4 in 10 sellers would shun bricks-and-mortar estate agents for next move

05 Sept 2019 New research suggests, if they were to move tomorrow, millions of people would cut costs by taking a more hands-on approach to selling their home and undertaking their own house removal. 

Estate agents’ fees make up a sizable chunk of the cost of selling a property.  Depending on the contract and the agreed selling price, fees can run to thousands of pounds. 

The research, commissioned by GoCompare Home Insurance, found that 42% of sellers, that’s an estimated 7.3 million homeowners, would shun a traditional high-street estate agent.  35% would now use an online agent such as Purple Bricks, Tepilo, or Emoov. 

Online agents charge much lower fees to market properties than traditional estate agents but, homeowners are required to conduct viewings and handle negotiations.    The survey also found that a handful of sellers would cut costs by taking a complete DIY approach to selling their property; 8% would sell privately through advertisements on social media or in newspapers, 1% would even consider raffling their home.Traditional estate agents remain the preferred choice of most (57%) homeowners, particularly those in older age groups.

Homeowners aged 55 and older were the most likely to make a future sale through a traditional estate agent.  Older homeowners are more likely to be involved in a complex chain of house sales, which might require more time and expertise to keep the sale together.    
 Removal costs also make up a large portion of the cost of a house move.  The research revealed that 49% of people would try to save money by undertaking a DIY house removal.  Over a third (38%) said they would hire a van and move themselves while 12% would use their own vehicle or enlist help from friends.       

GoCompare Home Insurance compared just under 400 home contents insurance policies, which revealed that not all provide cover for house removals. And, where cover is available, it varies widely between policies.  Most (78%) policies cover the insured’s belongings during a house removal as standard, 12% only did so if the policyholder had chosen to top-up their cover to include accidental damage.  One in ten policies didn’t provide any cover for removals.

The comparison also revealed that cover is typically only valid if the removal is undertaken by a professional firm. Fragile items such as glassware and china are usually only insured if they have been professionally packed.  Cover for valuables such as personal money, jewellery, stamps and coins is typically excluded and not all policies cover possessions left in storage.       

Commenting on the research, GoCompare’s home insurance expert Ryan Fulthorpe said, “Whether you rent or own your home, moving can be an expensive and stressful business.  People can make substantial savings by doing more of the work themselves.  But, with a lot to organise, making sure their possessions are insured during the move probably isn’t something most people consider.“Whether you decide to move yourself or employ a professional firm, you’ll need to contact your home contents insurer in advance of your moving date.  They’ll be able to let you know what cover, if any, is provided for your possessions while they are in transit and highlight any limits or restrictions which may apply.” 

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