Net gains for homes

Dido Sandler assesses the benefits of selling via the World Wide Web

With the property market firmly on the upturn, it seems, and some houses even going for above the asking price, could it be time for sellers to consider dispensing with the services of an estate agent altogether?

With such strong demand in some areas you could be paying as much as 3 per cent of the selling price for the agent doing little more than picking up the phone to a buyer on the books.

Increasingly, the Internet, as well as aiding the hunt for a property, could offer access to buyers and help you cut out the agents. House sales via the Internet are a small but rapidly growing phenomenon.

Woolwich Property Services - part of the building society - has been running an Internet site for sellers (www.wps-property-seeker.co.uk/) for the past six weeks. So far, only 10 properties have been sold by this route, but Roger Ham, Woolwich marketing communication manager, claims that in five years' time between 15 and 20 per cent of house sales in the UK will be made via the Internet. "Once people get used to selling houses through the Internet, they will ask why they do it any other way," he says.

In the US, an estimated 10 per cent of homes are sold this way. Advocates argue that since publishing privately on the Internet is cheap, sellers can post muchmore detail about the property than would be possible by conventional means. You can put up as many colour photos as you wish, together with the most personalised text, or even video clips. To sell higher-value properties in the US, people are even constructing "virtual houses", where visitors can get the feel of actually touring the property.

One Bristol-based homeowner has put his home for sale on the Internet, priced in dollars, apparently wishing for a specific type of American purchaser (www.wintermute.co.uk/users/pingu/cg-house.htm). The text that accompanies the picture of the house explains how this was the home of the youthful Cary Grant before he went to Hollywood.

Creating your own site will allow you to sell your home with maximum personal style and flair. Free software is available on the Net to help you build a site - it will take you half a day if you know what you're doing. But the difficulty is persuading people to visit your site. You can register your offering with Internet "search engines" such as Yahoo or Alta Vista - which allow searches by particular words - for free. But you cannot always guarantee the correct search criteria will be used for your site. Nor can you be sure that the browsing public will have the patience to look through a mass of sites on the off-chance they might find their dream home with you.

Instead, you could register with an estate agency site - but this will normally mean paying commission. Alternatively, there are sites for classified- type sales.

The Moneyworld UK Personal Finance Directory (www.moneyworld.co.uk/ukpfd) has "hotlinks" - direct connections - to a range of agency and classified sites. Loot, the classifieds newspaper published in separate editions in larger cities across the UK, is also on the Internet (www.lootlink- com). You can list your home for free in the small ads section of the newspaper - call 0171 372 7262 in London - or e-mail the details. (If you do the former the ad gets listed both in the paper and electronically; if the latter, then it appears on the Net only.)

For pounds 59.95 Loot sells a Private Sale package, with a "for sale" board to go outside your property, a sales pack including advice on selling your home, a free legal helpline, and three months of daily advertising with a picture of your home, in the paper and on the Net. The on-line version will soon offer extra services like colour photos and e-mail links for buyers to contact sellers.

Housenet (www.housenet.co.uk) is another service for both private advertisers and estate agents, with a free classified ads section, and a more detailed service with a photo of each property costing pounds 29.95, and pounds 15 for each extra photo. Coverage is mainly in the south of England.

Dido Sandler works for 'Financial Adviser' magazine.

News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker