehold or freehold and I can’t believe the state of some of the floorplans some agents are producing. The information that agents have to provide when they advertise a property another thing that is far more stringent in the USA because they all use the Multiple listing service.

“Oxford Agent” and his fifty selling staff in eight branches might be a model agency but sadly most firms do not come up to his proclaimed standards. One only has to look inside the property pages of any local paper to see poor thumbnail pictures, inadequate descriptions, no street name given, vague asking prices, and corny [and sometimes illiterate] verbiage. The same is often true if you look at property on Rightmove etc – just three photos sometimes, cliché-ridden descriptions, no floor plans, fatuous waffle, important information omitted, and the date of an ‘open house’ viewing opportunity two weeks previously! It’s no wonder sellers are looking elsewhere for a selling service at an acceptable price that is related more to the amount and quality of the work done than the selling-price achieved. I frequently laugh at properties advertised in a “much sought-after location” still on the market three months after they first appeared.

Having said all that I would still use a high street agent but I would pick a good one, not based on their commission rate or their property valuation [since I probably have as good an idea as they do on that]. There are three things which I think a good conventional agent can do that you will not get from a remote web service – (1) have a list of people who want your type of property in your area [you can check this out before you formally instruct them], (2) know the status of the people on their books [whether they have funds in hand, a mortgage in principle, something to sell, etc], and (3) handle the offer and after process for you, especially the progressing of the transaction up and down the chains and through the various conveyancers and mortgage providers. These benefits are worth paying for in my opinion. Agents make a big thing about doing the viewings; it’s not that tricky and as a prospective buyer I have seen some pretty amateurish viewings handled by the office junior in some cases I think.

When I bought my first property some decades ago it was quite usual to offer ten percent less than the asking price and settlement would be about five percent less. Try that today! People are haggling over a thousand or two on a quarter million pound property and sellers are whingeing about the fees which, in the scale of things, are not that significant.

I have always thought that agents can get away with their percentage-based commission rates [usually 1½-2% in my area] because nobody has to sit down and write out a cheque – it all comes out in the wash when the solicitor presents the completion statement and you can see that the agent [who takes no risks except it might not sell] has received £5,000 and the solicitor [who takes lots of risk with documentation] gets £1,000 [including disbursements, searches, etc]. The estate agents’ percentage commission rate is an inflation-busting escalator that rarely bears any direct relationship to the amount and quality of work performed. I think it’s time that changed and maybe the new outfits on the block will bring that on.

Incidentally, agents also like to boast about the number of staff they can deploy; in most firms that I have seen a fair number of those are dedicated to handling the letting trade and should be discounted from the number supporting the sales side of the business.

Much of what the Oxford Agent said is sensible. Some might have strong views (as do I on some topics) but we need to see all sides of the argument presented. I have several times before asked if Which? would get all sides to contribute to a topic in the hope of getting a more balanced discussion. And we don’t know everything – another voice from another discipline might just provide some useful information. We need to encourage all contributors.

I would welcome back the other voice but I have learned that on Which many devoted/besotted with their industry/notion people arrive write a long and very committed story laying claim to all sorts of things and be gone…………………
I am sure others would welcome him back more than I so lets have him back because he could answer their questions and perhaps more importantly he might even listen
Very few people in the UK complain or make their views known face to face……..We’d rather shake hands “nicley” and complain to ourselves later so saying one has many many satisfied customers is but an opinion
Time will tell

This one hit wonder posting does not get by any means both sides of the story………………..
“We have been told and we will listen because he knows” is what it boils down to…………He know’s what he wants is maybe closer to the truth
He is no longer around for any of us to ask a question or allay our feeling/experience/alarms some of us found with the service

It is fair to say that we should hear from both sides but to date we have heard more about Estate Agents than online sales…….At the point when Oxford posted we certainly had heard more because he wrote more

Perhaps the peoples views are due to bad memories
One may remember a good turn but a bad turn stays with you forever

I note that there has not been a bonifide representation from either camp………….This seems to be quite usual but why do business’s/manufacturers etc not put their case on Which???

If one has a strong view as some do then one should not have the “hear from both sides” near to every time one voices one’s strong views
The title of the topic asks a question………In answering the question one voices one’s views and is invited to voice ones views……….I’m not here to discuss the situation,,,,,,,,,,,,I am here to voice my experience of which I have had two very recent personal experiences neither of which could ever be called first class but the fee was first class…………..Whether it matters or not to anyone but my experience involved my wife and I supplying better than the deposit in both cases so it seem that just now I am the only one who has paid for this privilege…….
When a poster such as Oxford posts and another posts with opposing views is this not too be expected
The views of Oxford Agent could only have been considered as nothing less strong………..Oxford certainly put his case for the Agents………..Much much stronger than any post to that point……….In my view he came on and was intent to put this to bed as such…………

My point is that times are changing…………Oxford in my opinion is hanging on to the old way……….The Oxfords will have to change whether some continue to use them or not and many will continue to use them but it does take a majority to change things……………Once a large percentage starts to use online selling and it is heading that way then the Agents will either have to change or see their share shrink
This is no different than online many things
How many people go into a motorcycle dealership and buy an Arai or Shoei helmet or an Alpine Stars suit
Many may and do go and try the items on only to find the same item online and a much reduced price
I know personally one such dealer………..Bonafide had a dealership with the undisputed biggest bike brand in the business and because he would not give in he went under…………….He simply asks how did you know,,,,,,,,how did you tell me this would happen as I had……………I told him I had no crystal ball,,,I just seen how the market was moving……………..and even more important I seen he was not moving with it…………..
Customers are only loyal for a little while………….Once they see more and more success in buying cheaper with the same product they start to jump ship and as the ship empties the more more jump the faster

High mark up’s,,,,,,,,,,,high commissions are the first hits of the online entrepreneur when they are lookin to set up the next online success………………..
Estate agents get a “nice” commissioned from a very valuable commodity……………It is that nice commission that is so easily cut into……………….
If they could see and some may what is coming at them they should have cut their commission before the large online sites got their foot in the door

Mark my words,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,in ten years the majority of house sales will be done online…………….there may be online estate agents who do the showing but they will not have a high street shop front and they will charge a fraction of today’s fee’s
There are many business ran off of smart phones today,,,,,,,,,,,,this on can also

Hi there Dee,

Your comments are a little unfair. I posted in the early hours of Friday morning then went to work. My role in the business is time consuming and I simply didn’t have time to read through the various other comments until today. Very happy to answer any questions you may have.

I am passionate about my industry and keen to engage.

I welcome you back……….You will be welcomed by all I’m sure

Good,,,,you are what many need to answer the questions that will appear

I dont have any just now but I may do
You must understand that there are many folk who post similar to yourself and be gone for good

I am not anti Agent but I have two bad experiences and if I were alone that would not be so bad

Perhaps you will gather some benefit from the comments of others

But anyhow I’m not your enemy…………I’ll deal with anyone…………..but I all like the posters to stick around………….

It is your industry………it is your business……….This is one of the biggest forums for consumers around and whilst one may see the regulars there are many more readers who never post……………
You have a great platform to put your case,,,,,,,,,,,,You have an even better opportunity to use the comments to as I posted move with the times because the times are moving in almost every service

Sorry if I offended in any way…………I’m a little to the point but I am not alone


Hi Dee,

No offence taken 🙂

Thank you very much Oxford
I may be rough at times but I’m not all bad
I would like to see a well meaning business succeed but I am often very critical if I see service lacking or the idea that things cant change or should not be allowed to change
As my motorcycle dealer story shows one simply cannot complain about the internet and give 100s of reasons why the old fashioned way is better
It is simply putting off the inevitable

You are on here answering various questions and you’ll pick up on some things that may or may be to your advantage

Many multinationals and huge businesses have and are failing because they stand still
Kingfisher comes to mind as perhaps a better example and seems to be moving with the times……………We have had a lot of B&Q closures with the associated job losses but there may be an upside
Kingfisher has opened new Screwfix branches all over and in particular B&Q areas
B&Q was not the cheapest but was nowhere near as expensive as some made out but it was becoming dated…………….
A load of B&Q type goods had became normal online purchases

The whole retail market is a changing lets say
Not so long ago one would not have imagined Tesco/Asda/Spendsburys doing home delivery………………..
Like your Estate business things were/are changing
I like Screwfix because I can sit down get a cuppa,,,,check their local stock and place an order…………….I walk in the door they recognise me now and hand me the goods……………….I’m home in less than an hour……………
Yes I still use the builders yard but the builders yard is missing out because they are just that “the builders yard”
The builders yard will survive just as long as they realise that some of their stock is moving slowly and reduce that stock…………..

