Should I choose a High Street estate agent or an online-only estate agent?

With the UK’s housing market rapidly transitioning into a buyers’ market, many property sellers are expected to become more selective of their estate agents.

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What is the difference between online and high street agents?

Online agencies don’t have high street shopfronts and operate through a website. They value your home, take photos, produce floor plans and get your home quickly listed on property portals such as Zoopla, Right Move and Prime Location. Their customer services team will arrange the time of viewings and many will negotiate and accept offers on your behalf.

A high street agent will take care of the sale of your property from marketing the property, to finding prospective buyers, carrying out viewings and completing all legal formalities necessary to exchange.

Pros of High Street Estate Agents

Best price - With a high street agent, you’ll have someone working to get the best price and push the transaction through quickly as they only get paid once the sale goes through.

Personal service - reputable high street agents build relationships, offering sellers a one-on-one service that keeps you in the loop every step of the way. High-street agents provide sellers with a more personal service, and you won’t be left on hold for aeons when you try to get in touch with them either.

More visibility - People do still buy houses from high street agents and they do still look at properties featured in these agents’ shop windows. In essence, our reach is wider than purely online agents as we have all angles covered (Online and offline) rather than relying on one single sales funnel. While it’s true the majority of people do now search for property online.

Local knowledge – High streets will be able to offer plenty of local knowledge as they usually operate on local high streets, and therefore have a much better feel for the area that you will be selling in, enabling them to provide a more personal and targeted service.

Cons of High Street Estate Agents

Higher fees – high street agents usually have higher fees simply because they have larger overheads: having a physical office to run means they have to pay out on rent, electricity and so on, so they have to earn some of this money back through their fees.

Limited hours – Unfortunately, high street estate agents’ hours tend to be quite fixed and limited to the traditional 9-5 business hours, this means that customers who also work those times will be unable to contact them until weekends.

Pros of Online only Estate agents

Lower overall fees - Online agents offer similar services to traditional estate agents. The key difference is that, with no expensive branches to maintain or local staff to employ, online estate agents can potentially undercut high-street agents by charging lower fees.

Control over the selling process - If you’re willing to manage the house sale yourself, using an online estate agent can give you the feeling of greater control over the sales process. On cheaper packages, you may need to carry out viewings yourself.

Potential for greater exposure - You may have the freedom to appoint multiple agents without them charging you a higher fee, as is usually the case with high-street agents.

Cons of Online only Estate agents

Upfront fees - The downside of the cheaper fee is it usually has to be paid upfront regardless of whether your property sells or not. So that means if you go through an online agent and don't sell, or sell for less than you ideally want, then there's nothing you can do about it. Hence why high street agents will tell you that going through an online agent is essentially paying a fee for a board and a property listing...

Less accurate valuations - Unlike the high street, online estate agents value your home online. So what this means is that instead of basing their valuation on what your house looks and feels like in the flesh, instead it'll be based purely on data.

Lacking in communication - Opt for the traditional agent and you'll be able to communicate with them in person over the phone. However, with an online estate agent, you'll be forced to communicate over the phone or email.

Overall, despite the increasing popularity of online estate agents, more than 90% of sellers still choose traditional high-street agents to sell their home.

If you’re looking at selling your home this year, we can help - or 01723 341557 / 01262 601704