Online Estate Agents – Top 5 Pros and Cons
Selling a house can be a stressful experience, not to mention costly. In the past, people had to rely on their local high street agents to help smooth out the process, but in recent years technology has made it possible to get the same services online. The popularity of online estate agents has been on the rise over the past couple of years, selling thousands of properties across the UK.
Are you planning to sell your property? Well, here are a few pros and cons of using online estate agents to help you make an informed decision.
The primary benefit of using an online estate agent is probably the huge saving that one can make on the cost of selling. Traditional estate agents usually charge a percentage of the property’s selling price, usually between 0.75%-3%. On the other hand, their online counterparts generally charge fixed fees that range from £250 to £1,500. To put this into perspective, let’s assume you plan on selling a £250,000 property. A traditional estate agent levying a 2% fee to sell will charge you £5,000 minus the VAT. On the other hand, using an online estate agent charging a fixed fee of £800 will save you over £4,200. This is such a significant amount of money to save, especially for high-end luxury homeowners, which you can use on your next purchase.
The internet is essentially open for business 24/7, which allows potential buyers to have access to your property all day and all night. Online estate agents are also available outside of working hours to deal with any questions or concerns you may have. In addition, the internet is wide-reaching, which means that with a few clicks, your property can be viewed all over the world. This increases your customer base, ensuring you don’t miss out on any potential buyers. What could be simpler than listing your home for sale and actually selling it, in the comfort of your home? Plus, you can have packages tailored to your specific requirements, as well as track feedback and viewings online.
Have More Control
Potential buyers can be put off when they ask questions about a property and don’t receive accurate answers. This can be frustrating, considering your traditional estate agent doesn’t always know everything about your property. If you are more comfortable being in control of the selling process, then using an online agent is the way to go. You are free to conduct viewings and sell your property the way you want to, with the online estate agent offering more of a secondary support network. The agent is responsible for putting the house on the market, organizing viewings, as well as, brokering the deal.
Even with the rise of online agents, it’s unlikely that they can fully replace high street estate agents. At the end of the day, not everyone is comfortable having the biggest transaction of their lives done online. That said, here are a few disadvantages of using online estate agents:
You May Be Required to Do More Legwork
Most online agents leave a lot of the house selling work to you. They will list your home and probably send you information on prospective buyers, but won’t get involved in viewings, conveyancing, and negotiations (unless you want them to). Depending on the online agency you choose, you may also be required to create your own property advert, respond to buyers’ questions, and monitor the sale process, from the offer stage through to completion. Having to do all this can be time-consuming and stressful.
Perceived Lack of Local Knowledge
Considering online estate agencies are based remotely, their agents may lack the same local knowledge as their brick and mortar equivalents. Indeed, many high street agents will advertise the fact that they are aware of the recent sales, what’s more likely to sell in your area, the pricing, recent developments, and even potential buyers. Lack of local knowledge hinders the kind of help online agents can offer, plus, they won’t be able to point out your property’s unique selling points.
This perceived lack of local knowledge is changing however, with many of the big online estate agents now offering local area experts as part of their packages.
Homeowners are interested in two things during the home selling process: maximizing the best price and having as minimal hassle as possible. The answer to whether or not you should use online agents is subjective. However, if you don’t mind putting in a little work, and think your property will sell relatively easily, then you should definitely consider using an online estate agent.