Most people can sell a used pink bathrobe, a Dukes Of Hazzard ashtray , or a Smurf TV tray. But how many of us would be trusting enough to sell our property on the internet? Plenty, according to a survey by first4sale, a innovative online property website. Research by YouGov, which questioned over 2 thousand UK respondents, discovered that seventy percent are fine with the idea of selling their most valuable item – their property – over the world wide web. The comparatively new concept of SIY – Sell it Yourself – could save £4 billion in excessive estate agency commission, argues first4sale.com. “It reflects consumer confidence in the internet,” says Mark Fisher, the chief executive of first4sale.com. “The net has over 10 million users in this country. Sell it Yourself has evolved quickly from dealing in smaller, low-valued possessions. More than 190,000 cars are sold on the internet each year, and houses are now the latest big-ticket item to sell yourself.” It makes sense.
By selling on the internet, you avoid the estate agents fees, usually 1·5 to 2 percent of the price. Fisher points out that on a £300,000 property, , the owner could save more than £5,000. But does it work? Only two months ago, Richard Batten, a software company director from Finchley, north London, put a deceased relatives property in Golders Green on the market for £799,000 with first4sale.com. “I don’t trust agents,” says Batten, “and as I was not under pressure to sell quickly, I thought I’d give it a go.” Within a couple of weeks, Mr Battern had 12 inquiries – most from the For Sale board, he adds – and an offer from a family in Hampstead that is going through at just below the asking price. A survey has been carried out and Mr Battern hopes to exchange soon. “I do not see the added value from an agent, and this way you deal directly with the buyer.” Now he is selling his own house, shared with his partner and their 12-year-old daughter. Now he has two potential buyers who did turn up both put in offers. “Altogether, I will save £20,000 on agents’ fees,” he says.