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The future of property sales is online

Internet banking is now over 10 years old. Over the last decade, online banking has developed into a sophisticated and immensely popular facility. Recent research by the Nationwide shows that 37% of adults now bank via the internet.

E-Bay, Amazon and Tesco are just three companies that have embraced the power of on-line purchasing which is now a multi billion pound industry in the UK.

Conversely, in the last 12 months around 2500 High Street estate agents have gone out of business with more predicted to follow even after the credit crunch has abated as more and more people turn to online property sales.

Thanks to the success of portals such as rightmove, the internet is revolutionising the way that property is bought and sold in the UK. Over 80% of homebuyers find their next home by searching on-line. As a consequence, it has been estimated that as many as 50% of properties will be sold on line within the next five years.
However the internet is no substitute for personal service which is where online estate agents such as will thrive - evolving virtually as a hybrid service between internet property retailers and traditional high street estate agents. can help homeowners market and sell (or let) their homes. A local independent mousesale agent will personally visit each property to guide the owner through the whole process. He or she will prepare sales particulars on the vendors behalf, take digital photographs and upload details to and its partner sites including mousesale will also provide a for sale board to attract passers by to the fact that the property is for sale. Finally mousesale will handle enquiries and deal with all negotiations on behalf of the vendor – a service which private property sale businesses are prevented from providing.

Not only is this a great deal for homeowners, it also presents forward thinking estate agents with an exciting business opportunity:

•    Overheads are greatly reduced as there is no need for an expensive high street presence
•    Cash flow is eased as clients pay a negotiable ‘up-front’ fee.
•    Cross sale and lead generation opportunities are presented
•    Lettings can be offered with burden of ‘red tape’ reduced

In case anyone is in any doubt of the growth of the internet, in 2008, 16 million households in Great Britain (65 per cent) had Internet access. This is an increase of just over 1 million households (7 per cent) over the last year and 5 million households (46 per cent) since 2002.

However the internet is still no substitute for personal contact which is why anyone with a website or internet presence must also handle all enquiries promptly and effectively.

Do you personally call all email enquiries you receive? You should do so as soon as possible. Ideally within two hours and certainly within 24 hours. Our experience is that by following up an email enquiry promptly, the client is at first surprised that there are real people in a virtual world and then pleased to have personal contact.

All of our clients then receive a personal visit at home. Not only is this a legal requirement under the PMA but it is also an opportunity to promote other products and services such as conveyancing, mortgages etc.

The future is online – but with a personal service!