Should you use an Online Estate Agent?

Online estate agents have become increasingly popular. But how does their service stack up against high street agents, and are you really getting value for money?

The digital age has swept through every industry – and the property market is no different. Online estate agents are the latest trend in the industry, with an impressive 61% growth just last year. Yet while web-based agents advertise themselves as having lower fees compared to high street estate agents, hidden costs abound. How you choose to sell your property is up to you, of course. But it’s worth considering the facts before you sign on the dotted line.

The facts about fees and commission

The headline news from online estate agents is that they are commission-free. It’s a bold claim and an attractive proposition to vendors. It’s also true, to a point. But online estate agents will charge an upfront fee. That’s before a single prospective buyer has stepped over the threshold. Traditional agents take their fee only once the sale has gone through. What incentive remains for online estate agents to sell your property once they’ve taken their fee upfront?

Further, an online estate agent will often charge for standard procedures that most high street agents complete with zero upfront cost. Arranging the floor plan, writing property descriptions or erecting a sale board are often chargeable extras. Many online estate agents have a series of service packages, all offering different levels of service. These services are all-inclusive with most high street agents. So it’s advisable to think about how much time you are prepared to put in to doing things yourself if you are going online.

Unaccompanied viewings

All being well, you will have prospective buyers eager to view your house. It’s a crucial part of the sales process, yet one that very few online estate agents are willing to play a part in. That leaves you to arrange and conduct viewings for yourself, in your own time. A good high street estate agent brings convenience, local expertise, marketing skills and negotiation experience to the table – and remember, you don’t pay a penny until your house is sold.

Conveyancing to completion

Conveyancing is the key part of any property transaction – and the part where your sale is most likely to fall through without careful management. A trusted high street agent has good relationships and ties with local solicitors – professionals they can recommend to process the sale swiftly and securely. Compare that with online estate agents, who may not have the market experience or time to coordinate the process between the buyer, seller and solicitors to ensure everything stays on track.

A reputable high street agent will chase through deals, make enquiries, arrange surveys and ensure that they get the best deal for their client. We know we do here at Belvoir Peterborough. Post-sale commission isn’t the only incentive in this business. Knowing that we get our customers the best service and sale is what keeps our business going.

How much is your time worth?

There are benefits to online agents. If you are prepared to carry out most of the work yourself – such as the viewings, the chasing, the arranging of mandatory requirements such as EPCs – then using an online agent purely for marketing purposes will most likely save you money. However there’s a huge investment of time to consider. Dealing with all relevant parties such as solicitors, mortgage brokers, surveyors, the buyers themselves and any contractors – it’s a skilful juggling act that always benefits from the steady hands of a trusted professional to see the sale through to completion.

Paying a commission-free fee to get a property listed online can seem an attractive proposition. But that’s just the start of a long and often tricky process on the journey towards getting your property sold. Besides here at Belvoir we list your property on the major online portals regardless.

So should you use an online estate agent or a traditional high street estate agent? If you have time on your hands and are confident regarding the sales process, you can save money by going online. Though remember you pay a fee upfront whether your house sells or not. If you want someone with experience and knowledge to guide the sale through to completion from start to finish, it’s still best to use a quality high street estate agent.

Thinking of selling your property in Peterborough?

We work extensively throughout the PE region with all types of properties, from city centre studio apartments to countryside farmhouses. Whether you are looking for a fast sale or the very best price possible, we know how to market your property to make it happen. Contact Belvoir Peterborough for a free no-obligation market appraisal and valuation of your property.

Lottie Hostead
Sales Manager
01733 511099

This blog is written by Lottie, Lottie Hostead is Belvoir Peterborough’s Property Sales Manager. Born and raised here she is both a property expert with 10 years experience selling homes in Peterborough and a genuine local. If you’re thinking of selling your home here then give her a call for a free no-obligation valuation.