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Pros and cons of using an online estate agent

Homeowners are increasingly turning away from high street estate agencies when selling a property – so we look at the pros and cons of using an online agent.

Pros and cons of using an online estate agent

November, 2019

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Pro - Cost

Pro - Cost

The average high street estate agent fee is around 1.4% of a property’s selling price, and the average UK house price is £230,000. So based on these figures, the typical cost of selling a typical home would be £3,220. Yet incredibly, it’s now possible to sell your home with an online estate agent for free! Sure, they’ll encourage you to buy add-ons like an Energy Performance Certificate or a hosted viewings package. But the savings are still massive. Of course, not all online estates are free to use, yet even the biggest brands offering the most comprehensive service still come in a whole lot cheaper than their high street competitors.

Pro - Convenience & control

Pro - Convenience & control

It’s generally easier to get in touch with online agents outside of regular business hours – because their call centres are open at weekends and evenings. Plus many allow you to design a seller’s package to match your needs – so if you’re happy to host viewings yourself, you won’t have to pay for that part of the service. Most online agents give you the ability to track how many people have viewed your property photos, so you can see whether you’re generating plenty of interest. And without the restriction on an old-style exclusive contract, online firms don’t prevent you from signing up with other agents if you wish.

Con - Lack of local knowledge

Con - Lack of local knowledge

Online agents that don’t have regional representatives may not have sufficient knowledge of the local marketplace to accurately value your property. And that’s important, because in many postcodes, the value of similar properties can vary significantly from one street to another, particularly around school catchment boundaries. Traditional agencies also have an extra incentive to get you the highest possible price for your property – because their fees are commission-based, the higher the selling price, the higher their fee.

Con - Professional service and support

Con - Professional service and support

Traditional high street estate agents typically offer a ‘full service” seller’s package that includes property marketing and enquiries handling. They’ll carry out hosted viewings, and crucially, manage all price negotiations. If you’re happy showing strangers around your home during evenings and weekends, and you’re a confident negotiator, then it may not make sense to pay high street agent rates. But selling your home is likely to be one of the largest financial transactions of your life, and that’s why many people still prefer to leave it to the experts.

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