Wed 18 Jan 2017
Each month we are seeing more and more online estate agents entering the market, offering low-cost options for selling your home. They are very confident in their product, but are yet to gain real traction in the market. Are they really the best option for selling your most prized asset?
So what’s the difference between the two?
Essentially, online agents offer a hugely slimmed down service of a traditional agent, at a slimmed down price. But crucially, there is no middleman. No estate agent. In our local area vendors can expect to pay around the 1% mark in estate agency fees, rising to 1.5% in London – however, there is nothing to pay if the property doesn’t sell. So an average £250,000 property in PE19 would set you back roughly £2,500 (+vat). Online agents however, will typically offer packages ranging from £400 to £1,000 (again +vat) – paid upfront, regardless of sale price achieved, or if it fails to sell.
How come more people aren’t using online agents?
There are currently hundreds of different online/hybrid agents now in business across the UK, with the largest being Purple Bricks. However online agents account for just 4% of the market at present, with the sector growing slower than expected – why so?
By cutting out the actual estate agent, vendors are leaving themselves wide open to a number of potential problems. Online agents tend to work from national call centres, so their local knowledge is often very limited. Take the property appraisal. With online agents vendors risk inaccurate valuations, with many being over/under the market rate. Your property could be in St.Neots, but you’re essentially asking someone in Leicester, Hull or Peterborough (with completely different markets) to put a price on it!
Traditional agents will pride themselves on local knowledge and experience of the market - imparting this on the buyer at accompanied viewings, during the sales negotiation and throughout the sales progression it-self.
Securing the sale
Buying and selling homes is rarely a simple process in reality. Contrary to popular belief, there are often grey areas! Buyers can change their budgets or specifications considerably and an agent will need to take the initiative to come to the most effective solution – something a computer or virtual agent is unable to do.
Having a person based locally who can negotiate on the seller's behalf and chase an agreed sale through to completion is invaluable in securing the sale of what is most people’s biggest asset. With no fees paid until sale completion, your ‘bricks and mortar’ agent will work hard for you through to the very end.
We understand that there is a place for online operators, and for those lucky enough to have a straightforward, cash-only, chain free sale, it may work. But with your biggest asset, is it worth the risk? Doing it yourself almost always translates into a lower price and a longer, more stressful process.
Prop-Tech is the future
The residential property market has made huge technological advancements in the past 2 years, from online estate agents, conveyancers and mortgage brokers to virtual property tours, live-feed viewings and drone photography. As a forward-thinking agency, we absolutely welcome and embrace these changes with open arms. The internet has completely revolutionised the property market and those that ignore this will undoubtedly be left behind.
Despite this, we firmly believe that there will always be a place for human interaction and local knowledge when it comes to the property sales process. And for now, the nation continues to choose traditional over online.
If you want to sell or let your property for the maximum possible price, give us a call today on 01480 218200
"We were absolutely delighted that our sale was achieved and that a new property was found so quickly for us. During the process all actions and communications with David Hawkes, from your office in St Neots, were clear and carried out as swiftly and as efficiently as possible. A high quality of service - many thanks"