You I’m sure would be lost without the online house marketing sites……….I now the agents here use them but the problem is that the agents are still charging the same commission for the same old same old and it is becoming so very dated

One has to compete
Wave has made comment about 1/2 hour viewing whilst owner sellers had all the time in the world as such because they want to sell their house
Yes you will have seen so many walk arounds with no sale and the owner will not and is so easy to be out off but the owner sellers will only have to put up with the time wasters once or twice in a lifetime if ever to save 1000s

I have went with my kid’s to look at houses and the owner sellers were so nice and laid it all out to see whereas the agents had another showing to do at 1.30 and we have to be quick………..
That has to stop…………….That is one major gripe if not THE major gripe………its not like they are not being well enough paid…………..
Yes there will be numerous viewings without a sale but the agent should know his market well enough to make the property attractive priced to suit the property and the area……………..One can sell anything if the price is right………….The customer decides the price as you have pointed out
Time to view or a second or third viewing should be welcomed not scorned as often are
Near every house is 100k and many several 100k………….A car salesman and I have known some right thugs there will spend more time selling a used car than some estate agents will with a house

My daughter got a bargain because we looked at a house that was far from tidy
Cats everywhere………..Plaster scraped with claws everywhere
Good area,,,,,,,,wrong person is the way her man puts it…..
It suited because her man is a plasterer by trade but if that had not been the case the repairs would have been a fortune
The plumbing was new but anything but functional but Dad knows his way around that stuff
So they grabbed a good deal……………..
The other way to look at it is that the seller found a buyer which to that point had not been forthcoming……………
Again I have to remind everyone if it had not been wifey and I paying a visit the children were ready to walk away after months of promises……….
The promises that never happen dont really fit with the commissions

My son who is about to move we hope and everything is according to the mortgage advisor and solicitors no thanks to the agent a cannot help but write and is near ready to go and they had a different but equally good deal
Actually the cheapest good bungalow 1500′ for many miles
Cheap because it is backed up by a farm yard
Again,,,,,,,,horses for courses……….maybe bovines in this case………..
The seller knew it had limitations as did the agent………….
My son was brought up beside cattle and rattly metal gates………He and his wife have lived for a few years in a Dairy farmyard house
They’ll have no trouble with the new house and are happy at the price
The seller I know is happy because again we had to visit him and his brother who owns the yard to get things moving
Again promises that were empty…………Things not being done
I might add there that the Estate Agents are in fact related and in organisations that we are in so if we got less than perfect treatment others may not fair any better
As to their future there with the yard to the nearby rear
The farmer has on only daughter who is marrying another much larger farmer some 30 miles away with several times the land of her father
We already know that the farmer does not intend farming the land forever and it will most likely be rented out within 10 to 15 years……………The deall is not through and he has already ask my son if he would have an interest in the yard come the time………….You’ll know my sons answer………..The property would boom as a result.
So communication is vital…………..

Oxford……..watch the marketplace………….watch the bigger picture………before you know an almost invisible competition can move in and quicker than you realise your expenses can overcome you…………
I’m not warning,,,,,,I’m observing……………..
You can move with the times but you have to move with them or if possible forecast the next move and be there ahead of the game………not move with the times because you are being dragged along kicking……….
That is what the Zoopla’s of this world are doing and I’m not sure these friends/relations/agents of ours are convinced of that…………..It may be to their peril in the end………

I think thats me finished telling my personal stories on the subject.
Again Oxford,,,,,,,glad to see you back………..I’m off your case now

p.s. If myself DeeKay had not given you such a hard time for being a been and gone one hit wonder would you have came back??????????
Had the cloud got a silver lining………………..Your next customer come Monday may turn around and tell you this story about an estate agent on Which who made his point and seemed like a good guy

I started looking at houses early in January, first to help a friend who needed help to spot problems and then looking for a house for me in a different area. We have been shown round houses by estate agents and by homeowners. Where homeowners were involved they were happy to spend a long time answering questions but some of the agents allow as little as half an hour per viewing. That’s enough if to have a brief tour of the house and gardens but not if you want to look for problems. Having made an offer on a house and arranged a survey, I wanted to look at a list of things that the surveyor will not be checking, like the electrical system, the heating system, the showers and other plumbing, fences, trees, and so on. The office manager told me that we could have only half an hour and if we wanted longer I would have to book another viewing. Pointing out that we had been there for considerably longer during the previous viewings cut no ice and I pointed out that it was absurd not to let a purchaser have the opportunity to check for problems. As it happened, we were not hurried and managed to check everything on the list.

As a buyer, it did not really matter whether properties were marketed with glossy brochures or on emoov. When I have moved and put my present property up for sale I will probably do this via an agent so that I don’t have to show anyone around. I might insist on using my own text and photos, because I’m fed-up with the superlatives used by agents and the distorted photos that can make a broom cupboard look like a large room.

A regional estate agent uses the term ‘guide price’ for many of the properties it advertises, sometimes giving a figure and sometimes a price range. A friend was interested in a house with a guide price range of £25k and not surprisingly her offer of less than the lower figure was turned down. Then she made an offer that was a few thousand above the minimum of the guide price range, and the agent came back and said that the minimum the vendor would take was £15k above the minimum in the guide price range. Eventually they agreed to take a couple of thousand less.

There was no indication that anyone had made a higher offer but it seems wrong for the agent to advertise a guide price range and the vendor is not prepared to sell at the lower end of the price range.

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Maybe, but since the offer was made via the agent, why did the agent not update the guide price range online? There was a three week period after an offer within the price range was declined and a higher offer being accepted.

Wavechange – One example of a banned practice under the Consumer Protection Regulations is using what are described as ‘bait advertising techniques’ [when marketing a property] such as “using a broad ‘guide price’ (such as ‘£150,000 to 200,000′) when you have reason to believe that the seller has no intention of accepting an offer at the lower end of the range’.

You might wish to declare a foul.

Thanks John. I will pass on the information to my friend whose offer was declined. I cannot see an easy way to establish whether the vendor or agent was at fault without causing embarrassment. If it had been me buying the house I would have done my best to find out.

I think ‘guide price’, which has been imported from the auction business, is an unhelpful element in an already difficult negotiation. It probably means the agent is not sure of their valuation and wants to test the market. If ‘guide price’ is used then it should be a true representation of the seller’s room for manouevre; setting an unrealistic entry threshold is a form of false enticement that is not particularly honourable even if it is legal. I am not sure that the Scottish system of ‘offers in excess of’ is any better and that is creeping into the rest of the UK, especially where the market is moving rapidly. At least the Scottish system is generally well conducted with honesty and good faith.

Honesty is what I’m looking for, John. I believe that under the Scottish system it’s essential to have a survey done before before making an offer because the offer is a contract, whereas in England the offer can be re-negotiated if the survey uncovers major problems.

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Yes Duncan and John etc Scots law makes an offer and offer to rely on and stops people putting two offers on at the same time……….It also helps the buyers because offers by a date are then opened and the best or most appropriate offer is accepted……………..
Here where I am is a little like England,,,,offers come and offers go and it quickly can get into an auction situation which is fine for the seller you’d think but so many offers are then withdrawn

‘Gazumping’ is a nick-name for the buyer accepting a better offer from another prospective buyer after already having accepted a first offer. It is prohibited in Scotland but the law is silent on it in the rest of the UK, so it can and does happen. I don’t like it, but agents are in a difficult position – they are under a legal obligation to submit every offer received to the seller and if they get one that is better, and the seller accepts it, the first party has to live with that and either improve their first offer or walk away. It might not be a matter of price – it could be that the second offer is more viable because of cash in hand or ability to complete sooner [being chain-free is a massive advantage].

‘Gazundering’ is a despicable practice which I think should be outlawed. It’s when an offer has been accepted, the property has been taken off the market, the legal processes are in train, and then, just before exchange of contracts, the buyer says they can only go ahead at a reduced price – not because of a bad survey report, or a funding problem, but just cynically in order to get the property for less money knowing that the seller would otherwise have to start the selling process all over again and might even be in a chain that would be broken. I am sure that no professional estate agent would condone such behaviour and I would expect them, if they got the chance, to advise strongly against it, but it is not illegal – just an act of very bad faith. It doesn’t seem to be happening much nowadays but it was a feature of the market some years ago when property prices were actually falling. A good agent will know enough about the prospective purchasers he or she has introduced, having met them and spoken to them face to face as well as possibly having had them on their books for some time as house-hunters, to be reasonably sure that such a contemptible situation will not arise; I would not be so confident about an on-line agent’s ability to judge their buyers’ integrity. Of course, there can be legitimate circumstances before exchange of contracts when a buyer has no alternative but to abandon the purchase and there is no relief for the seller in that position. Luckily in a forward-moving market there are usually one or more disappointed prospective purchasers who can be contacted to revive the sale.

