Should I choose an online or high street estate agent?

We're going into 2022 and the number of online estate agents are at an all time high. We look at the differences between online and high street agents and compare the pros and cons of each. 

Is it worth using an agent at all?

Let’s be honest; selling a property can be tricky and time-consuming - but a good agent can be critical to reducing your stress levels when selling. A good agent will talk you through the steps and help you move, smoothly. In fact, according to Zoopla, around 99% of property sales are completed with sellers using estate agents. This just goes to show that agents are experts in their fields. After all, they’re the ones trained in how to sell a property - not the owner.

Which has lower fees?

If you sell your property with an online agent, you will likely have to pay a fixed fee. Fixed fees are often charged up-front, so you will have to pay the same amount regardless of how long it takes to sell your home. Even if your property doesn’t sell, you might still be expected to pay the fee. 

If you sell your property using a high street estate agent, you’re more likely to be charged a percentage of the price paid by the buyer. This is the more traditional method and means the estate agent is only paid once your home is sold. Percentages do vary depending on the estate agent, with most charging between 1-2%. 

By taking their fee once your property has sold, high street agents are incentivised to work harder to sell because they won’t get their commission unless you get your sale. High street agents offer a face-to-face service too, so there may be some room for negotiation when it comes to agreeing on a percentage.

Who offers a better service?

Regardless of the fee charged, you want to be sure you’re getting a good service when you sell your home. While online agents may offer more availability in terms of working hours, you will likely have to contact a call centre to understand how your sale is progressing. 

The convenience of calling outside of work hours may be alluring, but we all know how frustrating it can be to contact a call centre. Selling your home is one of the most important transactions you will make, so it’s imperative you are provided with a service that works for you by someone who understands your situation.

Something else to take into account is a high street agent’s success is primarily built on its ability to make relationships and offer an excellent service to its clients.

Do all agents vet buyers?

Most online estate agents don’t vet the buyers’ ability to actually buy your property. The last thing you want for your sale is to take the property off the market and then find out that your buyer actually has no mortgage. High street estate agents generally won’t even conduct viewings without being sure your buyer is genuine.

How do I ensure my home is visible?

Many online estate agents will talk up their online presence and argue that homes are rarely sold to people who have looked at a window display. This could be true, but in 2021 all estate agents have an online presence. If you choose to sell with a high street agent, your property will still be showcased on websites like Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as on the high street. 

Your decision

When making your decision, it’s good to consider all of your options. It’s likely your choice will be impacted by your personal circumstances, so you’ll need to be sure your sale works for you. 

Whatever you decide, you’ll need to get a good idea of the property price and what you could sell for. 

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