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Online Agents Exposed

Online Agents Exposed

Why it's best to avoid online estate agents

The process of buying or selling property has definitely changed within the last few decades and the introduction of online estate agents has triggered the question of whether to use online agents or high street agents.

Online companies promise to "revolutionize the market", however BBC Television show 'Watchdog' exposed allegations towards an online estate agency which created a different and more negative outlook on the company. The show revealed the company had already got itself in trouble with regulators, especially as the Advertising Standards Authority stated that the company is "likely to mislead" their customers. 

During Watchdog's investigation, the BBC found that the sellers who defer their payment over 12 months to an online company were entering a credit agreement or loan, something that the company did not tell 3/5 of their sellers during the show. Due to this, it is ensured that the online estate agent still gets paid under any circumstance, even if the property doesn't sell. One client revealed on the show that she had "very little contact" with her agent after her property went on the market and did not recieve information that her original purchaser had withdrawn from the deal that she had thought ws already sold. Whereas high street agents will be on a no let or no sale fee basis meaning they only get their commission once they have seen the deal through to the completion.

High street estate agents also have the essential knowledge of local areas which builds up trust and stability when key information about a specific location is neccessary, something that online estate agents will highly lack in, especially as on the show it revealed the 'local property experts' within the company can be based as far away as 30 miles. 

Paul Walsh (NAEA spokesman) told Watchdog that such claims were "at risk of being in breach of Consumer Protection and Trading Regulations, and were also likely to be in breach of property Ombudsman regulations as well".

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