Norfolks online estate agents. Est. 2007

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19 November 2007

Amid the potential of a slowing housing market, one in two Brits are looking to reduce the cost of their property purchase by cutting out estate agents.

Some 92 per cent of Brits feel estate agents do not justify their cost, according to research released today by Gumtree.com, while 68 per cent do not know what agents' fees are intended to cover.

Estate agents take an average 1.9 per cent commission on a house sale, which can equate to £4,151 on the price of an average UK house, according to Gumtree.

Some agents are also viewed as unprofessional or unhelpful, and were accused of encouraging buyers to stretch their budgets or making them wait unnecessarily for correspondence.

In response more homeowners are deciding to sell their property direct to the consumer, usually through the internet.

"The internet - with its huge low-cost marketing reach – is starting to play a much more central role in the typical homebuyers search for a new property," said TV property expert, Michael Holmes.

For example, Gumtree has seen a 40 per cent increase in the number of properties being directly listed on its site in the past six months.

Coupled to this, other sites advising on selling property without an agent, have seen a rise in popularity.

However, there are also a host of other means available to sellers.

Adverts in the local newspaper, signposts in gardens, auctions and word of mouth are all gaining in popularity as methods employed to sell a property - all of which cut out the need for an estate agent.

"While there’ll always be a market for estate agents, the mood is changing in this uncertain market," commented Sophy Silver from Gumtree.

"With a bit of know-how and confidence, Brits will find that selling your house can be as easy as changing a light bulb."
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