New Guidance on Property Sales for Estate Agents & Letting Agents

Published on 13 September, 2012

Interesting news from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills - you can read the full report here.

The main crux of it is that private house sellers can now offer more of a service and not be considered estate agents. Although the amount of extra work they can do to still remain as private house sale sites is very small.

For example, at the moment, if a private house sale site were to put a branded For Sale board up, they would then be considered estate agents and fall into the Property Misdescriptions Act and have a lot of red tape to get through (all the stuff we have to deal with!)

Having read through the above link, it looks like a private house sale site will be allowed to put a branded For Sale board up and accept details from the owner of the house, but not be considered an estate agent. But that is pretty much where it ends. If the private house sale site were to offer the production of the property detail or any advice, then they would be considered estate agents! So, it doesn''''t seem like a huge change. But what are the consequences of the changes?

Well, this has been done to help new models into the market. However, we think this is going to benefit large corporate supermarkets who can now list properties on their site/shelves without coming under the scope of an estate agent.

We think that this change will lead to the large supermarkets to try to start selling properties as well as bread & milk! Because they can now put a For Sale board up and accept the property details and photos from the owner, they will not be under the Estate Agency scope. Imagine all the For Sale boards up and down your street advertising both the property, but also the groceries you can buy from their store?!

But, the key thing here is, will they sell any houses? Because, at the end of the day, people put their house on the market to sell it, not to just let it sit there.

The key to selling, we believe, is Rightmove, Zoopla, Findaproperty & Primelocation. So, either the supermarkets will have to be able to position themselves as ''''the place to go to buy a house'''', or they will have to get on these sites...

Firstly, why would a buyer go to a supermarket to buy a house? A house is not an impulse purchase, like a bottle of wine or a bag of spuds. Therefore, we think buyers will still go to the place that is showing as many properties as possible. Rightmove has such a stranglehold on the market - everybody knows that this is the place to go when searching for a home.

And secondly, in our view, there is absolutely no chance that someone like Rightmove would let someone like Tesco, Asda or Sainsburys on to their portal and risk the wrath of the high street estate agent. Rightmove make so much money out of estate agents; there is no way that any supermarket or any amount of private sellers could make Rightmove the same amount of money that they do out of estate agents.

So, how will it change the market? Not by much, we don''''t think. What it might do, however, is give more people the knowledge that there is an alternative out there...

The alternative being a mixture of private selling (the low fees) and full estate agency with access to the major property portals and the same chance of selling your house; agents like!

The future is coming...

Adam Day

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