In the future - Online, on your own

The other option is to use one of the new forms of selling property that have come into being in the last few years. Both are limited to certain parts of the country; both should work out considerably cheaper than using an estate agent.

Dealing with the computer agencies first, these are at the time of writing limited mainly to the South-east and South-west of the country. Home line, based in London, charge a registration fee of £12 per £11,000 of the asking price -up to a maximum of £198 (plus VAT).

Unlike in the case of estate agents, this fee is paid up front, but your property then remains on their websites -or rather computer tapes until it's sold. The computer matches up buyers and sellers; you can, in addition, have a Tor Sale' board which will cost a bit extra. Home line say they have over 20% of all buyers seeking property in London on their websites and that the average price of property they sell is around £140,000.

In the West Country, there are two such organisations: of Bristol and House probe of Bath. Computahome charge £160 (plus VAT);'s rates are similar.

These agencies are not particularly suitable if you are selling from a distance, as they leave it up to you to make arrangements to see potential purchasers and show them round. The other disadvantage is that you are paying money in advance of a sale which might not materialise.

If you're successful, however (and these agencies claim a fair measure of successful sales and satisfied customers), you will be saving several hundreds of pounds. A £130,000 house, for example, could cost £1600 or more to sell through an estate agent, compared to £160-4100 through a computer agency.

Property sites are to estate agents as a hypermarket is to the local delicatessen. Like the computer agencies, they charge a flat fee, payable in advance, which ranges from around £150 to £1120 depending on the area.

Property shops are more widely spread throughout the country than computer agencies although, again, they seem to be concentrated more in the southern half of the country than the North.

The essential difference between both these alternatives and estate agents is that the latter act as your agent -they will advise you on what price to ask and whether to accept a lower offer, they will show prospective purchasers round your house if necessary, and so on. With property shops and computer agencies, however, you are selling the property; although some may, to a greater or lesser extent, be prepared to offer advice, their main function is simply to provide you with the means to make the sale.

In the future - Alternatives to estate agents Doing it yourself

If you decide to sell your property yourself, the heaviest cost you will have to bear is advertising. For the reasons given above, it's a good idea to put up your own 'For Sale' board, and then you must decide where to advertise.

You could even start off with the newsagents' windows, but apart from this you will have, generally speaking, three alternatives: a local paper, a national paper and specialist papers (such as Dalton's Weekly, Home finder, etc.).

When you advertise in a newspaper it's a better idea to do so on a day when there are a large number of property advertisements, where yours will be sandwiched between scores of others, than it is to choose one where you'll make a splash by being . . .... see: In the future - Alternatives to estate agents Doing it yourself

Current Mortgage Offers

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