Are private-house-sale websites now the way to sell your home?

Denis Minns, of DBS Homes, believes he will always use estate agents in his business

Some 99 per cent of home-buyers look online when searching for a house.
So why not use a fixed-fee nationwide home sales website? Your particulars will be prepared and advertised online, and offers can be submitted to you through the site.
“Selling a house privately has never been easier,” they tell us. “You get to keep the cash you would have paid in estate agents’ commission.”
After all, “we are the experts when it comes to our own homes – selling a house is not complicated”.
“Estate agents, like travel agents, will become redundant through the use of the internet.”
As a house-builder I have been selling new homes for 35 years and I have always used estate agents. I am convinced that I always will.
Estate agents understand local housing markets. They are the experts with knowledge of people, property and prices in these markets. They have their fingers on the pulse of demand, supply and values. The location of agents’  offices in busy locations in towns helps keep them in touch with transactions. 
The estate agent is the independent professional who offers us the arm’s-length negotiation that can result in a better price for our property by detaching all emotion from the deal.
He is our representative with a solid incentive to steer the transaction through to completion, anticipating delays, agreeing compromises, finding solutions. He gives advice as to value and will seek to qualify offers for our homes by checking out dependent sales and finance availability.
With increasing regulation of house sales, we have to be sure that information is accurate. Does a private seller point out much that may be negative about his property? Estate agents are required by law to do so, to avoid wrongful  description. This helps the buyer, too, enabling him or her to proceed with his purchase by ensuring that all accurate information is made available.
Buyers shop online to save money. This is surely the opposite to the objective of the home-seller, who will wish to maximise the sale price of his property.
Why place your property on a website where it will merely attract opportunistic offers when what you are really seeking is the best offer from a buyer who will be able to complete the deal?
The estate agent is paid on successful completion of the sale so that we can be certain that if the transaction does not take place there is nothing to pay. There is no such incentive for the online website, which merely posts details and takes your cheque.
So I will stick with the traditional way of selling DBS houses, through a local estate agent. I will be sure to receive impartial advice as to value, sales potential, sales progress and time-scales, and those who show interest in buying my houses will be given accurate and timely information and the very best service.

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