A Guide to Using Online Estate Agents
Online estate agents almost always operate under a fixed-rate fee for selling your home.
Using an online estate agent will mean you should only pay around £400 on average, while high street agents charge upwards of 1.5% - this could mean paying £4,500 if your property is worth £300,000.
When choosing an estate agent there is a lot to consider. Although online agents are cheaper, you will be losing out on the local property market knowledge that bricks and mortar estate agents can offer. You may also have to provide viewings yourself, although some will have local agents to show people around your home.
Marketing Your Property
Your property will not be advertised in any shop windows, giving you the slight disadvantage when it comes to finding potential buyers already in the local area. That said, online agents can provide ‘for sale’ signs to combat this problem.
More than 93% of property searches will begin online, and those serious about property hunting will most likely keep a keen eye on property portals anyway.
Valuing Your Property
Unfortunately, online agents will be somewhat limited in local knowledge and will most likely value your property using online data and analysis of the area. This is generally OK as an estimate or guide price, but will not be the most accurate indication of the price your property should fetch.
To combat this issue, simply ask three local agents to give your property a no obligation valuation and work out the average to find your actual property value.
In most cases, online estate agents will require you to conduct viewings around your house. However, some agents may be able to arrange and conduct viewings of your house at an extra cost. Most agents will arrange viewings and keep you up to date via email or phone, while others may simply pass on buyers’ information for you to arrange by yourself.
Open days are a good option if you are busy most days, but want to take advantage of conducting viewings yourself.
Most online agents will take offers, discuss them with the sellers and negotiate a price with buyers on behalf of the sellers.
That said, some estate agents will simply pass on information and leave it up to the seller to negotiate prices. The negotiation process will be one thing to look out for before committing to an agent if you’re not too hot on haggling and negotiations.
Who Takes the Pictures?
In most scenarios, your agent will provide good quality photos to accompany your property’s marketing. To get an idea of the picture quality, have a look at some of their current adverts on websites like Zoopla and Rightmove.
Popular Online Estate Agents
Are Online Agents Trustworthy?
There is nothing to stop you or me from setting up an estate agency – whether it be online or the traditional bricks and mortar.
When looking for an agency to sell your home with, it is useful to look out for memberships to one of three grievance bodies: The Property Ombudsman, the Ombudsman Services Property or the Property Redress Scheme. If anything does go wrong, you will have some sort of protection against the estate agent; however, the powers of each of these bodies are quite limited, so don’t mistake their logo on a website as a stamp of approval.