After we highlighted a report which said the impact of online estate agencies appears to have peaked, we hear conveyancing lawyers warn of the dangers of using ‘do-it-yourself’ agents to sell your home.
The study by Goodlord said few agents are worried by the ‘online agent threat’ and that most believe technology will benefit the high street sector more in the long run.
It follows a series of negative media stories about Purplebricks, which charges home sellers a fixed, up-front fee and the collapse or decline of several high-profile websites including eMoov, Tepilo, Upad and Hatched have changed perceptions about online agencies, the report says.
Over half of estate agents surveyed said they expected technological and social changes over the next two decades to have a positive impact on them professionally.
Writing in The Scotsman Gillian Wright, Legal Director of law firm Gillespie McAndrew, stressed the importance of appointing an established, high street agent with good local knowledge.
She said: “In recent times there has been an increase in the number of DIY estate agents in the market, and there is often a temptation to go with the cheapest option when selecting your adviser.
“Whilst this is understandable when it comes to everyday commodities, for most people their house is their biggest and most valuable asset. Is it worth taking a gamble when selling your current home and buying your new one?
“There is real value in appointing an estate agent who knows the market in your area, they can recommend the best price at which to market your property to maximise interest and can help you navigate notes of interest and closing dates.”
She added: “DIY estate agents often put this burden on the seller, who can be completely out of their depth and may end up making the wrong decision under pressure.”
Ms Wright said there are some sensitive situations in which an inexperienced ‘DIY estate agent’ is particularly inappropriate, even if they promise a cheaper service.
She said: “Death and divorce are common triggers for a sale, and this is often an emotional time for the parties involved. When property is sold as part of an Executry, thought must be given to the timing of the marketing with reference to the Sheriff Court’s grant of Confirmation.
“When there is a separation or divorce, both parties need to get the best advice and having an agreement in place regarding the split of the net free proceeds of sale must be considered. These sensitivities are best dealt with by an estate agent and solicitor with experience in these particular fields.”
For more information about marketing your property call your local Scottish Property Centre branch or visit www.scottishpropertycentre.net