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Challenge for homebuyers to pocket the commission

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A new website is taking on the might of Australia's estate agents, promising to cut out the middle man and remove commission payments. OzHomes4You (www.ozhomes4you.com.au) was launched last week by its managing director Pam Fraser and hopes to provide a better and cheaper service than real estate agents. The site offers a range of services including online listings with up to six photos plus the option of a virtual tour, high impact street front signage as well as helpful guides on marketing and managing the sales process. It also allows sellers to deal directly with buyers and vice versa. Fraser said that the average commission charged by real estate agents is three months wages for the average Australian wage earner. She believes that many people would prefer to keep that money in their pockets. She said: "We're giving people a choice in how they sell their properties; we want to take the fear and doubt out of selling your property yourself." Graham Joyce, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA), said the service was nothing new and similar sites had been around for some time, but had not replaced the traditional estate agent. "There's a fair slice of the market for vendors and buyers selling direct between themselves, but our view would be that using a licensed real estate agent has many benefits, such as local knowledge and expertise, the ability to select the right price in the market place and professional indemnity insurance." He said he would urge people to consider what they will do if it goes wrong and who they will speak to for recourse, before choosing this route. More than 1100 properties worth around $1bn have already been listed on the site. Packages start from $330 inclusive of GST, postage and handling and there is no limit to how long the property can be listed on the website.

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