In this day and age, it really doesn’t seem unreasonable to consider selling your own property, after all when you think what access the internet has bought to us all and how our shopping habits have changed over the years then it really is a very reasonable assumption and I can see why people might think it is a good idea. The fact that very few people actually try speaks volumes, the fact that even fewer succeed shouts even louder about it. The online model of selling is really just one step up from this and is touted by the likes of PurpleBricks, Yopa and Tepilo etc. You might think you are being smart and saving yourself lots of money but there are some serious flaws to the idea of going it alone.

First off, one of the main aspects is to get the right buyers through your door, online agents are merely reacting to requests to see something whilst a good mainstream agent will have a decent database of active buyers who they work consistently with to ensure they are ‘seeing’ everything that would meet their needs – even if it falls outside their self imposed ‘box’. One of the key reasons we like to show buyers around a house is to talk to them and have the opportunity to discuss what their needs really are – after all, most buyers end up buying something totally different to what they initially thought – we need to challenge peoples thinking and can only do that effectively when we get to talk.

There are the obvious security issues of letting strangers into your home, If you’re going to do the viewings you need to know you can show your home with the skill of a trained sales person, someone who is well versed in the psychology of buying. Many people assume you can just open the door and a house will sell itself but that is truly not the case, it takes skill, to ask the right questions, to know your buyer so you are aware of which aspects will scare them off or equally help them mentally move in. The reality is, a buyer is not necessarily looking at how you live in a house but rather how they can live in a house and make their lifestyle fit in your four walls.

Even once you’ve found a buyer, could you handle the negotiations successfully yourself? This is truly a minefield and always one that is best handled by a skilled negotiator – it’s not just about accepting the first offer that is given, it’s about reaching a figure both sides are happy with it’s about making sure all the appropriate due diligence has been done to ensure the buyer has mentally, emotionally and financially bought into the house too. Now, tell me, what would you do if two different parties want to buy your house, how would you handle it? We will talk about competitive situations another day because that is a whole new subject matter but please believe me, this is a refined skill and one even many agents can fail at getting right. The reality is, a little bit of knowledge here can end up costing the you thousands.

Managing a sale to completion is one of the trickiest parts of what we agents do. Managing a chain, liaising with solicitors, keeping communications open with all parties to alleviate any problems and indeed handling any gazundering attempts following the misinterpretation of a survey is indeed priceless. We hear appalling stories every month from people who have had a bad experience with an online agent, the one below was bought to my attention earlier this year and is just the experience from the buyers side. Sadly this is very typical of the story we hear from the clients side too, with every aborted sale there are being extra legals fees too. In fact, it seems to be in the online agents best interest that sales fall through and further attempts are made to sell it again and more fees due from the legal side.

Taken from Trust Pilot 12 Jan 2017 'Firstly if could give minus 0 stars I would!!! I was in process of purchasing my first house from this company and everytime I called for an update I would have to repeat myself! Very frustrating! And in one phone call to customers services I was mid conversation and got cut off!! And guess what no one had the decency to call me back! The sales rep actually said to me 'by you calling all the time will not hurry the process up, so stop calling!' uhhhhhhh what?! Anyway 2 months later my solicitor advised that all my paperwork was ready but the seller still hadn't found a property. Purple Bricks didn't have any urgency to sell me the property they simply were not bothered, they said it could take 6 months depending on their seller. Well I had no choice but to pull out of that property and incurred an additional £450 charges for an aborted transaction that was NOT MY FAULT! Don't bother wasting your time looking at their website as their service is not even one star!!!'

If you pay up front for a service, what conceivable benefit is there in the online agent actually selling your home? If you scrutinise it you will see quite clearly there is none whatsoever, but there is lots of incentive for them to agree something, you pay more in legal fees – the online agent takes a commission from this by the way, that sale then falls through as it’s so badly managed again, and you go around once more – you get my drift. The is a reason they only want you using their ‘special’ lawyers – as the conversion rate to a sale is shockingly low. I’m advised this is merely around 15% but I am waiting for some verification of this but whichever way you look at it, it’s madness.

The reality is we, it is only a skilled agent that will get your house sold effectively, however, we agents absolutely must get better at showing you, our clients, the value in what we do, so you can make proper informed choices of how you want to sell your home.