Monday, 6 June 2011

Cut-price estate agents incur wrath of traditional firms

The estate agency establishment is up in arms over two unorthodox firms set up to encourage homeowners to sell their property, despite the long-term downturn in the market, by offering their services at bargain prices. The most controversial is Property Bay Wales (PBW), based in the Neath Port Talbot council offices and funded by council tax payers.

It aims to sell homes on the open market for a flat fee of £899 plus VAT – far less than fees, of between 1% and 2% of the sale price, typically charged by most local private agents. PBW's fee covers advertising on its own website and on portals such as Rightmove, publicising homes for sale in local newspapers, and conducting viewings for potential purchasers. The firm also handles social housing and private sector rentals.

Read the full story here Cut-price estate agents incur wrath of traditional firms

NetRent Comment

As local authorities are pressured to become more commercial and creative it is likely that more will look to copy Neath Port Talbot Council, especially if this venture proves to be a success.

One agent who commented on this venture was quoted as saying that he 'wouldn't get out of bed for £899'. It is this type of comment that convinces the general public that agents are more interested in their own pocket than their customers and will play right into the hands of the likes of Property Bay Wales.

Rather than moan about unfair playing fields and demanding to know where the start-up funds came from agents need to look at their own service and costs and question whether or not they represent value for money for the customer. If customers do not believe that agent's fees represent value for money they will vote with their feet and end up at cheaper alternatives such as Property Bay Wales.