Hi John,

You make some very valid points within your posts. How to phrase the asking price is sometimes a difficult decision . The problem we have in the current market conditions is unless you have a modern estate style property where there are plenty of comparisons it is almost impossible to value accurately. The advice we are giving to our clients at present is that while we research values to provide accurate advice it will be the market itself that dictates the final value.

We never use price ranges or ‘offers in excess of’ but we do use ‘guide price’ followed by a specific number which accurately reflects our opinion of value (never artificially higher or lower than it should be). We do this to indicate to buyers that we have not fixed a set ‘asking price’.

Prior to adopting this policy we had situations where a property was launched to the market, numerous appointments to view were set up and then the first person through the door offered the ‘asking price’ with understandable comments along the lines of ‘I have offered the asking price, why won’t you sell it to me’. The use of guide price allows us to test the market so that when we recommend an offer to our clients we are confident it is a true reflection of the market value (whether that is higher or lower than the guide).

If ‘guide price’ replaced ‘asking price’ on the terms and conditions which you describe I wouldn’t quibble with that. Simplistically, the right valuation is the one that attracts just one buyer who offers it in full and is accepted. Since the only way to discover that is to expose the property to the market in an appealing manner, agents need to concentrate on presenting all the attractive features of a property, illustrate and describe it properly and honestly, and understand the desires of their house-hunting clients to avoid time-wasting. Such attention to meeting buyers’ needs should outpace the efforts of on-line services in my opinion, but the high street needs to get a move on and demonstrate that competence. There is more to the deal than the price as location counts for a lot as well as room sizes and layout, condition and quality of decor, and where the seller is in terms of their next move.

With the current market conditions in some areas very uncertain and valuations unpredictable, negotiation skills come to the fore. Buyers who offer what they believe is a fair price approximating to the guide price need to be reassured on how they will be treated in the event of competing offers. I have never seen this set out formally and there is a suspicion that it is all a bit haphazard with more than a touch of improvisation. My own view is that where there is a ‘guide price’ rather than an ‘asking price’ the closing stages should more resemble an auction than a settlement based on the first one to offer the asking price or get the closest to it [all other factors being equal].

The guide price range has not affected me because I ignored properties offered by the agent that was using this term. The only reason for not being prepared to sell at a price within the range would be if someone else has offered a higher price, say within a couple of weeks.

Imagine what would happen if a shopkeeper advertised goods in their window and was not prepared to accept the price. An estate agent may be paid by the vendor, but it’s not right to waste the time of potential purchasers.

Hear! Hear!

It has never been easier in the history of house selling for agents to keep the market fully informed at all times. Greater transparency is required.

I think using a price range is misleading and unhelpful; using a single price point as a guide without committing to it as an asking price is helpful in certain circumstances as Oxford Agent has indicated.

Houses are one of those “commodities” where what they are worth is what someone is prepared to pay. As a vendor would you not accept the best price that was offered?

You can partially value a house in “real terms” by what it would cost to build the physical structure. The part that is more difficult is to value the land it occupies because this involves intangibles – location, desirability, communications and so on.

“Guide price”,simply sets the price area the agent thinks it should be in – just as an auction catalogue sets guide prices on the lots up for sale. But if it is not a “common” house, where its value can be related to similar properties in the area, then it is only reasonable to let the market decide.

What I am not happy with is a house being advertised at a price that the vendor is not prepared to sell for. That is dishonest in my book. They should set a higher price and take the best offer.

Anyone who wants to sell their house by auction is welcome to do this. That may be a good solution where a house is difficult to value.

It surely is the vendor’s prerogative to decide how to sell his property. If their are competing offers that go beyond the “asking” price then providing no offer has been accepted at that stage, I would certainly not refuse the highest offer that resulted.

A tender process (sealed bids) for more unique properties is one way of dealing with them.

You are right Malcolm but the bidders are often p****d about for weeks and months and we are trusting an agent that the bids really exist…………
What happened to “the customer always being right” Is that only for Tesco’s??
This is not an open and transparent process…………I know it would be difficult to have everyone knowing who everyone else was because some people know no limits about threats etc so I think the tenders by date is fair
Take my word,,,,,,,,,I had looked for years at a time for a ideal property in Caithness and I didnt see any sellers getting a bad price for their houses
We thought we had put in good offers well above the asking price but it was not enough
Anyhow its all relevant is it not……….. most people are selling to buy again and if the market is pushed higher by bidding you’ll have to give more for your next house in the same way…..
I’m not of the opinion that ever rising house prices are a good thing anyhow…………it just pumps inflation up and makes getting your first house an ever bigger problem

Malcolm – The house was advertised with guide price range and when a friend offered an amount within this range she was told that the vendor had refused and would not sell for less than £…k. If the vendors had wanted time to wait for other offers, that would have been fine, but the message was that they would not sell at the advertised price. Others have suggested that the agent has advertised a lower price to generate interest in the property, but I do not know if this is the case.

Whoever came up with the lower figure is being dishonest. Auctions and sealed bids are other ways of selling houses, but are not relevant to the case I am discussing.

Yes Wave,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Many houses here go on for months one bid after another like a closed auction and no one knows who,what, when………..
How can one buy a house when your offer hangs around for a few weeks to see if anyone betters the offer…………..
It often ends up in a difficult situation of the bidder being hungs out to dry as such in an effort to get the seller more money
There are two sides to this story and the mechanism should be fair to both sides
I like the Scottish idea,,,,,,,Offers over £xxxxx………put the offer in and envelope and all are opened on a preset date…………….the highest or prefered offer is accepted and everyone knows where they stand all within a couple of weeks
It is legally binding unlike the rest of the UK which is a hit and miss as some 1930s engines…………..
I also think there should be a much better and secure home inspection like Canada,,,,,,,,,,,here comes Beryl again I’m sure……….your welcome dear……………All the places my daughter looked at had proper information on everything……….I have all the copies here,,,,,,,,,,The Furnace(Boiler to us) and every other piece of equipment in the place was ran and tested whereas here we’re expected to accept being told “it was working when last used etc”
Do we buy a car with no fuel in the tank,,,,,,no of course we dont…….why should we buy a house with no fuel in the tank…………

The Scottish system might suit me, DK.

Hi Dee,

A couple of points here, you can pay to get everything tested should you wish to do so, I am not sure if you think that should be the job of the agent or you think surveyors reports should be more comprehensive. Also, the average estate agents fee in Canada is around 2.5% to 3.5%. Two to three times more than we charge in the UK. I guess you get what you pay for…?

As best I see from the properties my daughter looked at each one had a comprehensive report already on it which had already been paid for by the seller

Here one can have a report done but its the buyer who pays which can and does mean that more than one buyer may have have paid for the same info on the same house
Anything else anyone goes to sell the onus is on the seller to make right or point out flaws potential flaws so how come a house seller can get the money and walk away whilst the buyer in effect assumes responsibility….
It is obvious form reports that many houses are sold less than perfect and I simply ask why this is allowed…………..
It is not everyone who can inspect their own house

Yes surveyors reports should be comprehensive in the first place
What is the point of having a supposed professional do any inspection at all if it is not too cover the house as a whole,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,that is what is done in Canada
I feel the surveyors here are in cop out again by charging for a half hearted effort that more of less only covers the structure…………..They are qualified professionals who have the ability to inspect a house so why not do so…….and why not do so from the outset at the sellers expense…………If there are problems they are the sellers problems…………..the seller owns the house……..it should be the seller who puts things right not get his builder/plumber etc mate to cover up something for sale………..It has/does and continues to happen…………..

My daughter looked at properties that had no home report……………vastly reduced price………..they were obviously fixer uppers….
Here some are giving top dollar for problems that they find after they move in
Canada has a proper quality inspection scheme in place and all buildings must meet code as they say for their era and even some later codes must be met so either the property has to be fit for habitation or no report
I have even seen houses get retested for draughts/leaks to get their report……..if they pass of course……………If the house does not pass the owner is welcome to effect repairs updates on problems/potential problems and the report will be issued
That pressure test is of course normal there but is and never was part of Building control regs here……………

I dont really care what agents get in Canada,,,,,,,,,I didnt mention agents rates in Canada………….
My daughter is married on a Canadian,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,My mother has lived in Canada for 48 years,,,,,,,,,,,,,I have worked in Canada……………

What I am getting at is simple

Firstly that houses are certified fit for purpose……….They are certified elsewhere much better than here and there is no reason other than avoidance the same cannot be achieved here………….

Secondly and it does not matter whether the price is guide price,from price, offers over,,,, that the process is prompt which it obviously is not at present….

