Over the past couple of years we have seen a rise of online estate agents publicised by celebrity advertising on TV promising the world. So what do they actually deliver and how does it compare to your local estate agent on the high street.
Online agents operate nationally so they won’t have a local expertise of the price in the area. It doesn’t take a genius to work out getting a valuation over the phone or from someone out of the area isn’t going to be as accurate as someone who sells properties in that area day in day out.
With many of the online agents offering to sell for a fixed fee as opposed to a percentage of property sale price the seller can save some money on the sale of their house. However, the saying, ‘You get what you pay for!’ is so true. Paying an upfront fee, doesn’t give the online agent an incentive to sell for not only the best price but at all! Tradition estate agents don’t earn a penny until they produce tangible results. Thus, meaning they are a whole lot more motivated to actually get the job done and get you the best possible price! Especially when they have not only invested man hours to selling your house but additional fees such as to pay for the marketing (professional photography, brochure, upgraded listings on the property portals etc).
Generally photos will need to be taken by the vendor when selling with an online agent. Now taking photos from your phone have come on a long way and are great for normal use. However, when marketing your most expensive asset it’s best to use a professional camera. Marketing your property online will most likely be on portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. However, choosing a local agent to you, you will also benefit from having applicants already registered on their system, they will also potentially already have an applicant in mind to view before it even hits the market. This won’t happen with an online agent. Another benefit of a local agent is local exposure in the office window, local newspapers and magazines.
Viewings and offers
Due to nature of the online estate agency you will have to conduct the viewings yourself. There are a number of downsides to this. Firstly, if you are busy and unable to accommodate the time the potential buyer is available you may miss out on the right person viewing and lose a prospective buyer as they have seen something else. There is also the issue of having your applicants properly verified before viewing. A good agent should check the buyer’s situation before arranging viewing. This might not necessarily happen with your online agent. You should know if the buyer is cash, or has a mortgage in place or needs to sell somewhere in order to buy your property. Showing an applicant around your property to someone who isn’t in a position to proceed is a waste of your time! Finally you will be showing them around. A lot of feedback we get as a high street estate agent is they prefer the vendor not to be in. They feel freer to ask questions and have a better look. This also puts you in a situation of potentially having to negotiate face to face with your buyer. This can go against you and should be left to the agent to get you the best possible price.
Finding someone to buy your property is only the first hurdle. Ensuring the sale completes is a whole new hurdle. If you are paying all in £500 to sell your house, it’s very unlikely you are going to have an agent chase the chain and solicitors and ensure you run to time frames.
Ultimately you get what you pay for and choosing the cheapest online agent isn’t necessarily the best option. Moving house can be a stressful time at the best of times so why leave anything to chance. Speak with your local agent that you can get to know on a personal level. One you can pop in their office if need be. A face and a person that is accountable to you. If you want to achieve the best price for your biggest asset, choosing a professional with experience will be worth paying for. When it comes to selling your house its not about saving money on fees, its about adding value to what you ultimately end up achieving.
Written by Remzi Mehmet