A Guide to Online Estate Agents
What is an online estate agent?
An online estate agent isn’t too different from a high street estate agent. They offer similar services such as valuing and advertising property, dealing with viewings, providing letting services, and negotiating on prices, but there are some differences too.
For instance, as they aren’t always locally based, online estate agents have different processes for coming to property to value it, while the fees charged often differ quite significantly.
Furthermore, there are certain aspects of the service that are conducted differently, such as how you speak with the agent, which is typically done via email or phone rather than in person.
What fees does an online estate agent charge?
The fees of an online estate agent tend to be different from a high street estate agent. For instance, most high street agents charge a fee based on the selling price of the property, usually between 1-2% of the final price, while online agents usually charge a fixed fee for their services.
Therefore, online estate agents are often much cheaper than a high street estate agent. That said, a high street estate agent may provide more services for their fee, as many online agents provide additional services that cost extra on top of the flat fee.
This can be good or bad depending on your requirements. The lower fees from online agents may be cheaper, but you always need to pay costs up front, whereas a commission is charged at the final point of sale.
It’s often said that a high street agent has more incentive to sell as they only get paid when the house is sold, but this isn’t always the case.
For instance, some online estate agents now offer different options for fees, with both flat rates and the option to pay a higher fee after completion, helping to give more assurances about the money spent.
How Does an Online Estate Agent Value Property?
An online estate agent will value property in the exact same way as a high street estate agent.
The only real difference is they might not be locally based, so have their understanding of the local property market may not be as comprehensive as a local high street agent.
However, many online estate agents are now outsourcing this task to local estate agents. This means you get an appropriate valuation but still enjoy the perks of an online service.
In any case, it’s always good to get several quotes when getting a home valued, as it helps paint a more accurate picture of the true value of the operate, as many agents over-estimate to try and secure your services.
How Does an Online Estate Agent View the Property?
In most instances, online estate agents require the property owner to conduct the viewing themselves. It’s one of the ways costs are kept to a minimum, but more online based estate agencies are providing optional services such as accompanied viewings, where the provide a professional viewing service that is charged on top of their flat rate.