A DIGITAL estate agent is allowing homeowners to sell their property “for free” – meaning sellers don’t have to pay any agency fees.
Strike, which launches today, lets property owners manage the adverts for their own homes through an app on their phone.
Brits can now sell their homes without paying agency fees
The service skips out the need for a physical agent, and allows sellers to manage viewings and offers through the app.
But the fee-free listings only apply to sellers in the north of England, and homeowners elsewhere won’t be able to use the advertising service to flog property at all.
The app-based agent was previously known as Housesimple, which launched in 2019 and sold homes in the south, but it has now switched to serve the other half of the country.
Strike says sellers using the portal could save more than £3,600 in commission fees, based on the national average house price according to Land Registry data.
Estate agent fees to look out for
ON top of the advertised estate agent fees, many companies add extra costs to the final bill.
These are the ones you should look out for, according to Homeowners Alliance, so you don’t get a shock when it comes to selling your home:
- Fees are often quoted excluding VAT, which is currently 20 per cent. So a 1 per cent agency fee is actually 1.2 per cent inc VAT, or £3600 on a £300,000 home.
- Estate agents often charge commission onto of the agreed fees. This is usually a percentage of the final sale price.
- Estate agents are legally obliged to tell you exactly what the fees cover – you shouldn’t have to pay extra for photos and listings but if they do charge extra for these make sure you’re aware of it before agreeing to the contract terms.
- Make sure there are no withdrawal fees, otherwise you will be charged if you change your mind about selling your home.
- Be aware that you are under no obligation to use any in-house estate agent services, such as mortgages or conveyancing.
- Most agents can arrange for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to be carried out but you don’t have to use them. Shop around as you may be able to get one cheaper elsewhere.
- Shop around. Estate agent fees are different depending on the chain and branch so you should speak to a few to find out prices and the services that they offer before committing to a contract.
High street estate agents typically charge a fee worth an agreed percentage of the sale price – on average its 1.18 per cent, according to house seller website The Advisory.
Online agents that work in a similar way to Strike tend to operate a flat-rate fee and can save sellers thousands of pounds.
For example, both competitors Purple Bricks and Yopa charge £999 – or £1,499 for properties in London – for the basic package where sellers also organise their own viewings.
Instead of making cash through property listings, Strike earns a fee from partner companies advertised on the platforms every time someone uses them.
The services include free mortgage advice and removal services.
By cutting out the middle-man, sellers are able to accept, reject and rearrange new viewing requests themselves by messaging the buyers directly.
Buyers and sellers can even continue to speak to each other after they’ve agreed an offer.
The online estate agents only covers home sales in the north of England, including Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield.
The agency says it will create dozens of jobs in the north east as it plans to expand to cover Sunderland, Middlesbrough and the Borders later this year.
Sam Mitchell, chief executive officer at Strike, said: “Strike is here to redefine the way we move. Estate agencies haven’t changed for 200 years, we’ve been overcharged and underwhelmed. It’s time for a change.
“With Strike, we’re taking everything customers loved about Housesimple, making it more intuitive and adding a new mobile edge.”
The launch comes as one in six Brits said they would make an offer on a property after a virtual viewing.
First-time buyers and families are also predicted to save thousands thanks to a stamp duty holiday.
And we’ve explained how much you can save during the holiday.