I live in Leicestershire and used HouseNetwork.co.uk to sell my four bedroomed house for £269,000 - only £6,000 less than the £275,000 asking price! It went live on RightMove.co.uk on 25/01/2012, sold on 27/02/2012 and "completed" on 04/04/2012 - in this time I had seven viewings and four offers; one ridiculous, one cheeky, one okay and one very good.
Originally I had a local agent view the property and their standard fee was 1.25% - i.e £3,362.50 if it sold for £269,000. After some negotiation they reduced this to a sliding scale of 0.75% to 1.25% depending on how much they sold it for. I decided to look on the Internet, using Google, and came across about four companies offering a similar online estate agency service. After talking to each of them, and having pulled their accounts from companies house, I decided that HouseNetwork.co.uk was the least risky option. To be honest, I still had reservations and ended up talking to their MD via the online chat facility. I asked some really awkward questions, but was fairly happy with the replies - plus the transcript was emailed to me so I had it all in writing lest anything went wrong. As you may have guessed, I am a very risk averse individual! I decided that at £425 plus VAT (special promo deal that has now expired - but I'd have happily paid the current £495 + VAT fee to be honest!) it was worth a punt given it would cost nearly £3,000 more with a local agent.
I paid my money in December, to grab the special deal, but didn't go live until the end of January so no money wasted as clock doesn't start ticking until you say go. The agent that visited to take the pictures was really friendly but professional and he produced some excellent floorplans (way better than most estate agents - some don't even bother....they are so lazy!) and some decent photos (far greater quantity than you get with most local agents listing on RightMove.co.uk) that showed off the best features of my house. Three of my viewers also commented on how good the service was and couldn't believe the difference in price between online and local services - one in particular was left counting how much they could have saved!
The online portal for bookings and feedback works really well, for sellers and buyers alike, but in the event of any problems, or even if you'd just like the personal touch, then you can ring the direct line number for the agent looking after your account - Ashley in this case and he was excellent at the crucial point of price negotiation. You will have to show viewers around your house personally, but to my mind you are probably the best person to do so - afterall, who else knows as much about it? In my experience most local agents will, unless you point blank refuse, ask you to perform viewings anyway - not sure what they really do for their money given 99% of buyers find the house on RightMove.co.uk or elsewhere on the Internet anyway! Have a think about what you want to say beforehand and maybe do a trial run with your partner or a friend. I was a bit nervous initially but actually enjoyed it once I got going and I think the viewer liked the personal touch and past history I was able to provide - do leave them to have a look round on their own afterwards though.
I rarely provide feedback such as this, as I am simply too busy with work/home life, but such was the excellent service that I felt it would be unfair not to do so. I would recommend HouseNetwork.co.uk to anyone and everyone and have certainly sang their praises to familiy and friends. Don't think the local agent, when ringing me for an update on progress, was overly pleased when I told them how good the service was.... food for thought no doubt and not good news for their business model in my opinion.
Assuming HouseNetwork.co.uk keep their prices competitive, I wouldn't even bother looking at alternatives next time we move and this is coming from someone who normally spends a lot of time researching the best deal! Give them a try, you won't be disappointed and you'll save yourself a fortune - the saving paid for my solicitors (buy and sell), house survey and still left me with a few hundred pounds! Throughly recommended and many thanks for making my house sale such a pain free experience! :o)