Should you use an online estate agent?

Love them or loathe them, estate agents almost always play a crucial role in the house buying and selling process. However, the days of visiting each office in person and coming away with a pile of printed property details to study are long gone. The vast majority of people now do their property searching and selection online at home before contacting the estate agent in person. Taking this to the next level, an increasing proportion of sellers are choosing to do the entire marketing process through an online estate agent. Is this the future of estate agency?

Image Credit

The expert view

Which? Produced a comprehensive summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the various forms of estate agency earlier this year. However, with finances ever tighter and in a bid to maximise the budget and minimise costs, the idea of using an online estate agent looks ever more attractive. Up until very recently the idea of using an online estate agent would have been very unusual, but as more people have found this a successful and financially sensible way to proceed, the use of online estate agents has become much more commonplace.

However you choose to market, it is essential to also secure the services of the best conveyancing solicitors Birmingham firms such as Sam Conveyancing will work with the chosen estate agent, whether in person or online, to ensure a smooth transaction.

The advantages

The key benefit of choosing an online estate agent is that the costs are almost certainly going to be lower. Not only that but in general, the fees charged are fixed, whereas a traditional estate agent will be paid a percentage of the eventual selling price. They would argue that this incentivises them to obtain the very best price for the seller, in a timely manner, to maximise the amount of commission earned. The seller will also have full control over the timing and nature of viewings without having to liaise with the estate agent first. Your rights, and the industry regulations, are exactly the same whether you use an online agent or an in person service.

The disadvantages

The main drawback of using an online estate agent is that the homeowner has to do much more of the work themselves. Managing a potentially heavy diary of enquiries and, hopefully, viewings is time-consuming. Taking photos that market a property at its best is a skill that is honed with experience, and the quality of the results is further determined by the sophistication of the equipment and software available to a professional which many sellers simply will not have access to.

Image Credit

Best of both worlds

There are now several online estate agents who employ a small number of local staff who will facilitate viewings and coordinate the management of offers, but this still requires the homeowner to produce their own marketing material to begin with. Careful research and asking the right questions will enable the client to choose the best agent for them. Some people might prefer to start with an online agent with the reduced costs and no contract period. They then have the option of turning to a high street estate agent if they do not secure a sale through the online agent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.