Do you need an estate agent to sell?

Q. With all the technology that’s available today, aren’t the days of the traditional high street agent numbered?

A. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I don’t agree! Yes, technology has brought about major changes in the way the property market works – and will certainly continue to do so. But does this mean the end of the traditional high street agent? I’m not so sure.

While you may feel perfectly at home with technology, that doesn’t mean that everyone else does. For many people, it’s a novel environment for the serious stuff – such as when contemplating selling their most valuable asset without expert support around the corner or on the end of a ‘phone. Let’s not forget that none of the top national property websites – the ones that buyers actually look at - accept listings from private sellers, which rather defeats the whole object.

It has always been possible to sell your own home. There is no law which says you must use an estate agent. Nevertheless, only a tiny fraction of people actually tackle it themselves. Nor have sellers rushed to patronise ‘internet agents’ who offer a basic, fixed-fee package.

Why is this? Well, for the simple reason that there is a lot more to selling your home than sticking a homemade board in your front garden and an ad on a website – or in your local paper, come to that. Even assuming that you generate enquiries, how do you sort the serious applicants from the complete time-wasters? Do you really have the time or the knowledge to handle viewings and answer queries? Who are you letting through your front door? Where do you turn for expert advice and support, if you have a hiccup or just need proper advice from a local professional? How do you go about progressing the sale?

Add in the fact that with all his expert knowledge and understanding of the market, a good local agent will quite probably achieve a higher price than you can yourself, it’s even more surprising that anyone would want to try and go it alone.

But then again, minimising stress and maximising peace of mind have never been exactly high on the agenda for your committed DIY-er…
Paul Bonett FNAEA MARLA Chair Team Association
Director Bonett's.