Online estate agents can save you a lot of money, but do they know what they are doing?
Fees & Expenses
When it comes to estate agents many of us believe we have no other option but to hand over the massive fees they charge in order to move house.
A High Street estate agent can typically charge 1.5%-2%, meaning that on a £200,000 property they would make in the region of £3,000-£4,000, a hefty chunk of money coming out of your pocket; and of course we mustn’t forget the other costs such as conveyancing. All in all moving house is an expensive venture, but without other options people were not so willing but readily handing over their cash.
Big Names Set Up Online Agencies
However, there is an alternative. Over the last decade there has been an upsurge in online estate agents. Some big names such as Sir Stelios, Sarah Beeny and James Caan, have all recently got behind the idea of online estate agents, but are they the way forward for those looking to sell?
Online estate agents such as; Hatched.co.uk, Housesimple.co.uk and purplebricks.com, to name a few, offer the service of listing and selling a property at the fraction of the cost of a High Street agent; the average fee being from just £540, which is a 6th of an average traditional agents’ fee.
The properties listed through these online agents are still put up on the property portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove, so will still gain the same exposure as the High Street agents but without having to pay their office overheads labelled as ‘fees’. On the other hand High Street agents offer a level of personalisation that is often lost with online agents.
Retail-Online Or offline?
A recent report from O2 claims that people feel more secure in physical stores, the report states: ‘Physical stores are also important when it comes to trust. When asked to rate how highly they would trust different types of retailer across a number of areas, those with physical stores had consistently higher levels of trust in terms of honesty and customer service standards.’
It has also been claimed that online agents lack the local knowledge High Street agents have; people like to learn about the area they may be potentially moving to before making a purchase as big as buying a house.
This may be true, with an office that could be 100 miles away from a property it is unlikely that they will know the ins and outs of an area like a traditional agent, who may live in the area themselves.
However, online agents often require the seller of the property to conduct viewings, which means they have direct communication with the prospective buyers. This allows them to impart their local knowledge, which would be more relevant due to the fact they have lived exactly where these potential buyers are looking. Also, in a world of digital, lack of knowledge is no longer a great issue.
Online agents have the ability to research tools such as Google map and Wikitravels, as well as looking at local council sites for the bare bones statistics.
It seems that when it comes to selling houses High Street and online are pretty much the same, the only difference being the fees. And that’s where online estate agents prove to be the better option.