A South Yorkshire businessman has launched what’s thought to be the first online estate agency of its kind, which equips people with the skills and tools that they need to sell their property themselves.
To use OkayLah (www.okaylah.co.uk), customers pay a minimal, one-off fee (£65) and control the entire process themselves. Crucially, they don’t have to sign a contract or pay any commission when they sell their home. Their property can stay on the website for as long as they choose and they receive a ‘For Sale’ or ‘To Let’ marketing board free of charge.
The brains behind the business is Paul Telford of Sprotbrough, who believes that it’s high time that the sector received a shake-up.
He said: “Back in 2012, Sir Vince Cable, who was the Secretary of State for Business at that time, deregulated the estate agency sector. This made it possible for home owners to sell their own properties, without the need for an estate agent. The idea was to remove red tape, take full advantage of online technology and reduce the cost of selling your property in a bid to encourage growth within the housing market.”
Paul continued: “Prior to this, conventional bricks and mortar estate agents typically charged anywhere between one and three per cent of the sale price for their services. Since then, a number of online estate agents have emerged, reducing the cost of selling your home to a fixed fee of somewhere between £500 and £850, depending which of the current market leaders you choose.”
Whilst these changes have promoted greater competition within the estate agency sector and reduced the overall cost of selling your home, the range of online options is currently limited to property portals, which tend to be used by traditional estate agents to give their customers an online presence, and online estate agents, which typically require customers to sign a finance agreement that burdens them with financial penalties and contractual obligations.
Paul said: “I believe that estate agents offer very little in the modern marketplace. They promise everything from free valuations to free online listings, but, in return, the customer usually has to sign up to their terms and conditions.
“I think it’s about time that the customer took control of the process. At OkayLah, for a one-off fee of just £65, we give the customer the tools and support that they need to promote their property online, arrange viewings and negotiate a sale. Because we work with more than 300 qualified experts nationwide, we can provide a host of optional, add-on services but, importantly, only if our customers need them! We can offer everything from Energy Performance Certificates to floor plans and professionally-taken marketing photographs.”
Launched this week, the website already features a growing portfolio of property listings. Paul and his team intend to continue building OkayLah’s presence here in Yorkshire before turning their attention to the national market.
Paul added: “The website is incredibly user-friendly and, once a customer has registered their property, they can control everything themselves through their own personal dashboard. The feedback that we’re receiving so far is that it’s a refreshing and welcome change from the other options on offer within the estate agency sector.
“Ultimately, your property is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. For a one-off fee of just £65 and no contractual obligations whatsoever, why wouldn’t you have a go at selling it yourself using OkayLah?”