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14th October 2003


House sellers keen to maximise their chance of achieving a sale while minimising their costs are being given a helping hand by the Office of Fair Trading and the UK's leading online property sales website., which has championed a cheaper and fairer way to sell property since 1996, has published a free guide for homeowners to dispel six key myths perpetuated by traditional estate agents to win and keep business.

The most compelling advice offered in the 21-page booklet, The HouseWeb Guide to Selling Your Home (available free at, is a directive from the Office of Fair Trading that homeowners can advertise their property with an estate agent and online sites such as HouseWeb without compromising their contract with the agent, thereby increasing their likelihood of success and the possibility of an average HouseWeb customer saving of 4,500 in fees.

According to the OFT's clarification on sole agency: "The estate agent you appoint is the only agent with the right to sell your property. As you are not an agent, if you find a buyer yourself you don't have to pay the estate agent's commission."

HouseWeb managing director Mark Desvaux adds: "As HouseWeb is a publisher and not an estate agent, by advertising on our site, buyers contact the vendors directly. By using the dual route of HouseWeb and an agent, sellers are also introducing some welcome competition to keep their estate agent on their toes."

He adds: "Sellers should also check the agent's contract to make sure they haven't specified a clause saying 'sole selling rights' rather than 'sole agent rights'. In this case you would still have to pay the agent's commission, even if you sold it yourself."

Other common myths exploded in The HouseWeb Guide to Selling Your Home include the belief that vendors will recoup the money they spent on an estate agent as the latter will negotiate a higher sale price. But, explains Mark Desvaux, many agents will name a price that far exceeds the seller's expectations, so that they will be suitably impressed by their confidence to appoint them over their competitors

He says: "In hundreds of cases, HouseWeb customers who have explored the more traditional sales route before taking control of their own sale with our help have reported their frustration that several weeks later, after no inquiries, the agent suggests dropping the price. Alternatively, if you feel their estimate is too low, it might be because they want to make a quick sale so they receive their commission quicker, as cash is king. The most important thing to remember is that estate agents are salesmen."

HouseWeb provides sellers with the marketplace to advertise their properties across the UK to 2 million house hunters a month. Customers simply enter their property details on the HouseWeb web site and instead of paying a large commission when their home is sold, they purchase a property advertising package for a small one-off fee of between 129 and 299.

HouseWeb has removed the mystique from selling property, simplifying the process, so that a home can be marketed for sale within 15 minutes. Every customer will also receive a copy of The HouseWeb Guide to a Successful Sale, a follow-up PDF guide with sections including preparing your home - tips from the professionals, responding to enquiries, how to conduct a successful viewing, making the most of your property advert, the role of the solicitor, sales techniques and negotiating the best price.


For further information, please contact:

Mark Desvaux, Managing Director

Tel: 0845 003 0720




Launched in May 1996, HouseWeb ( created the online private sales market for homeowners, allowing them to directly sell on the Internet, saving an average of £4,500 in fees. Currently, the marketplace has over £1 billion of property for sale. receives more than 1.2 million visitors each year and has won numerous awards, including 'top property site' from Internet World.

The site also includes over 2,500 pages of comprehensive guides covering everything from first mortgages to finding a dream home. is an indispensable resource packed with properties, information, news, advice, discussion forums, web directories and financial services. HouseWeb is owned by HouseWeb Ltd, a privately held company based in Cambridge, UK.

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