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DIY Internet Based Property Sales System

By Ross Annabell

November 27, 2001

Two Wellington businessmen have developed a do-it-yourself Internet-based property sales system allowing owners to list and sell their homes, farms, commercial property or sections without the cost of real estate agents' fees.

The only cost is the conveyancing fee with a lawyer of their own choice, and a nominal $2 per day listing fee for their property listing on the web site. The service, when it becomes widely used, will save property owners millions of dollars in sales costs.

The system is linked with over 650 lawyers doing property transactions, representing more than 1200 individual lawyers from every major city and town throughout New Zealand, to ensure only bona fide clients operate as sellers.

The business, set up by Property Uniters NZ Ltd, has drawn $23 million worth of property to its web site in a few months, and is growing rapidly, with some of New Zealand's leading lawyers on its legal advisory database.

The web site receives hits from as far afield as the UK, USA, Malaysia, Italy and Germany, and current world terrorist fears are expected to increase overseas interest in New Zealand's real estate. Many buyers have registered and are waiting for property listings that meet their criteria from the web sites free property alert facility.

The key feature allows any property owner to prepare and maintain their own listing, complete with their own or professionally-taken photographs, on a web site which anyone in the world can inspect at the click of a mouse 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Any body with access to the Internet can browse through the property listings and if the seller has given their contact details in the listing buyers are encouraged to deal direct. A registered buyer is able to make offers direct to the seller via the web site.

The system is the brainchild of professional web site developer and former IBM employee Igor Pool, and his father Bryan, accountant and businessman.

They got the idea after watching the sometimes questionable real estate agents' antics on the television series, Location, Location, Location.

Professional legal representation ensures smooth negotiation and conveyancing processes. Lawyers are trained legal professionals and their independence and Code of Ethics means they must always look after their clients best interests and fees are based on an hourly charge.

Bryan Pool believes the e-commerce system will become increasingly common, and is particularly suitable to New Zealand, with its huge and growing number of Internet users.

'We believe it is in consumers' interest to have legal representation for their own protection, whether they are buyers or sellers, Bryan says. Lawyers see the value of going into e-commerce for the benefit of their clients.

The sellers can change their listing at any time by simply logging on to the web site and editing their listing. They can use a digital camera or scan their own photographs to illustrate a listing.

Sellers can be linked to another web site to further expand on their listing, or help promote their business in the case of builders and property developers.

Private sale or lease signs are available which provide an important link from the physical property to the listing on the web site.

It's a typical Kiwi do-it-yourself system, Bryan says. An owner wishing to test the market can register as a seller, get his ID and password, prepare his listing with photographs and await offers without any contractual commitment. Registration is free.

The Pools believe that it is not in the best interest of property owners to sign up for long-term exclusive agency contracts. Instead they should use all available resources to sell a property, in the minimum time and at the least expense.

They believe that it's a common misconception that only the seller pays commission under the orthodox real estate system. "What happens in effect is that the buyer also gets the commission passed on to him when he buys, because the commission is built in to the price of the property he's buying. You can only judge the success of a property sale by what you've got left in your hand after deducting all expenses, including the real estate agent's fees." said Bryan Pool.


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