DIY home move revolution: 42% of sellers would shun bricks-and-mortar estate agents for next move: Row of houses

05 September 2019, 10:13

DIY home move revolution: 42% of sellers would shun bricks-and-mortar estate agents for next move

  • 3 million potential house-sellers would sign-up with an online agent to cut the cost of moving or sell privately;
  • Nearly half (49%) would also cut costs by undertaking a DIY house removal;
  • GoCompare Home Insurance warns that the DIY approach could invalidate your contents insurance.  

New research1 suggests, if they were to move tomorrow, millions2 of people would cut costs by taking a more hands-on approach to selling their home and undertaking their own house removal. 

Property sales – 7.3 million sellers would happily do more work to sell their home in exchange for lower estate agents’ fees

Estate agents’ fees make up a sizable chunk of the cost of selling a property.  Depending on the contract and the agreed selling price, fees can run to thousands of pounds.  The research, commissioned by GoCompare Home Insurance, found that 42% of sellers, that’s an estimated 7.3 million homeowners, would shun a traditional high-street estate agent.  

35% would now use an online agent such as Purple Bricks, Tepilo, or Emoov.  Online agents charge much lower fees to market properties than traditional estate agents but, homeowners are required to conduct viewings and handle negotiations.    

The survey also found that a handful of sellers would cut costs by taking a complete DIY approach to selling their property; 8% would sell privately through advertisements on social media or in newspapers, 1% would even consider raffling their home.

Traditional estate agents remain the preferred choice of most (57%) homeowners, particularly those in older age groups. Homeowners aged 55 and older were the most likely to make a future sale through a traditional estate agent.  Older homeowners are more likely to be involved in a complex chain of house sales, which might require more time and expertise to keep the sale together.     

DIY house removals could invalidate your home contents insurance

Removal costs also make up a large portion of the cost of a house move.  The research revealed that 49% of people would try to save money by undertaking a DIY house removal.  Over a third (38%) said they would hire a van and move themselves while 12% would use their own vehicle or enlist help from friends.       

GoCompare Home Insurance compared just under 4003 home contents insurance policies, which revealed that not all provide cover for house removals. And, where cover is available, it varies widely between policies.  Most (78%) policies cover the insured’s belongings during a house removal as standard, 12% only did so if the policyholder had chosen to top-up their cover to include accidental damage.  One in ten policies didn’t provide any cover for removals.

The comparison also revealed that cover is typically only valid if the removal is undertaken by a professional firm. Fragile items such as glassware and china are usually only insured if they have been professionally packed.  Cover for valuables such as personal money, jewellery, stamps and coins is typically excluded and not all policies cover possessions left in storage.       

Commenting on the research, GoCompare’s home insurance expert Ryan Fulthorpe said, “Whether you rent or own your home, moving can be an expensive and stressful business.  People can make substantial savings by doing more of the work themselves.  But, with a lot to organise, making sure their possessions are insured during the move probably isn’t something most people consider.

“Whether you decide to move yourself or employ a professional firm, you’ll need to contact your home contents insurer in advance of your moving date.  They’ll be able to let you know what cover, if any, is provided for your possessions while they are in transit and highlight any limits or restrictions which may apply.” 

Ryan continued: “To transfer your contents insurance to your new property, you’ll need to provide your insurer with details of your new home.  Premiums are based on the type of property, its postcode and the value of your belongings.  So, your insurer will want to recalculate your premium accordingly. 

“Changing address can be a good time to shop around and change your home insurer.  While your current insurer may have offered the best deal on your old property - they might not be so competitive for your new home.  However, before committing to switch, you should check your existing insurer’s cancellation charges to make sure that these don’t wipe out any potential savings.

“Finally, if you’re buying new furniture, electrical or white goods, or other items for your new home which would push up the value of your contents, you should review your sum insured to make sure it is sufficient to cover your new purchases.”

“For information on home insurance and moving house, visit:  


For further information please contact:

Anders Nilsson or Louisa Marsden at GoCompare on 01633 654 054 / 01633 655 132

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare

Notes to editors

1On 13 May 2019, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2,004 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panellists.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

2Source: ‘Dwelling stock estimates Great Britain’ ONS - there are 17,345,000 homeowners in Great Britain.  42% of 17,345,000 is 7,284,900 rounded to 7.3 million.

3Defaqto Matrix of 399 home contents insurance policies (20 May 2019) - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial researcher Defaqto. Percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number.


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