Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

New online property selling service to save house-hunters cash

He has survived the property crash in Spain and is now back in Northern Ireland to pioneer a new way of selling homes.

"Expertise without the high fees" is how entrepreneur Brian Nelson described his new venture Sure2Sell, which has been launched in Lisburn creating 12 jobs.

With around 95% of property searches starting online, he claimed the new online estate agency will change how homes are purchased and save buyers "thousands of pounds".

Mr Nelson said he had experienced the highs and lows of the property market while living in Spain, where – like Northern Ireland – prices have fallen by around 50% on their 2007 peak.

"My family moved out to Spain and launched an estate agency in 2001," said Mr Nelson.

"At our peak we had 146 staff and five offices across the south of the country.

"We were selling 85-100 properties a month mainly to buyers in Northern Ireland, the Republic and Scandinavia and mostly online, so we know how strong that market can be. By 2007 the bubble was beginning to burst and we relocated to England."

He said he had been planning his move home and the launch of his latest venture since 2009. The manner in which people house-hunt had changed, he added.

"People just don't drive around looking for 'for sale' signs or peer through shop windows on high streets any more – it's all being done online," he said.

"People are charging huge fees just for opening a front door. We go to the property, take the photos, measure and describe the house, do the advertising, but we don't charge the fees."

Estate agents usually charge between 1.5% and 2% of the value of a property in fees once a sales is achieved.

But Mr Nelson said his business would charge a monthly fee of £50 plus VAT per month until the property is sold – or a one-off flat fee of £375 plus VAT.

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