Local estate agent vs online agent
Whilst local estate agents have always been on the high street, in recent years there have been a number of estate agents that are trading online only. But which is better?
Around 92% of sales are still conducted through a traditional local agent, but online agents have grown to 8% of sales in the past few years.
Online estate agents claim to save you thousands in fees but will you be financially better off in the long run? Below are the pros and cons of using a traditional high street estate agent vs an online one.
What is the difference between an online and local estate agent?
The majority of online agents will never set foot in your home and conduct valuations to negotiations remotely through the use of video calls and online portals. Whereas traditional estate agents usually take more of an in-person approach, visiting your home to give you an accurate valuation to conducting viewings in person.
Using an online agent may offer more flexibility as their call centres may work extended office hours. Many online agencies also require you to conduct your own viewings so you may also have more control over the viewing process.
Fees & Upfront costs
Most online estate agents will have fixed fees and may be cheaper than high street agents. However, you will likely have to pay online agents fees upfront rather than after the completion of your sale, and therefore if your property doesn’t sell, or you take your home off the market, you will most likely be out of pocket. High street estate agent fees may be slightly more expensive than that of online agents which may be due to additional overhead costs such as physical store locations. However, most high street agents work on a commission basis and will work hard to achieve the best possible price for your property. It is also common for high street agents to work on a no sale no fee basis.
Many online agents may claim to have local experts however, they may not be as local as you think and are unlikely to know your area and street well enough to be able to provide an accurate valuation as details from recent sales of neighbouring properties take time to appear on the internet.
Alongside this, most valuations are conducted through a video call which again pulls into question the accuracy of the valuation as they could potentially miss important factors such as the overall finish and quality of the property.
Unlike online agents, a good local estate agent will know exactly how the local property market is performing enabling them to give an accurate property valuation.
Check that the fee advertised includes all the necessary services you need to sell your home. Some online agents may claim that they can sell your house for ‘free’ or for very little cost but this may not include services such as photography, floor plans, or conducting and arranging viewings. Most local estate agencies will include all marketing assets as standard.
The majority of high street agents are incentivised by a sale and therefore will ensure the progress of a sale by talking to both parties and their solicitors to ensure that movement continues to happen to enable completion. Online agents who work on a fixed fee basis may not be as inclined to move the sale along which could result in a longer wait until a completion date.
Many online estate agencies will leave you on your own when it comes to negotiating the best price potentially resulting in you settling for a lower offer than you initially wanted. Most local high street agents will have a specialist negotiator when it comes to dealing with offers.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both local and online estate agents but who would you choose to sell your home?