Buying and selling property involves careful planning, dedicated research, experience, expertise, and industry-specific resources. While it is possible to buy and sell a home without an estate agent, it could make for a very long and costly process. When it comes to hiring a professional to assist in a quick and profitable transaction, hiring an estate agent may be the right step for you. But do you hire an online agent or a High Street agent? They both come with their own unique set of strengths, advantages, and disadvantages.
Read on to learn more about the responsibilities of both and what they bring to the table:
Online Estate Agents
Online estate agents know how to market and sell your property much like traditional High Street agents. However, they work a little differently. They do the majority of their business via an online portal, and because they usually only offer basic services, their fees can be much lower than a typical High Street agent. Here is what you can expect from an online estate agent in regards to cost, responsibilities, and unique benefits and advantages:
The average price in the UK to use an online estate agent is anywhere between £200 and £1000. Some of the more cost-effective online estate agents will market your home for as low as £99 while higher-level online agents will charge more for a more comprehensive list of services. Another benefit of hiring an online estate agent is that you can customize your service package to your needs.
While the opportunity to save thousands of pounds in fees by using an online estate agent can be tempting, sellers need to remember that most online estate agents require payment upfront. Some online estate agents will require payment upfront regardless of whether they sell your home or not. Some argue that paying a fixed rate upfront reduces the online estate agents incentive for selling the home for top price.
The primary goal of an online estate agent is to sell your home. They use a variety of online analytics, specialized resources, and national data to value, market, and sell your home. They will create a detailed listing description for you, complete with professional-quality photos, and list your properties on a variety of websites including Zoopla and RightMove.
It is a common misconception that online estate agents don’t have an in-depth local knowledge of the area, and perform valuations strictly based on online data and analytics. While this can be true for agents representing properties in the lower end of the market, higher-end estate agents usually employ local valuers who live locally and can give an accurate estimate about the value of the property based on the specifics of the market.
When it comes to viewings, most online estate agents will schedule these events and provide you with status updates regarding dates and times. Because online estate agents aren’t always necessarily local, they generally do not attend these viewings. The estate agents responsibility is to set up these viewings but is the seller’s responsibility to conduct them. If it is important for you to have an agent present at a viewing, choose an online agent that offers the service. Some online estate agents will do this but charge an extra fee to do so.
When it comes to negotiating the final sale price of your home, not all estate agents will haggle the price on your behalf. If you aren’t interested in negotiating prices with the buyer, make sure the online estate agent that you choose is willing to do it for you.
Unique Advantages Of Using An Online Agent
Most online estate agents give you control of your online marketing. If you notice a discrepancy or inaccuracy on your listing description, you can change it in real-time without having to wait for a traditional estate agent to fix it. Using an online agent makes you the face of your listing, giving you control over the information presented and acting as secondary support to assist with marketing.
Many online estate agents offer customers an innovative and high-tech portal that allows them to change the listing description, add photos, and add layouts and floor plans without an extra fee. For sellers that like to be more hands-on with their listing and online estate agent, maybe the perfect fit.
If patience is not your virtue, it may be challenging to adjust to the delays that often come with working with a busy High Street agent. High Street agents have set working hours, typically aren’t as active on the weekends, go on holiday, and have sick days. All of these can impact the way you sell your home. When you use an online agent, you have 24-hour access to your listing. Many high-tech portals allow customers to accept viewings, review offers, and update the listing description whenever it is convenient for them. This 24/7 access allows for movement and progress during the evenings, on weekends, and on holidays.
High Street Agents
Online estate agents only became a popular trend In the last 5 years or so. Before everyone was on the internet for everything, sellers used traditional High Street agents to sell their homes. Many UK homeowners still choose to go this route because of the extensive services High Street agents can offer.
While High Street agents charge a significantly higher fee for their services, their knowledge of the local market, and their access to a larger pool of motivated local buyers is worth the price for many UK homeowners. If it’s important for you to work with the same real estate professional through the duration of your home selling process, you may prefer working with a local agent.
Here is what you can expect in terms of cost, responsibilities, and unique benefits and advantages of a High Street estate agent:
High Street agents typically charge 0.75%-3% of the home’s selling price as a fee for their services. For executive-level homes, usually homes selling for over £500,000, High Street agents may reduce their rates down to 1% + VAT or lower.
The primary goal for a High Street agent is to obtain a quick and profitable sale for your home. They will start by performing a valuation on your home to compare your house to others for sale in the area. They will do this by comparing your home to others on the Land Registry to create an accurate and competitive sale price.
Once you’ve agreed on a selling price, your High Street estate agent will get to work marketing your property to motivated and qualified buyers. They’ll do this by arranging for professional photography, creating an accurate and descriptive listing description, and list your home on a variety of websites including Rightmove and Zoopla.
Another responsibility of a High Street agent is to schedule and conduct viewings of your property. They will work around your schedule to plan open houses and viewings for interested buyers. Having them present at the viewings instead of you sometimes allows buyers to ask more honest questions and provide more transparent feedback. They act as a neutral party who can answer questions and provide detailed information about the property.
Negotiations and Contract Details
A High Street agent will also serve as the middleman between the buyer and the seller. They will handle pricing negotiations, contract details, and all of the behind-the-scenes tasks that are required in a property transaction. If you, as a seller, are not interested in going back and forth with the buyer about the price, the High Street agent can step in and handle negotiations on your behalf.
Finalizing The Sale
Once an offer has been made, your High Streetl estate agent will present the buyer with a Memorandum of Sale and get to work tying all of the details together, presenting contracts, and finalizing the deal.
Knowledge of the local market
Successful High Street estate agents earn their reputations by becoming an expert in the area and neighbourhoods that they represent. Most High Street agents live in the same areas that they work. This gives them a unique perspective on the housing market, and allows them to network and connect with local buyers more easily.
Because they are local to the area, local estate agents can be present for viewings which can significantly increase your chances of selling your home. They will also have more authentic contact and connections with active, local buyers.
Some online estate agents will agree to negotiate on your behalf, but not all of them. However, with a High Street agent, this is part of their service. If negotiating with a buyer is not something you’re willing to do, you can leave it to your local agent who has experience in this particular selling strategy.
Most High Street agents will also be able to assess the buyer’s financial situation to ensure they are in the right place to buy the property. This saves the seller a lot of time and headache dealing with unqualified buyers and offers that are too low.
Which Agent Is Right For You?
It is possible to sell your home without an estate agent. However, If your goal is a quick and profitable sale, it is recommended to enlist the experience and expertise of a property agent. Whether you choose an online agent or High Street agent depends on how involved you want to be in the process, the money you want to spend, and your timeline.
No matter which route you decide to go, it is important to spend time asking questions, checking reviews, asking for referrals, and trusting your gut. You will be spending anywhere between 3 to 6 months communicating and working with the estate agent that you choose, so it is crucial that you hire one that you trust.
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