Online estate agents can be cheaper to use than their high street counterparts, but it can be difficult to know where to start or figure out how these online agents compare to major companies.
Online estate agent services are very similar to those offered by high street estate agents. At the moment, online estate agents only account for a small percentage of the housing market, but they are increasing. An online estate agent will value your home, market your home for you, and arrange property viewings. However, there are a few differences to the way online estate agents operate compared to high street estate agents.
Online agency fees tend to be a little bit lower than those charged by high street estate agents, but you often need to pay them up front, even if the company doesn’t manage to sell your property. The fees that are charged by online estate agents are usually a set rate.
Unlike high street estate agents, when viewings are arranged by online estate agents, they are then conducted by the homeowners. Although someone will visit to take photographs of your home, and create the floor plans needed, all other contact with your online estate agent will be done either by phone or email. Some online estate agents will assign a personal account manager to you, but you won’t contact them in person for your dealings. The plus side of an online agent is that you will usually be offered support outside of traditional working hours.
Most online estate agents will still visit your home to value it, just like a high street estate agent, but you won’t necessarily get an agent that has any specific knowledge of the local market. Inviting a range of estate agents to value your home and talk to them will help you to understand the differences between online and high street agents.
It can be much easier to find an online estate agent. Their call centres are open during evenings and weekends, and they deal with enquiries during all hours of the day. Packages that an online estate agent can offer you are tailored to your specific requirements, and you can track viewings and feedback online.
There isn’t a straightforward way to decide whether or not you should use an online estate agent over a high street estate. If you believe that you know the local market well, and are comfortable showing visitors around your property without an estate agent, then it could be a better, cheaper option for you.
An online estate agent could give you one of the best starts when trying to sell your home. With their set rates, and low commissions, they’re definitely a cost-effective way to sell. They’re also perfect for anyone who isn’t too fond of dealing with people constantly and would prefer to have more control over the dealings of their property.
All agents must be a member of one of three grievance bodies who can pursue your claims should things go wrong, so you know that you can trust them before you start any business with them.