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Online vs high street agents

Online vs high street agents

I expect most people who have considered selling or letting their homes have questioned whether they could consider using an online agent to do this as they are so much cheaper.

The question we have to ask ourselves is why are they so cheap? In the same way we ask ourselves how can how can get clothes so cheaply off eBay (that look great in the photos) compared to that in a decent high street shop- probably because it’s badly produced by poorly paid employees and will not last very long because of the poor quality. I liken this to the quality of service and aftercare you are likely to get from using an online agent. Yes they will market your property often with good quality photos and description and if you get lucky they will manage to find a tenant or buyer. That’s when it tends to start going wrong. Whenever I speak to a client considering using an online agent I will always try and get them to consider the following:

-          The reason they will often let or sell your home so cheaply is they will charge an upfront fee and it doesn’t then actually matter whether they get the deal for you or not. High street agents will generally always be on a no let or no sale no fee basis which means they only get their commission once they have seen the deal through to move in. This means they will work so much harder to make sure that they find you tenants and buyers quickly.

-          Along with the above point it also means that the sales and let progression is completed much more thoroughly and pro-actively rather than sitting back and letting the solicitors or referencing companies bumble along at their own pace.

-          Online agents do not have the local area knowledge that high street agents do. This is essential when communicating with applicants and building up trust and rapport. It also means much less time is wasted sending the wrong applicants your way. E.g. I doubt very much an online agent would know where the nearest bus stops or train stations are or where the nearest parking would be for a house without allocated parking. These points are often deal breakers for applicants so what is the point in wasting everybody’s time with them viewing?

-          Personal communication. If you go with an online agent then I suspect you will be dealing with a call centre approach where whoever picks up the phone deals with your query. I personally would much rather deal with somebody that I have met and trust that knows my property almost as well as I do. It can be quite a personal thing to many people.

Now, I know not everybody is the same and some people will always be swayed by cheap fees but I know I would want to work with somebody I knew and trusted when dealing with probably the biggest financial transactions that can happen in my life.

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