Third,,,,,,That when a house is for sale and when agents state written or verbally that everything is okay as such that the agent then takes responsibility for seeing to it that that is the case…………..At present it seems that agents assure potential buyers that everything about the property is good to go as such only to find after the buyer/bidder puts in an offer and the offer is accepted that that the Solicitor or Surveyor flags a problem…………..
The buyer/bidder has committed and most will at minimum try and see it through but the bidder relied on the agent as the expert who they see as having should had everything checked out when they had not………
This is yet more weight in favour of proper home reports but at present if an agent states that all is good to go they should have made sure they were correct before opening their mouths

Again the system needs change………..Simply defending the agent does not fix things………..

If you buy a car from a private seller then unless they mislead you the onus is on you to check the car is OK. If you buy a house and do not know what to look for a full survey is worthwhile. The difficulty is your survey cost might be wasted if another buyer is accepted or if the survey shows a problem that you cannot negotiate around with the vendor.

If the vendor commissioned a surveyor to do a full survey as part of a seller’s pack it might avoid some of the problems; if the property was on the market a long time it may need updating. Providing any mistakes in the survey were fully insured by the surveyor then the buyer would be protected. A property does not need to be sold in perfect condition; most are not. However I suspect most surveys would still have exclusion clauses – potential defects and items that could not be properly inspected – buried pipes, wires, underfloor structures, drain damage and so on so it would still leave the potential buyer to decide how much risk to take.

In Scotland it is a legal requirement for the seller to provide a Home Report when selling a property. There was an attempt to do something similar in England & Wales [I am not sure about Northern Ireland] with a Home Information Pack but implementation of this was quashed by the new government in 2010 as there were many objections to it and it was seen as an expensive encumbrance to a fluid property market. All that survived was the increasingly irrelevant Energy Performance Certificate which seems to rarely contain more than two things: a statement of the blindingly obvious and a recommendation of the prohibitively expensive [sorry, I am probably far too cynical about this piece of bureaucracy].

Thanks John,,,,,,,,,,,,,No NI is still living in the past otherwise ourselves and our children would have been saved a load of trouble
Both our children got houses with mortgage payments not a lot more than their rent but they had to pay several months rent each amounting to several £1000s of pounds to wait around………..
That money could have went toward their houses

I cannot help but hit at the agents again
When people go looking for a house we expect professionals,,,,,,,,,we dont buy houses every day………….they sell houses every day…….They make out to be professionals and get professionals rates.
We the public are not to be expected to know that when an agent tells us that everything is ready to go that we should think otherwise……………We can only believe them……………They put themselves in that position…………..We have been in effect told lies……………And not once or by one agent but several………….

The other thing a comprehensive “home report” stops is this “trying the market”
My sons house had obvious things that the agent should have made us aware of
Those things needed doing no matter what way the house was to be sold…………..
The agent and owner were both chancing their arm………….
If the place didnt get an offer they didnt need to pay for the changes………………But the place was for sale we were told so why not make it ready for sale first….

I pointed out earlier that one would not buy a car without fuel in the tank so why buy a house with no oil in the tank
Someone replied to that and said that the sale of a private car carries no warranty and neither should a house sale……………B*****s to that……..
The sale of a house involves an agent,,,,,,,,,,,,solicitors,,,,,,,,,,,,,,finance companies………..this is far from a private sale…………..
The goods should be fit for purpose and a proper inspection should be done
No one would try selling a car with no MOT and expect top dollar for it but this is what is happening in housing
If the property does not meet a minimum standard it can still be sold but the lack of report will reflect the price………..
If the wiring has not been redone when should be and this is a requirement has no record or the plumbing has had no records then no report
100 year old plumbing does not suggest reliable or maintained………….There could be lead pipe,,,,,,,,then what do you do,,,,,,,,,,,,,,go get another loan to get that sorted
Catch yourself on
Too many people are buying homes and are forced to take a chance
People are selling homes because they know there are problems
It can be done many other places so there is no reason it cannot be done here……

I can and have looked at rural property in Caithness mostly using Zoopla and ask for the details
When I get the details I know they will be pretty close to correct……………
Caithness property can be near 450 miles for us plus a ferry crossing……………….
If I wanted to look in the rest of the UK I’m taking a chance,,,,simple as that
But 450 miles to find obvious problems is way over the top
People all over the UK are in the same boat…………driving half the length of the country to look at rubbish

I don’t understand how people are being forced to take a chance, every buyer should have a survey. It is down to the buyer to decide how thorough that survey needs to be. Plenty of houses are sold every day that need work, in fact most of our buyers are looking for houses that need work so they can renovate them to their own tastes. Agents are not electricians, plumbers, structural engineers etc.

If a buyer discovers something on survey that they weren’t aware of before they made their offer then that could trigger a re-negotiation so it makes sense to highlight any negative issues. I am sorry to hear you have had problems but it sounds to me that it was down to poor agents. If we notice significant issues such as structural movement or damp then we recommend that our client commission a report that we make available to our buyers.

Without a comprehensive up front survey people are going to view properties strictly on the info given by someone not qualified in structure or systems.
That is by your own admission
That is the chance is it not?????
If driving from Dumfries to Bristol is not a chance I do not know what is…..
Are we to pay for a survey before we view a property??

You the agent,,,,the seller both want as many interested parties as possible and as high a price as possible………..Why not have the house MOTed before sale…….Try a car without and then with MOT to you see the difference…………Most people will not even consider looking at a car without the ticket………..unless of course the price reflects the potential condition
Most houses are being sold as being ready to move into…………They should have and MOT for a house

I think the industry made a huge mistake by having objected to proposed changes not so long ago……..

This is not about agents this is about the system that whilst I welcome your posts you are all to ready to defend the system rather than suggest changes that would be better for everyone………..
For you to write “every buyer should have a survey” in defence against me saying that many are taking chances shows you didnt read the post………or worse that you dont understand or care about the buyer………..
I dont like thinking that customers are a penny a dozen
We are taking a chance……….Dont try telling anyone that lives today in York and gets a good job in Cornwall that they are not taking a chance getting into their car with perhaps one or several children in tow to listen to all day etc to drive to Cornwall to view a house…………
They could be a lot more confident if they could see a proper report

It’s not all about the seller and agent,,,,,,,,,without buyers neither have anything and whether one likes to do the maths like I do or not the buyer is paying for this system that doesnt work very well also…………..Without the buyers money neither of you have money for a pair of socks……….

Your ref to houses needing repairs
There will always be those who want fixer uppers which may not deserve any form of report but again that is not defence for having no up front reports…….
Again if I look almost anywhere in the UK most houses are listed and suggested as being operational/ready to move into……………Only the minority have any mention of needing repairs……..
Having some potential buyers who are after fixer uppers is again no defence for a “no home report” system

Again this is not about agents………..This is not about you or your business except that I dont understand your defensiveness………..Are you not an agent who wants to sell houses to get your commission…………….
If the seller has to get a home report done does it come out of your pocket……..No
Will it hurt your commision….No
Might it help the sale………….I would have thought that if the house is in good condition as the majority are advertised as being it would be of advantage to have a report from qualified persons stating that everything visible is on good and operating condition………….
This will not discourage potential buyers,,,,,,,,,,,it couldnt discourage buyers surely
This is about the system
Much of the UK has a half hearted system…………..Much of the rest of the western world would not even consider driving 50 miles let alone 500 to see a house that had not been looked at by a professional………

Tell me why it doesnt work elsewhere……….????? And dont tell me again agents fee’s in Canada are higher than here…………..The agent is not the one who pays for the survey……..

To buy my children two houses here required viewing quite a few…………I can assure you I met many agents…………..I am 58 years of age and worked in several jobs since selling a business over 20 years ago……………Although we always kept the home place those jobs required working various locations so I have viewed many houses all over the UK………………

Just remember something……..The fact that someone shakes your hand before walking away does not mean they think the world of you……..It just means they have manners……..

I dont understand why you wish to be so defensive of your system if you do not gain from the system……………

You have said you are not this and that and cannot be expected to vouch for a house because you dont know…….
So why not make it a requirement that this and that get brought in and report that everything available to see/inspect is working and that the structure is secure and dry etc and have that done from the outset

Sorry if I seem a little critical Oxford…………..I’m only trying to suggest changes to an outdated self regulated market…………I dont like self regulation………..Self regulation has been disappearing over the years but we seem to need Gov to bring a halt to each self regulated market

To anyone with the idea that this is not balanced and from informed parties……….I cannot think that Oxford Agent is anything other than an informed party and that there is only two sides to a coin…………

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Thanks Duncan,,,,,,,,,,,,,I do my best but no doubt there will be the usuals thinking hard about how to keep tradition………

Hi Duncan,

All the posts are mine, I am not sure what you mean by your comments?

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Why would someone reply on my behalf and why would there be a hidden agenda?I am simply a person involved in this discussion the same as anyone else in this room. I don’t understand why you feel the need to imply anything contrary to that? There is some merit to having a survey prepared in advance the government tried it when they introduced HIP’s but due to issues primarily with the finance houses the idea was eventually scrapped.

