The popularity of online estate agents is growing at a fast rate. These agents are known to offer a convenient, fast and relatively cheap way to sell your house in the open property market. Even then, it is important that you first understand how the process of selling your house online works.
Selling your House Online
Just like high street agents, estate agents are driven by the same goal of selling property on the open property market on your behalf albeit, profitably and quickly. Interestingly, only five percent of homes are sold via online estate agents. This is attributed to the fact that some people prefer the personal touch that translates to regular contact with the high street agents. In addition, the majority of people prefer high street estate agents because they cannot handle property viewings or communication and liaison with solicitors and estate agents on their own.
Generally, the online estate agents execute the same functions as traditional agents. Even then, they tend to concentrate more on the marketing side of the entire process. However, most of these online agents have turned to offering extra services like conveyancing, management of property, managing the viewing process and negotiations to be able to stay relevant in the highly competitive space. This is a shift from what online estate agents do which is leaving the bulk of the work with the homeowner so that theirs is to pass on details of interested parties to you.
If you are looking to sell your house, there are tips to help you make the best decision when you sell your house online taking into comparison the traditional selling process.
Differences between Online estate agents and Traditional High Street Agents
Although the ultimate goal of both the traditional high street agent and online estate agent selling your house on the open-air market there are major differences in the manner in which the two conduct business. Here are some of the major differences you need to know:
- Fees – In most instances, online estate agents tend to charge much less for services offered than high street agents do. Even then, you need to keep in mind that the services offered by online estate agents are mostly limited to marketing. Besides the initial visit to conduct a valuation of the home, they do not offer a face-to-face service.
If you are relying on the proceeds from the sale of your house to pay your estate agent then you will do well to sell through a traditional estate agent. This is because many online based agents will insist on a flat fee that is payable upfront. On the other hand, traditional estate agents will base their fee on the selling price hence they will expect payment at the conclusion of a sale. The only disadvantage with this approach is that you cannot tell the actual amount your agent will receive until the sale price you agreed on has been attained.
- Viewings – Viewings are a fundamental aspect of any house selling process hence cannot be wished away. While estate agencies operating solely tend to charge a lower fee, they also offer fewer services and in most instances, viewing is not among them. Therefore, by engaging online estate agents, you must be prepared to manage the viewing process by yourself. This is almost impossible if you work long and odd hours or are tied down by other commitments.
On the other hand, selling through a traditional estate agent will take away the burden of viewings, as the agent will schedule viewings based on your circumstances in addition to keeping you informed of the development throughout the process. While some online estate agents may offer to manage viewings for you, this is usually under a premium package.
- Valuation – Online estate agents will arrange to come to your home for an initial visit to carry out a valuation. However, the challenge is that they may not have a good understanding of your market hence their valuation will only be based on the value of property nearby as seen on Rightmove property portal. Although this method is valid, it fails to take into account geographic and seasonal nuances in the local market. On the other hand, the traditional estate agents will rely on a combination of official house price data as well as their knowledge of the local area to make an informed valuation. Keep in mind that regardless of the type of agent you choose to work with, the final decision is dependent on the price you set.
- Communication – While the face-to-face interaction with your online estate agent ends at the initial visit to your property and the agent may restrict further communication through telephone calls and emails, traditional estate agents are always available. In fact, if you want the comfort of knowing there is someone who is there to respond to any questions you may have concerning the sale of your property then go for a high street estate agent.
- Marketing – Traditional estate agents are known to market your property until that time when you finally get to sell it after which they will charge you a percentage of the price sold as their fee. In the same way, online estate agents will also market your property until that time when you tell them to stop or the property sells. However, the difference is in the fact that online agents are likely to charge you an upfront flat fee for offering this service. In addition, there are agencies that work on a fixed term contract basis hence their fees covers the agreed period alone. As such, it is important to ensure you check the terms carefully before committing to it.
- Liaison with buyers – Dealing with potential buyers directly can be a draining exercise as it involves a lot of back and forth between you and them. You can eliminate this headache by letting traditional estate agents take care of the dealings and negotiations with prospective as well as confirmed buyers on your behalf. This way, they will only come back to you when they need to keep you informed of the progress they are making and the key decisions that need to be made. Online agencies on the other hand will only list your home and leave the hard work of engaging prospective buyers to you. Thus, theirs will be passing on communications and requests from buyers to you when they arise. Keep in mind that there are some companies offering some in-depth services even though you may need to pay a premium.
Saving Money with Online Estate
You decision to go for the traditional estate agent or an online estate agent will largely depend on the costs involved among other things. You may be required to part with a commission of between one and three percent from your final selling price should you opt for a traditional agent. Even then, you need to compare the fees with the benefits you are getting through the process. Ultimately, you need to understand that your needs are unique hence they will affect your decision making uniquely.