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Report reveals large number of sellers would shun a traditional estate agent

Some 42% of sellers would shun traditional estate agents for their next move and 49% would cut the cost by going for a DIY house removal, new research has found.

I means that 7.3 million potential house sellers would opt for an online agent to cut the cost of moving or sell privately, according to the study by GoCompare Home Insurance.

Estate agents’ fees make up a sizable chunk of the cost of selling a property. Depending on the contract and the agreed selling price, fees can run to thousands of pounds.

Online agents charge much lower fees to market properties than traditional estate agents but, homeowners are required to conduct viewings and handle negotiations.

The survey also found that a handful of sellers would cut costs by taking a complete DIY approach to selling their property as 8% would sell privately through advertisements on social media or in newspapers and 1% would even consider raffling their home.

However, traditional estate agents still remain the preferred choice of most at 57%, particularly for older home owners. Those aged 55 and older were the most likely to make a future sale through a traditional estate agent.

The report points out that older home owners are more likely to be involved in a complex chain of house sales, which might require more time and expertise to keep the sale together.

It also warns that DIY house removals could invalidate home contents insurance. It is an area where people try to cut costs. Some 49% said they would try to save money by undertaking a DIY house removal.

The study found that over a third, some 38%, said they would hire a van and move themselves while 12% would use their own vehicle or enlist help from friends.

The firm points out that most policies, 78%, cover the insured’s belongings during a house removal as standard, 12% only did so if the policyholder had chosen to top up their cover to include accidental damage an one in ten policies didn’t provide any cover for removals.

The comparison also revealed that cover is typically only valid if the removal is undertaken by a professional firm. Fragile items such as glassware and china are usually only insured if they have been professionally packed. Cover for valuables such as personal money, jewellery, stamps and coins is typically excluded and not all policies cover possessions left in storage.

‘Whether you rent or own your home, moving can be an expensive and stressful business. People can make substantial savings by doing more of the work themselves. But, with a lot to organise, making sure their possessions are insured during the move probably isn’t something most people consider,’ said GoCompare’s home insurance expert Ryan Fulthorpe.

‘Whether you decide to move yourself or employ a professional firm, you’ll need to contact your home contents insurer in advance of your moving date. They’ll be able to let you know what cover, if any, is provided for your possessions while they are in transit and highlight any limits or restrictions which may apply,’ he explained.

‘To transfer your contents insurance to your new property, you’ll need to provide your insurer with details of your new home. Premiums are based on the type of property, its postcode and the value of your belongings. So, your insurer will want to recalculate your premium accordingly,’ he added.

‘Finally, if you’re buying new furniture, electrical or white goods, or other items for your new home which would push up the value of your contents, you should review your sum insured to make sure it is sufficient to cover your new purchases,’ he concluded.