There’s no secret to being an agent. DIY sites cut the cost for sellers.
WHEN Anne-Marie Doyle saved thousands by selling her own house in just two weeks she hit upon a great idea that has weathered the recession.
As traditional estate agents struggle, Anne-Marie says business is booming for the DIY house sale website Sellityourself.ie.
She said: “Last year, the number of people using the site grew by 125 per cent. We think it’s because we charge a relatively small flat fee to advertise, which means hard-up sellers can gauge interest without much risk.”
Anne-Marie and business partner Neil Doherty used their combined backgrounds in marketing and web design to set up the site in 2005.
She said: “I set up a small website to advertise my own home and sold it within two weeks. All I had to do was to keep everybody up-to-date with the latest offers by phone. After that I knew that it was a service which would be popular with Irish property owners.”
Sellityourself.ie doesn't get involved with valuations, surveys or price negotiations which usually take place over the phone. Sellityourself.ie also backs-up listings with newspaper adverts and For Sale signboards.
Big savings can be made if the sale runs smoothly. Anne Marie says: “Estate agents charge an average of 1.5pc plus VAT. On a house valued at €250,000, a property owner can pay more than €4,500. This compares with a one-off fee of €150 charges by us.
“Customers who aren’t internet savvy can also post in their details and we will put them online at no extra cost. We’ve had clients from mid-twenties to mid-seventies and have listed properties from €125,000 to €1.9million.”
Tim Ryan, spokesman for estate agents’ body, the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers, has defined the role of estate agents.
He said: “If selling your own home is that easy, why are most people still using estate agents? A good estate agents will know how best to market your house and to maximise the price – more than covering the costs involved.”
But Anne-Marie argues that it’s not just potential profit that draw people to DIY sale.
She said “ The second most popular reason for using our services was to have more control over the sale. Many owners - rightly or wrongly – have the belief that their agents aren’t doing enough to ‘sell’ their property and want to get involved.
“A lot of our sellers are ‘silver surfers’ in the older age bracket. They tend to have more of a negative opinion on the level of estate agents’ commission and usually much more time to carry out viewings.”
IRISH NEWS OF THE WORLD, Lynne Sharman
17 Jan 2010