Online Only Estate Agents Vs Traditional Estate Agents

December 4, 2014Tags: online agent | selling | estate agents


With the number of online agents becoming more common, homeowners are considering which option to take to sell their home. With the attraction of cheaper fees it's important to weigh up the decision carefully.

Below is a recent case study that will make potential sellers think seriously before choosing.

"I have recently been dealing with a relative that chose an online agent, as unfortunately we had no office close by to offer our service. I had my concerns for various reasons but as it was so much cheaper they decided to take the plunge.

On having their property valued at £550,000 they decided to opt for a higher price to try their luck. Firstly the photo's that were taken were good, but didn't show the property's rooms off to their full potential, especially the garden. Having had no advice on how to dress the property I also advised them to make sure the second bedroom had a double bed in it to show off the space. This advice was not forthcoming from the online agent.

When marketing commenced all viewings had to be undertaken by the homeowners at considerable inconvenience as they both worked long hours. This is not the best way to secure offers either, as if the buyer had any concerns, they are more than likely to tell the agents rather than the sellers directly, and the agents can address any issues.

Most importantly, they had several offers, one of which was close to what they might accept and the agents encouraged them to take £550,000 when they had other viewings booked. I told them to hold out, on the basis of their interest levels, and gave them a script to go back to their agents with.....low and behold, when the buyers increased their offer to £560,000 my relative was quite impressed ! If they listened to their online agent they would have sold for £10,000 less"

Luckily, in this case, The seller had an estate agent with good knowledge close by to advise him, if it wasn't the case, they could have been more financially worse off by trying to find a cheap agent.

Other points that should always be taken into account are as follows;

1) Make sure the online agent financially qualifies the buyer who offers (This didn't happen in this case)

2) The agent should always advise the client in relation to getting the best buyer and best price, rather than urge to accept an offer to early

3) Can the agent provide enough comparable evidence to ensure the property is valued up correctly when the surveyor inspects

4) Does the online agent know the area ? Will they sell the fact that the school at the bottom of the road is the best school in the area, or the fact the deli round the corner is fantastic, what the local transport links are like?

5) Does the online agent progress the sale after the offer has been accepted ? If they haven't got the staff to do viewings, how many staff have they got to chase the transaction to completion ?

6) Can they provide good quality local solicitors ?

7) How may property portals do they advertise on to get you the maximum results ?

8) What will be the impact on your work life if you had to do all the viewings, and be available for surveyors and other contractors to inspect the property ?

9) Apart from the internet how else do they attract interest in your property ?

10) Take serious consideration before paying upfront fees. If the agent has already been paid, what incentive do they have in then selling the property ?


by Phil Gulvin, Branch Manager, Sutton