05 Mar Should I Use An Online Estate Agent?
The housing market is ever changing and it seems like there is a new online estate agent popping up every day. With the likes of Purple Bricks, HouseSimple and Yopa becoming high street names, but are any of them actually any good?
If you are looking for a quick house sale in today’s unpredictable market then you have more options than ever when you are looking to try and sell your property.
What seems to be the most popular and one of the cheapest methods to sell your house is through an online agent.
So what exactly is an online agent?
The main difference between an online agent and a high street agent is that the online agent doesn’t have a high street frontage. The purpose of this is to reduce their overheads and pass those savings on to you, the customer. Some of the online agents will cut corners & costs by getting you to take your own photos and also do your own viewings. This may be cheaper but is it a good idea?
Current deals from the leading online agents?
High street estate agent fees can run into the tens of thousands so a bit of corner cutting could put you back on good terms with the bank manager. So how much are the new wave of online agents charging for their services?
Purple Bricks – £899 + Vat (£1399 in London) and this price doesn’t include accompanied viewing which is an additional £300 (£399 in London). This is an upfront fee which you will have to pay whether they sell your house or not. You do have the choice to defer their payment if you use there recommended a solicitor. In most cases, you will be tied into a 20-week contract.
Yopa – 889£ payment up front and they also offer a pay later ‘no sale no fee’ costing £1999. This comes with its own terms & conditions, for example, you must sign up to a sole agency and for a term of 16 weeks. If you break to contract then you must pay them compensation of £250. There is also another catch as in you don’t get unlimited viewings. If you want this service then you must pay an additional £300 (£399 inside London).
House Simple – £995 no sale no fee. This will get you a dedicated point of contact, professional photos as well. Which should help your property to get more interest which will help your house sell. House simple also charge £295 to do viewings on your property. For this, you will also get a valuation, floor plans and also pictures. Again, like the rest, there is an upfront fee which you will have to pay.
Door Step – £99 or £199. By far the cheapest way to sell your house in today’s market but what do you get for £99. The cheaper package covers just basic marketing of the house, no photos (we presume you would have to provide these yourself). The £199 option you will get photos of the property, floorplan and your online marketing.
What are the key pitfalls of using an online agent?
These will vary depending on which package you choose, but here is our list of what we feel are the most likely issues you will come across when using an online estate agent.
Photographs – We eat with our eyes and unless you are a keen photographer of property if you choose a package without pictures then you may struggle to achieve a sale. It is a big risk taking the photos yourself and could mean that your property doesn’t get the best possible exposure.
Viewings – If you choose to save money and go for the option to do viewing yourself you could run the risk of not being able to sell your property. If you have experience in selling properties then it may be worth the £300 saving. This may also be dependent on if you have a lot of spare times as ideally, you don’t want to be turning down viewings. People may want to view during the day so if you have any work commitments then this may not be a good idea.
Lack of a Shopfront – It’s no secret that more and more people do all of their property shopping online. With alerts and email campaigns available for all buyers buying a house has never been easier. However, that isn’t the entire market as we all know at least a few people that aren’t technologically savvy. Some people still enjoying going into the high street estate agents to look at what houses they have available, so you may run the risk of losing their business.
Communication – In a normal house sale the buyer and seller never meet. The estate agent will manage all communication throughout and offer a fair practice. Without the help of the estate agent brokering the deal, you will run the risk of running into problems the likes of verbal agreements and possible disputes with the other side.
There are pro’s and con’s to both sides but there is one thing is for certain, online agents are here to stay.