Once upon a time, your local high street estate agent was the first port of call for anyone looking to sell a property – there wasn’t really any other option! But now, with the rise of online agents, homeowners have more choice. But how do you decide? What are the differences between online and high street agents? Which is the RightAgent for you?
Online agencies have increased in both number and market share over recent years, from being a bit of a novelty to now representing around 5% of all properties put on the market (according to consumer association, Which?). The primary appeal of online over ‘traditional’ estate agents is price. With much lower overheads, they can offer very competitive prices – usually a fixed fee in the £100s rather than the £1000s you could pay in commission to a high street agent. While this lower cost can mean there are some compromises on the level of service received, many homeowners are happy to accept this when they’re saving such significant amounts during what is a very costly time. With most property searches beginning online nowadays, online agencies claim that the loss of a ‘shop window’ presence on the high street will in no way damage your chances of selling.
But what else do you get for your money with a high street agent?
Despite the pressure from low-cost online agencies, high street estate agents are still the go-to for the vast majority of homeowners, as many people still prefer that face-to-face contact and the knowledge that they have someone to turn to who will support them through the process. While online agencies often provide a dedicated point of contact, for some homeowners it’s not quite the same as a friendly face in the local office, someone who knows you, your property and the local area...which is another popular advantage of high street agents. An agent who is based in the area will know local towns, villages, streets and even individual properties like the back of their hand. They’ll know what sells where, why, and who to. This is reassuring for homeowners and a valuable asset for agents when it comes to valuing, marketing and selling properties. Online agencies are, however, aware of this and some use networks of local experts throughout the country to enhance their service, despite their main offices being remotely based.
Many online agencies do offer services such as floorplans, photographs, offer negotiation and sales progression, but these can be in different package levels so be sure you know what’s included in your contract before you sign. It’s likely that you’ll have to conduct, and sometimes arrange, your own viewings though – for some this is not a problem at all, while other homeowners would prefer to leave as much as possible to the agents.
Most high street agencies are commission based, with the % charged varying between 0.75% – 3% of the property’s sale value (+VAT). This does mean that the agent is usually as motivated as you are to achieve a higher sale price! Many high street agents offer no sale, no fee contracts (usually on a fixed-term basis). Online agencies have a different pricing structure, and usually charge an upfront fixed fee (generally much lower than the % commission). Make sure you know the length of the contract as you will still have to pay whether your property sells or not during the designated timescale. Some do offer ‘pay later’ or ‘pay on completion’ packages as options, usually at a higher cost.
The beauty of RightAgent is that you’ll receive bids from a range of interested agents including both high street and online. You won’t have to contact them all individually. You won’t have to plough through pages of information making notes or researching each agent. Everything you need to know will be provided in a format that’s easy to compare – simply login to your account to see all your bids together. From costs to services, to local knowledge and expertise, your bids will include everything you need to know from each agent. Prioritise what’s important to you then, based on the information that has been supplied, choose the RightAgent! When you’re armed with the facts it will be a much more straightforward and informed decision.
Published Fri 1st June 2018 - Last updated Thu 1st June 2017
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