What are the benefits of using a full-service estate agent (v an online agent)?
Online estate agents are a relatively new concept, with most online agencies like Purplebricks joining the property market within the last ten years. Online agents are thought to represent only 7% of property listings currently. However, many industry experts believe that the popularity of online estate agents will continue to rise, with some sources even claiming they will hold a market share of around 25% by 2025. But as Purplebricks shares plummet with the departure of their founder Michael Bruce and their withdrawal from the Australian market, is the hype surrounding online estate agents justified?
Granted, using an online estate agent is likely to result in cheaper agency fees, but are these savings worth missing out on the level of service you receive when using a real, on the ground estate agent run by genuine people with local knowledge?
What is an online estate agent and how do they work?
Online estate agents are usually operated via websites and occasionally call centres, allowing homeowners to sell their properties without necessarily appointing a high street estate agent. Hybrid agencies will operate online but may also appoint local agents to manage buyer enquiries, conduct viewings and negotiate offers. They usually have access to the major property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla.
Compared to their high street counterparts, online estate agents tend to charge lower fees since they frequently offer a flat fee rather than a percentage fee. However, this lower fee comes with a more basic service and costs quickly rise with the hybrid agencies if they employ local agents. Do be aware that the flat fee is payable regardless of whether you have sold your property either at the time of instruction, upon sale or within 10 months.
The potential disadvantages of using an online estate agency
Instead of receiving the comprehensive home selling service that you expect from full-service estate agents, by appointing an online-only estate agent you may compromise in the following areas:
- Valuations:could be based on online data rather than in-depth local knowledge.
- Photography:online agents often use their regional property representative to take photos of your property rather than use a professional property photography firm.
- Viewings:you will be expected to conduct viewings alone if you have not chosen this as an additional (paid) service and will need to be available for viewings during the day, evenings and at weekends.
- Buyer information:online agencies will not always know whether your potential buyer is in a chain or whether they have finance in place.
- Handling enquiries: you must be prepared to respond to all manner of enquiries from potential buyers and their solicitors.
- Feedback: potential buyers are far more likely to be honest in their feedback to an estate agent rather than directly to a vendor. You may therefore never know the critical verbal feedback which you can act upon to secure a sale.
- Offer negotiation: and keeping the sale on track through to completion.Many online agencies don’t negotiate the offer or progress your sale to completion, and even if they do, there is no incentive to achieve the highest price for your property as they are not working on a commission basis as a percentage of sale price.
The advantages of a high street estate agent – visibility.
There are many advantages in using a high street estate agent not least because of the many channels they use to market your property. While they will be present on the major property portals, your property will also be visible via:
- The estate agent’s website to their online buyer subscribers
- The estate agent’s window
- Emails which are sent to registered potential buyers
- Advertising boards outside your property with a trusted local phone number to call.
- Professional flattering photography used to create online and printed brochures.
- Advertisement in local press.
- Ads on their social media platforms.
The advantages of a high street estate agent – being part of the local community
The key to our success at Tod Anstee Hancock is our long-standing position within the local community with our senior team’s network of contacts going back years. By living and working in the area over many years we know many of the sellers and buyers on first name terms and understand their motivations. We are completely embedded in the local community and feel the movements in the local property market long before they are reported on in the media.
Further advantages of high street estate agents – local knowledge and negotiation skills
- The local knowledge that a high street estate agent has accumulated means you will be given expert guidance on your property’s asking price based on market comparable properties and what prospective buyers within the area are looking for at present.
- Detailed knowledge of your property enables a local estate agent to ensure the best features are always highlighted during viewings. Not only that, but they will be more experienced in responding to buyers’ questions and possible objections.
- Sellers tend to receive better feedback from accompanied viewings with an experienced agent able to interpret any negative feedback in order to provide guidance for the seller which can be acted upon to secure a sale.
- Buyers frequently have questions on the local area such as schools and local amenities, which local estate agents are able to answer.
- Finally, negotiating property offers can be a delicate process, best handled by somebody who is experienced in dealing with these forms of transactions. Experienced estate agents often save purchases from falling through.
- Since a traditional estate agent often works on a percentage fee they are motivated to achieve the best possible price for your property.
Are you looking to sell your West Sussex property?
If you are currently thinking of selling your West Sussex home, don’t take a risk and appoint an online estate agent, contact the expert Chichester estate agents at Tod Anstee Hancock instead.
With a dedicated Residential Sales team, our property consultants have both the passion and local knowledge to ensure that you receive the best possible price for your property.
On top of this, our team are fully conversant with all the intricacies of the West Sussex property market, and our experience means that we make full use of all the marketing channels available to promote your property.
So, look no further than Tod Anstee Hancock if you are looking to sell your West Sussex home. For more information on how our specialist Chichester estate agents can support you, head over to our looking to sell page now.
Get in touch with Tod Anstee Hancock today!
For information on how Tod Anstee Hancock can help you sell your property, or to explore the range of additional property services that we provide, simply get in touch with our dedicated Residential Sales team today.
To discuss your requirements directly with one of our helpful advisors, call us on 01243 523723.
Or you can also contact our team by completing our quick and simple online enquiry form.