So far in this chat I have been labelled a ‘one hit wonder’ and now you are suggesting a ‘hidden agenda’. Perhaps a little mutual respect would go a long way or perhaps people have pre-conceived gross generalisations of estate agents that they are not prepared to see beyond?

Personally I would prefer to stick to the facts and keep the unhelpful name calling out of the conversations.

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Duncan, DeeKay has put forward proposals that he thinks are useful. I have above suggested that a seller has a full structural survey done when they put their house on the market, but that does not absolve the buyer from the responsibility to check that the property they are buying meets their requirements.

An MoT doesn’t tell you if a car burns oil, if a gearbox may be dodgy, if a turbo is on the way out. These are things for a buyer to check.

I welcome Oxford Agent’s view from the other side of the argument. Please let us not discourage him or her, or others. from contributing. He’s not on trial 🙂

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Most people believe in free speech and this country does not jail you for it. I welcome Oxford Agent’s replies to any points raised but he is under no obligation. There comes a point in a discussion where sometimes you just let others pick it up, having made your points. Although several do like to have the last word.

I have seen a number of comments on both sides of the online vs traditional agent approach and so much depends, it seems to me, on the quality of the people in the business. It is not something where one side is all bad, and one all good.

Personally if I were selling my house I would use an agent, having researched them first. From past experience, their ability to source matching potential buyers, evaluate their ability to go through promptly with a purchase, their knowledge of my local market, pricing etc would sway me in their favour in principle. But others will have different views that I would read with interest.

So we have myself Dee,, Malcolm and Duncan and perhaps Diesel and Wave if I remember correct all under the impression that a pre sale home report is a good idea…………….
Malcolm your fiddling with the words about using my MOT oil comment etc…………..
The MOT was the closest common analogy………I am sure most people got what I meant
I have already said a report on everything visible/checkable which would include such things as your using oil etc………….A surveyor is well equipped for such just as a mechanic is well equipped to MOT inspect the car and make judgement on various things including blue tinge in the exhaust and many other things that are not MOT failures……….Not all faults are MOT failures but that does not mean the mechanic did not notice the faults
A “mot inspection” and report for a house is just that a report and should include all known faults……….
If one goes to sell ones motorhome or trade it is the salesman will quite often appear with a damp meter………….He’s no expert engineer but he doesnt want a damp trade in…………..I dont want a damp house……..This is not rocket science…….This is a job for an engineer of buildings/houses………There are such people………….
This is not impossible…….It is done elsewhere and done very successfully………Why keep going back to the sing song that faults can get missed etc………….
Your either on for a pre sale proper out and out home report or not……..
Passing comments on whether the MOT analogy would work or not is petty

This topic is about selling your home on line
To date there has been more about estate agents than anything else………….
Perhaps that is why some people are choosing online……….
Are we fed up with unqualified experts who are little more than salesmen????

After all I have personally witnessed that once the offer has been accepted the use for the agent has all but disappeared except for paying him of course and they are the most expensive bit of this deal in comparison to any others involved
The important parts are taken over by Surveyors and Solicitors who are both formally educated and qualified to do their respective jobs
Again sorry Oxford,,,,,,,nothing personal……..You ,,, your business have the opportunity to change,,,to fit,,,,to do better………
You have the opportunity as I did to further yourself by diversifying and gaining formal qualifications that may give you some actual real authority over your inspections
Your business has nothing in its way to stop it from hiring an expert if you cannot find the time to further yourself……………
Mind though Oxford,,,,,,,You are one of the highest paid unqualified trades in the UK……………You are pretty privileged I’d say

We have heard from several quarters something that many of us already knew,,,,,,,,,that agents are not educated or qualified to specialise in this market and are not required to be….As Oxford has pointed out that anyone can simple rent a glass front and open up as such and many have and do every time the market gets buoyant………
There is almost no controls in place for this market…………..Any that are are regularly ignored because many sellers and buyers simply dont know better

Oxford as Diesel has pointed out is obviously in a very “good area” The standard of housing should be as good and as consistent as anywhere in the UK……….We dont all get those standards…….The more valuable the area the better the standard of housing in general………..Yes there will always be the ghetto but money is money and quality is not far behind we hope……..

The topic is about on line selling of your own house
Let me clarify again as I have for Beryl that this is not all inclusive of on line agents but rather the on line personal advertising of ones own property and the promotion/showing and hopefully eventually sale of your own property conducted by yourself right up to the point where even I would recommend the use of a Solicitor as they are properly governed by the Law Society whilst conducting your business
I do know of two instances where the seller and buyer went the whole hog and done the land registry etc thing themselves………..I wouldnt but horses for courses

Quite early on we had a post from Oxford………….Nothing wrong with that
He has referred to being called a one hit wonder which was my doing and he has just referred to that again despite me explaining that there are many one hit wonder posts on Which where the one hit person comes along has a right rant often involving saying that they are an expert and this is be the bee all and end all and everyone else shut up now because you’ve now been told the one and only way things are???????
We have all seen them and they are often never heard from again………
I think we commented on his first post and he stayed away for several days…………Once he posted again I commented about my one hit wonder comment and I hoped I made plain it was nothing personal but was constructive…..

I think that as the post is about owners selling Oxford had a real good go at promoting the original established system that he/she is part of…………….
There is nothing wrong with that but I am the other side of the coin as I often am and I have went to lengths to explain/suggest that there are obviously changes on their way
Oxford has said that he has moved with the times and that is his view……….But like many I may not agree with him……….Why??? Because to date he has said nothing positive other than he would be happy for legislation to be brought in on house selling………
Changes were proposed and all we got was an energy report thingy which is nothing…………
The industry which Oxford is a part of questioned and objected to much if not all proposals and now we have this growing online self sale service there is little chance of regulation for some time…….
I my eyes the online boom is a self inflicted wound to the establishment as such

I think we have had a go at questioning Oxford which there is nothing wrong with as Oxford is by his own admission “the expert”
I am not
Duncan is not
Diesel is not and so on but we are all owners who have either bought or sold or both and we have near all given money in one way or another to an agent so although we are not experts we are in effect paying/potential paying customers and in my eyes have every right to hammer any question we wish to we get a satisfactory answer……….In other words we would like change
Unfortunately perhaps for Oxford just now the on line market looks very like the long awaited change that many were looking for…….

Why some of us are so adamant about asking the same questions over and over is that we have not had a answer to some questions……….
We have had run arounds which are not answers
I have again pointed out at length that traveling many miles to view a potential heap is not nice………….I’ve done it……many others have also………..

Again the topic………….
Might it be better to sell your own house,,yourself??…………..

We have had the comments from one of Oxfords leading agents………….
As best I remember Oxford is the only agent with b***s enough to come on here as yet,,,, so good on you man/or woman/whichever as we dont know as yet…………At least you had a go and I’d really like to hear more…………….
At least you did try to stand up for your business and even if I say so myself you done a good job of promoting your business…….but not good enough

Yes you may one of the better ones but that does not mean that all is well or that the majority are perfect………..
The rumpus as you and perhaps others see this is not the ramblings of a few anti establishment,,,daft lost the plot idiots but are the views of many,,,,,Why??……….Because there are 1000s of houses currently for sale by the owners…………If those are the supposed anti establishment lost the plot types man you’ve got a problem reading people…….People dont do such thing light heartedly
People make considered choices…………..People see their well cared for house and want to make it plain their house is different…………They dont want a dude with 300 houses in his books…………They want the one potential buyer through their door to show them how good their house is………….They as best I seen are some of the better houseing and they ae willing to work at it to promote the fact
I liked the self sellers……very helpful but in our case not the right house in the right place…………….In 5 years I’d think the amount of right houses in the right places self sell will have changed

What you need to do and do right now is NOT take the view that I am going to stand up for my rights and my business and I’m going to dig in my heels as I have been right in the past and I always will be right
No you need to use the experience to really look at how things are done………
How can you improve you need to ask yourself………
Will proper home reports help the sale of some houses even if they hurt the lessor houses because a report of those will not help lessors…………
That is surely fair is it not………The owner who looked after and kept their home well……….Fixed the bad flashing on the chimney,,,,,,,,,Looked for where the little damp spot on the floor was coming from and dug up the offending heating pipe and had it repaired…….Who didnt re-paper the damp room at the beginning of every summer for the sole purpose of covering up for the sale

This leads me to the point as I done in the past……………If I were selling would I look for an agent or do my own thing…………..
I had success in the past so why not have a go
Why should I or any of us pay for what many think of as professionals to do a job that we ourselves can and many do do…………..
Sorry Oxford no offence meant……………
This is not about how good a job the agent does this is about the latest diy job/trend……..
To the agents,,,,,,,,,,,,This also about your business………the success or failure of your business………..Stand still and the inevitable will happen………..

