Cut out the middlemen when selling a home

Moving home can be extremely expensive once stamp duty, mortgage fees and now Home Information Packs are added to the equation. Paying estate agent and solicitors' fees can therefore be the tip of the iceberg in terms of affordability.

But there is a way to reduce costs by cutting out the middlemen and growing numbers of financially-savvy homeowners are taking the plunge.

The need to save money may be driving the trend, but TV property shows are undoubtedly opening up a world of options for those who had not previously considered going it alone.

Television treats

Shows like Homes Under the Hammer and House Auction have put forward the realisation that visiting an estate agent is not the only way to buy a property and there are some bargains to be found elsewhere.

But now sellers too are realising they do not have to hand over a cut of their profits to an estate agent if they sell privately, either via auction, through a local newspaper or over the internet.

The BBC is reportedly working on a new property programme due for transmission next year that will investigate the money-saving merits of selling a property without an estate agent.

Axe the Agent is aimed at homeowners who want to handle the sale of their property themselves, from advertising it to negotiating with potential buyers.

DIY selling

The internet is one of the most popular places for homeowners to sell their property privately and since this is the first port of call for most buyers it seems like a sensible move.

Many websites offer to market homes for a one-off fee of around £150. Some will even send round a photographer to take professional pictures and put a for sale board up outside the property.

"The money saved by private advertising allows the vendor to be more flexible on price," Kay Davis, director of PropertyBroker.com, told Channel 4.

But it is not just estate agency work that can be done on a DIY basis to save buyers and sellers money. Even conveyancing, which many believe can only be carried out by a qualified solicitor, can be carried out privately.

Save on legal fees

Property experts claim sellers could save hundreds of pounds by doing their own conveyancing, which is the legal and administrative work associated with transferring the ownership of a property from one person to another.

Much conveyancing work involves sending out standard forms and questionnaires and while it does require lots of time and patience to handle paperwork, taking full control of the process can be rewarding.

"You'll know everything that is going on and the reason for any delays - and you'll save on fees," the consumer group Which? told the Guardian.

Property knowledge improving

Both buyers and sellers have acquired much more knowledge about the property market over the last ten years and TV property shows are teaching them the tricks of the trade when it comes to completing sales, getting the best value for money and cutting costs.

The downturn in the property market has done nothing to dampen people's appetite for such programmes and has only made them more determined to save money by opening up their options.


Published on: July 16, 2008

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