I dont need told to lay off,,,,,,,,,,

What I’d like to see is Oxford as I’ve pointed out several times take on board what the market is visibly dictating by the emergence of owner sellers and take that into his business and trade and use it for the benefit of others while he can because it will not take long for the WWW to take over a noticable part of their business’s as it has done many…………Many much bigger and as well established or better than his…..
To simply defend your business in words alone will not protect it
Oxford and his common business’s need to take hold of this situation and perhaps go back to Gov and say………Heh there we may have made a mistake………..
There is a market opening up that has no controls whatsoever and we made a mistake of not taking up the offer of have proper controls in place
We now need those controls and we are willing to change unlike before to embrace such controls
There are not many other options……………..The reality is that the on line sites are working within the law……….Perhaps more so than many agents because the on line sites are not telling lies……….They are leaving the wording up to the owners….

Morning, in the interests of keeping a flowing and healthy conversation going, could we please make sure that comments left are polite. If you do disagree then please try and be polite in your disagreement. Thanks 🙂

Hi Lauren,,,,,,,,,Not sure which post you are referring to but If it was my previous let me say I wish to offend no one……..I simply put a strong case
So if I was OTT or offencive,,,Sorry Guys

“the average estate agents fee in Canada is around 2.5% to 3.5%.”

I like what you have contributed OxfordAgent however I have an aversion to percentages where they are unsupported by a context.

The average house price in Canada is somewhere just above 300000 Can$ so around £150,000. Canada is of course a big place and in New Brunswick the average is $155k and in BC $701K.

So taking averages the Canadian realtor earns £4500 but in New Brunswick this might be £2300 and in BC £10,000 for essentially the same role.

Hi Dieseltaylor,

You make a fair point. I was quoting average fees in Toronto where the average sale price seems to be in the region of $600,000 – $650,000.

wavechange, I completely agree and can only really speak for other agents in the area where I work but have not come across this type of problem before. In fact I experience the opposite where sellers are wrongly advised to try marketing at a higher price than the property is worth. This is regrettably a symptom of a market where there is a shortage of properties to sell and agents who take instructions off the back of an artificially high value. The joy of the internet is that buyers are more informed now than they have ever been and can access previous sales in the road. I stick by my thoughts that the asking price should neither be artificially high or low but as accurate as possible. If you couple this with a structured marketing plan which allows all possible buyers to view then the market will have (as it should) the last word as to what the house is worth. When we have multiple bids on a property we have what we call an ‘open bidding situation’. We tell all interested parties that we will disclose the other offers we have received so that they can make an informed decision as to whether they want to increase. This in my view is the lesser of the two evils (compared to not disclosing anything) but is still not a nice experience for a buyer. If this process starts to drag we will then consider going to ‘best and final offers’ where we don’t disclose but ask for a final offer by a specific day/time. These are put to the client and a final decision is then made. Going back to the original topic of discussion I believe that an experienced local firm will be able to handle this process better than any online operation as we will have a working relationship with our buyers.

I think if I offer the asking price I am entitled to have that offer accepted and the property taken off the market forthwith. I would walk away if that did not happen. If there are three bids at the same price [say] surely the first one in should be accepted [subject to status].

Estate agents are under a legal obligation to treat both buyers and sellers fairly and equitably but buyers struggle to be convinced of that sometimes.

john, the Estate Agent is acting only for the buyer under contract so has no legal obligation to you as I see it – but as with all agents I’d expect them to treat buyers sensibly – they need them to make a sale!
You can make an offer on a property and if it is accepted ask that the property be taken off the market. However the seller then runs the risk that the potential buyer may not complete – the survey may throw up something the buyer does not like, he might have a problem with the mortgage, their own sale may fall through and delay or prevent the purchase, they may change their mind and find a property that suits them better. And so on. And, of course, if someone comes along and offers you more money, may be a cash buyer, in a position to complete very quickly, should you as a seller commit to a sale that is uncertain? I don’t see that it is sensible.

I’d welcome views from our Oxford Agent as to what the professionals would see as a better way of introducing more security into the process for both buyer and seller.

According to OFT Guidance the estate agent does have a responsibility to treat both sellers and buyers fairly and equitably. This does not take anything away from their primary duty of care to, and representation of the best interests of, their instructing client. Now that the OFT has closed, and finding their publications is almost impossible via government websites, I regret that I cannot quote the document verbatim.

Once we agree a sale we would always recommend that the property is withdrawn from the market. We then track the progress of the buyer very carefully, if they appear to be dragging their heels then we will make sure they are aware that they run the risk of the property being placed back on the market. It is part of our job to assist with problem surveys, legal issues, planning or building regulation issues together with the rest of the chain (if there is one). This is one element of the process that many potential sellers do not take into consideration when choosing an agent. About one in three sales currently fall through. Our rate is less than 10%. I would love to have the figures from online agents but as I have already said where they save their money isn’t on offices but on experienced teams and that only leads me to believe that they are unable to go the extra mile if a sale has problems.


And that is why we use the term guide price. If we have three offers on a property at the same level they will be weighted regarding to the strength of the offer rather than which one comes in first. We will look at the position of the buyer, their finance, timing etc. it’s highly unlikely they will ever be identical. At the end of the day we can only make recommendations. It is the sellers decision which offer to accept. We have had situations in the past where our client accept an offer from a person who they think will ‘enjoy’ the house the best or are in their eyes the more deserving. There are many factors involved some are common sense and practical others can be emotional.

As you say we act for the sellers but we also have a duty of care to the buyer. These are often tricky and emotional situations and need to be handled professionally, openly and fairly. But there is no getting away from the fact that with three buyers we are going to have two upset parties.

Thank you Oxford Agent. I fully understand the use of ‘guide price’ rather than ‘asking price’ as I explained in an earlier comment and so long as it is not used in a baiting way or over a range then I think, in an uncertain market, ‘guide price’ is more sensible. However, in my part of the country most agents state an asking price, and I remain of the view that the first viable offer that hits the asking price should be accepted, my particular point being that the seller should not keep that bid in suspension hoping to get a bit more. I agree with what you are saying about the agent’s role and that ultimately the seller can reject advice and go their own way regardless. Equally the buyer can walk away right up to exchange of contracts, so to maintain an orderly market and honest and truthful trading it is imperative that agents take the lead in establishing standards of good faith. I am sure the great majority of high street agents try to act in this way, but I know that within some of the larger chains there are very aggressive, bonus-driven individuals who do not exhibit high standards of professional practice and duty of care. Their behaviour goes into overdrive when they are holding the ring in a chain of transactions; there is no place for such conduct within the traditional agencies which is why it is more a feature in the sub-branches of the corporate firms, but I have a concern that such conduct will become significant in the on-line business as there will be fewer managerial checks.

There has been much talk here about the survey. Personally I would appreciate and be grateful for a survey report produced on behalf of the homeowner, but as one that I had not commissioned myself I would not give it as much credence as one I had instructed my own choice of surveyor to provide. In my opinion, unless the buyer was professionally qualified and competent, it would be folly to buy a pre-1950 property without having an independent survey carried out after acceptance of the offer, and I would instruct the surveyor to look behind furniture, get into the loft, lift carpets, check the drains, report on the condition of the plumbing, wiring, structure and so on, especially with regard to any extensions or alterations. The very prospect that such a survey might be commissioned has the effect of encouraging full disclosure and honesty. I am neutral on whether or not the proposed Home Information Report for the rest of the UK outside Scotland should have gone ahead – I can see the advantages of both approaches, but on its own it would not, in my view, have represented a sound basis for proceeding with a purchase since its scope was restricted and it might have become nothing more than a tick-sheet, but with the added risk that people thought it was adequate and they could do without having a surveyor’s professional survey [in a progressive market it might even have caused sellers to refuse to treat with prospective buyers who would not rely on that alone and wished to have their own survey].

Your last few para’s/sentences I agree with wholeheartedly John
I would not suggest buying a house without having a survey done by the buyer for the buyer but most folk have a mortgage which kinda sorts that out at least for basic structure and for the most part that is all the survey that near everyone goes on as such…………That is a very short survey,,,,,,,,very basic……………
I also see your point about a survey commissioned by an owner and would that be believable or taken on board by many buyers………You have a point but in Scotland the report is part and parcel of selling the house…….It is not an owner commissioned report if you will it is a Gov commissioned report
The main advantage of any report done by a professional is that for those in the search for house it will lesson the amount of lets say lies to lead people to go look see……..
The mileages involved for some people are quite a marathon in terms of a return journey over a day or two………..At least with the Scottish system home reports are usually readily available and as best I know or from personal experience we dont look at them as being a sales ploy on behalf of the seller……
Even a short survey such as for the mortgage would lesson the odds a little as such

You have a lot of good points……….well thought out……..

Thanks Oxfordagent. I welcome your approach and wonder if it would be helpful for agents to go even further and record offers and dates on their websites to make the process more transparent. That’s with my buyer’s hat on, and I might feel different when I am a seller.

As you say, there is a great deal of information available online these days. It’s still difficult to judge where houses differ from others in the area and have not changed hands for twenty years or more, but that cannot be helped. Arranging a viewing online is fine but being able to speak to people face to face and get advice has proved very helpful.

I am in process of buying a house through an agent, which I am happy with. The example I referred to above is a friend’s purchase is being handled by a different agent.

When I sold my parents’ house through an agent, the process was quick and efficient. I don’t know how many viewings there were but I received various offers and sold for £5k less than the price the agent had suggested. I will do the same when I come to sell my present house. Although I expect to be living less than ten miles away I don’t want the hassle of having to show people round.

It would be interesting to know what percentage of sales are currently handled by online-only estate agents.

I expect, as the housing market picks up across the country and turnover increases, that it will be less difficult to make realistic valuations.

Even before the internet, I am sure that the best agents in a district kept a manual “terrier” of all house sales within their territory and knew the relativities of one area to another in order to assess values where sales have been infrequent. Presumably they also keep track of Ofsted reports and changes in travel facilities, employment, environmental changes, new developments, shopping and other amenities so that they can judge the ‘location’ factor. After that it comes down to the positives and negatives of each individual property which I suspect would be a bit rough-and-ready with a remote website service.

I also would be most interested to know the percentage of sales completed successfully by on-line agencies, and also the proximity to asking price achieved for their sales. If the properties appear on Rightmove and such-like I expect that information is available to other agents as part of the available data analysis.

My late brother in Canada, on retiring, decided to become an estate agent (realtor). Before doing so he had to embark upon a 6 month course as it is a requirement of all Canadian Provinces and Territories for prospective salespeople and brokers to pass a written exam. Continuing education is also required in many Provinces and available in others so that real estate professionals stay up to date about current developments in their profession and industry. Estate agents in the UK however have no such requirement but have set up their own NMAEA , one assumes in order to protect their own unregulated interests.

I would never have sufficient confidence or trust in using an online agent as I prefer to negotiate with the devil I know than the one I don’t. I would feel more comfortable in using my local high street branches, thereby enabling me to pop in to discuss any problems that could arise at a personal level.

As I am a prospective buyer seeking a new build with no upward chain, it occurred to me that, if I was buying one of the EA’s advertised other properties, it would be in their own interests to sell my property in order to complete an existing chain and sell a few more properties in the process. Therefore, my property, in a buoyant market situation will not be considered urgent.

It would be in everyone’s interest if there was more stringent regulation incorporated generally as in other countries, to prevent some of the rampant skulduggery obviously taking place in today’s UK housing market.

Beryl,,,,,,,,Everything in Canada is bonifide,,,,,,,,,,,Every trade has to have served their time,,,,done their exams whilst in the UK it appears that anyone can be anything often with a change of title but nearly always with a quick 2 day course
Look at the amount of experienced solar installers who all had many years of experience…………Not half of them had any experience 2 years before they jumped on the bandwagon
When I was in business there were guys working at vehicles at every hole in the hedge without any formal anything
It’s not a bit wonder we get ourselves into a hash here

DeeKay I agree. When you have been promised a Saturday viewing on 4 consecutive occasions, only to have them all cancelled at 4.45pm on a Friday afternoon, you don’t need to be an egghead to deduce something is amiss and a familiar pattern is emerging.

Without becoming too paranoid, it is common practice in business today for top executives to rationalise company protocols to the extent that a very fine line between morality and unethical practice has developed and become the norm, dispelling any feelings of guilt at a conscious and humanitarian level. The rewards are financial and material.

It is a dangerous and sad state of affairs.

That is how I feel about advertising. I feel that there is far too much misrepresentation. Large companies often escape the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority because they have presumably studied what is and is not acceptable and push it as far as they can. It’s disgraceful.

I like your second paragraph Beryl. It is a very concise analysis of the mercenary commercial behaviour from which we all suffer. So far as possible, we try to confine our purchasing to companies or partnerships that stand apart from that approach. Unfortunately [as banking demonstrated] contamination by bad cultures can soon overtake a whole industry driving out integrity and mutuality.

Beryl and Wave,,,,,,,,,Your on the money as such……………..Sales is sales driven and the last penny counts but all to often it’s our penny

Companies like Scot House Move in Scotland are changing the way property is sold. Think about where you look for property? YOUR COMPUTER. High Street estate agents offer no better service and have not moved with the times.


My business has been online for longer than most of the online companies, I am not sure why you think they have this radical new system of selling? They are merely a volume business which I agree will suit a number of sellers. They generally don’t use professional photography in a market where presentation makes a huge difference, they won’t have a current database of buyers, they may struggle to provide accurate valuation advice due to reduced comparisons. When they say they will sell your house for £495 what they really mean is that they will sell you £495 worth of marketing which may or may not result in a sale. If you think this is an adequate investment to guarantee you will get the best possible price for your home then they are the people for you.

The good high street agents are constantly pushing the boundaries. We are about to employ a videographer to shoot movies and will be using a drone for bigger homes. We are also producing video guides to various areas giving buyers a better understanding as to what the local community has to offer. These videos will include interviews with local shop owners, head teachers, restaurant owners etc.

Maybe the online agents will reduce the number of badly run high street firms and that is no bad thing. There are good and bad online agents and good and bad high street agents. I personally believe that the better high street agents can provide a better service and be assured they have most definitely moved with the times.

Oxford Agent, it is good t have a convo where both sides of the case are argued, particularly when it is from informed parties. Please keep it up! 🙂

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Oxford Agent. If your agency business is located in the Oxford area then you are trading in one of the most lucrative and highest priced areas in the country with no current shortage of prospective buyers.

Your admission to the existence of good and bad agents indicates a definitive need for more regulation in order to eliminate the disreputable ones. Perhaps you could enlighten on some of the not so good practices implemented by some of these agents. As my house is currently on the market I would very much appreciate some guidance as to what underhand practices I need to be wary of.

Hi Beryl,

I would be the first to agree with strict regulation across our industry and don’t know many agents who would be against it. Being in an industry where anyone can set up virtually overnight is not much fun.

I can only speak about the county in which I work but I do not believe that ‘selling to mates at silly prices’ is an issue I have really come across. Issues we have with the not so good agents tend to involve over valuing the property to take the instruction then locking the client into a long contract allowing the agent plenty of time to agree price reductions and eventually sell. This costs the client time and money as it is likely his/her property has gone stale and rather than buyers looking at a reduced price they are wondering why the property has not sold in a strong market and make the assumption that something is wrong with it.

I would recommend you never agree to a contract longer than 4 weeks and watch out for any notice period at the end of the contract which can sometimes add another two weeks. My company just works on a flat two week notice period.

Oxford Agent. Thanks for the info.

The main reason I went with this particular agent is because of a recommendation by a friend who used them and sold her property at above its market value within 2 days. I have not been so lucky however, having received 2 offers at way below its market value by cash investors looking for a quick sale in order to rent out.

I have been following the market in this area for some time and am well up to date with current values, my property easily comparable with similar ones recently sold. I am prepared to accept a reasonable offer at below the asking price but draw the line when cash investors come in with their very low offers, which is how they make their lucrative and profitable gains.

The more I learn about todays housing market generally the more uneasy I become. I would hesitate to use an online estate agent but still believe that competition is a good incentive to improve standards and keep prices down, so if they are instrumental in keeping the high street agent on his toes, then I think they may prove, in the long run, to be a good thing. Time will tell.

Beryl,,,,,,,,,,,,,You dont have to use an “online agent”……….You can use the online services to enable you to sell your house yourself……………..If you get an offer you like or can put up with then you instruct your solicitor as does the potential buyer………..It is the solicitor who oversees the sale………………
It is not a lifetime ago I used fleabay to sell a house near Swindon as that is where the position was at the time without a problem……………I took the offers and accepted the 4th one which took about 5 weeks……………I was still there at the time which helped
I would imagine that the Zoopla’s etc of today are much better propositions simply because I think more potential buyers are using those as a means to find property……………
I dont wish to tell or suggest to anyone how to do things but I simply used my solicitor at home to recommend one in the area which fortunately they were able to do and I went and took advice and although they were lets say not too keen they advised and I had no problems………….Over the 4 years I used that Solicitor twice…………..I’d imagine today a little while on this although not quite the norm is becoming more accepted as a means to an end
Might I add that in both cases I personally got myself a proper survey done by the Solicitors recommended prior to advertising……………….This is why I am so s**t hot on surveys………..I worked abroad and traveled and I felt it a good thing to do…………..I just do not understand why it is not the norm here……………The people were impressed there was no doubt
I had places that I had worked on at every free minute after work as I was on my own much of the time and everything electrical/plumbing etc was working exactly as it should…………..The structures were good to start with…………….I could do the engineering and the details/decorating/tiling no problem …………..Wish I could go as quick now
All the offers came from people who took a copy of the survey………….

DeeKay I think your idea of a survey prior to selling is an excellent idea and I may take this up. It conveys to buyers any problems with a property and can assist with price negotiation.

I assume there is one that comes with a Which? recommendation in my area.

You’ll have to check with/on Which to have a survey done………………
I’m not the usual Which user in case anyone hadn’t noticed!!!!!!!!!!! and whilst I like Which I consider myself to be well enough equipped to source myself
As I said I used my Solicitor to advise…………Bear in mind Beryl I was not at home as such in England…………..England is pretty foreign place as such to me…….I’m a country Celt at heart……..
If I were you I’d get myself a Solicitor first thing……….Solicitors are very important in my eyes as are accountants………….
You need a Solicitor sooner rather than later………..You’ll need one once you have an acceptable anyhow………..
I dont even know what area you are in and would not know how to check your location……
Fortunately for us the report on the Swindon house was good………….It was structurally good from the outset but suffered a severe dose of very bad diy…………
That was cheap to sort as long as I could do the work which was not a problem
Still,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,The report done the trick for me I feel

I dont/cant figure why agents dont advise reports
I suspect that some homes may suit a report whilst others distinctly do not suit a report………………
Agents have a load of homes on their books it may not be in their favour to have good reports on good homes and not so good reports on others that outwardly may look similar……………..
I dont know for sure but there has to be a reason why an agent seems to never in my time recommend the seller/me having a pre sale report done………..

The common report for a mortgage is a very basic report and as best I could see from my childrens reports as they had to have mortgages………….Its bad enough helping but not all the way if you please……………
I was saying that the mortgage report only seemed to cover the structure and more or less state that the property is worth what the finance house is lending or greater against it so that if the buyer defaults quickly the financier does not loose out…………

In my daughters case I insisted that I be allowed a walk around and be allowed to try everything to prove everything was working prior to the signing as such………………
I’ll have to tell you that this meant bringing 60L of heating oil as the seller or maybe better put her son had obviously removed the last drop
The plumbing of a recent new kitchen and bath/shower was a bit of a disaster but we kinda knew that from the outset………..The plumbing is not unredeemable as such but needed a little attention…………About 4 hours got things just about working………….Another 4 and she’ll be fine
Electrically it was more or less fine…………..
Just to fill you in a little…………….
The electrics did not feature earth leakage protection for the entire house so it just goes to show that although the surveyor and finance house was happy that does not mean that everything was as perfect or as one would have wished for………………but it is sortable

My sons deal is not quite sorted but should be in the last throws this week……..I’ll be doing a walk around again if I can swing it

My report…………I asked for a comprehensive report which I got………………People appreciate the truth………..I think

I have been a buyer of property several times, and a vendor, a mortgage approver/lender, and have worked in an office with an estate agency side, property letting, and block management side. And have my own copy of the RICS surveyors manual. So luckily I have more experience than most non-professional regarding the buying and selling process.

The bad estate agent scams:
Selling to mates at silly prices. This may involve a sequence of “buyers” who disparage the price or the area, plenty of no-shows for viewings.
Telling potential buyers your personal circumstances and how desparate you are to move.
Overquoting sale price to get your signature on the line before subsequent re-adjustments downwards.
Not passing on legitimate bids

For the buyer:
the agent being deliberately “uninformed” of local problems
suggesting mythical other buyers are keen
Not passing on bids

I absolutely agree that there ARE good quality estate agents and good firms. However even they can have a bad egg driven by commission and greed.

Is there a “solution”? . It is a marketplace and each house is generally unique and both buyer and seller in the transaction want the best price and unfortunately I think it probably impossible to legislate. Whether open auctions published several months in advance of the auction date with an accessible legally sueable surveyors report covering all facilities, Land registry details with plan and covenants, disputes with neighbours, and links to the local planning department would be the most honest way is an arguable case.

If this received critical mass using a legal site where the process was rigorous in the documentation then it would be a very useful system. The provision of a floor plan would be a requirement and a number of open days with bookings.

In Australia auction sales have accounted for between 10% and 20% of all sales. I believe this excludes new estates and off-plan sales. Obviously an unsucccessful auction means the vendor is back at square one but at least knows that the market as a whole as seen what is on offer and re-adjust the price or not move.

Thanks Diesel for writing a fairly well informed picture as you see it
Yes there is too much waffle and everyone is perfect and innocent if we believe what we are told which I dont
I have stories also but I havnt got time just now
I’m not sure what your calling for if anything in particular but I think I’d be right in saying because of the trouble you took that you also think there should be changes of some sort………
Well put……….

Mac says:
21 April 2016

A debate that is increasing day by day.

I had been a traditional agent for 13 years and had witnessed the drop in footfall into the branches that I ran. From when I first started in 2001 when we would have a queue of people on a Saturday to the point where we had ore staff at the weekend than potential clients visiting. What became really apparent was how the internet was taking over the way in which people searched for properties. This was demonstrated by the fact my staff would arrive to work earlier in the morning just to claim the internet enquiries. Even they realised that the highest probability of them doing business was from the Rightmove/Zoopla leads that came through each day.

I watched with interest as time after time online agents tried to break into the market unsuccesfully. The one thing lacking was that customers like a personal point of contact with extensive local knowledge. The problem with the traditional online agent was the concept that all you needed was online advertising. This is not the case customers need to feel confident the person representing them and the property knows the local market intimately and can offer professional advice.

In 2014 I crossed to what was deemed the unknown at the time and joined a new online estate agency. My peers scoffed at the move and the potential for this company to grow to a point where they would prove a true alternative to the high street agent. Well two years on and the market has truly changed with the online agents taking a larger share of the market than ever before.

To open my branch cost a total of £29,000 per month just to cover the costs. This would mean come what may we needed to ensure we were earning this as a bare minimum. You would think this means you work harder to sell the property. The reality is you need to do what is required to secure the income. This did not put the customers interest at the fore but your own. Surely you are employing your agent to look after you and give best advice?

With the advent of online shopping, banking and social media it would only be a matter of time before the property industry had to change. The change is happening and growing at pace and as consumers become more confident with IT it will only speed up. I refuse to name my company as this would be deemed as just a marketing blog when what I am trying to put across the changes that are happening today.

How many of you sit in front of the computer in the evening and on Sundays looking at properties considering your next move. Need more details? Want to book a viewing? The estate agent is closed. So then you have to wait till you can contact them and then oh the property is sold. Has the seller missed out on what could be the best buyer all because they couldn’t make contact?

To give you an example I finished talking and emailing my customers at 8:30 this evening when it suited them. The majority of my viewings are booked in the evening and at weekends when traditional agents are closed. Yes I am an online agent but am also ex traditional and did not make the move lightly from my comfortable office and fully expensed car. Having made the leap of faith the difference is huge and feel now what I offer is a professional marketing service that looks after my clients’ interest.

I am sure the debate will rage on and on but only time will demonstrate what customers truly want.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Nice to hear a voice and give this dare i write a balanced weight tot he topic
I admire your honesty MAC
Everything that can go online is going online
We have a high % of buyers and sellers who dont even mind a reduction in personal tough . .We are already more than used to putting on appointments online. . . I tax my car on line. . .I book my MOT on line. . .I reorder my Scripts online
We are used with online

KEW says:
29 April 2016

We went with Purplebricks which turned out to one of our less inspired choices. The agent was great but there is no incentive to get the best asking price possible, other than what they set at the outset. We ended up with a variety of ridiculously low offers. In the end we engaged a local agent and got £15k over the asking price within a week. Even with their fees, we have still come out financially on top. I pretty much do/buy everything online, but I don’t have the time to deal with showing people round and I also found that quite awkward – most buyers want to view on their own without you there. I’m no fan of estate agents and the online agents will disrupt the market for the better, but it’s not as cut and dry as just comparing the fees and it also depends very much on what you are selling, where and when.

Interesting news about selling your home at an auction. I know lots of debates have come up about buying/selling homes so take a look if you’re interested:


Currently selling again after a break of 17 years, I’m struck by how the percentage fee system means that I am now paying 2.5 times as much in agents fees (because house prices have risen by that much), while the job they are doing is essentially the same. What other business has increased their fees by 250% at a time when many people are seeing their incomes in real terms remain static or even drop?

I can see the point about percentage commissions giving agents the incentive to get the best price compared to those on a fixed fee, but maybe it is time for the percentage itself to be reduced ?