High Street Estate Agents vs Online: Why Traditional Agents Work Best
When it comes to selling property, there is a clear winner in the high street estate agent vs online debate. Whilst online agents bring certain qualities that work for some homeowners, they can’t compete with the traditional high street estate agent when it comes to expertise in the local property market, achieving high sales prices and, most importantly, and customer service.
The benefits of using a high street estate agent
The advantages of selling your home with a local high street estate agent are many and start from the initial pre-sale valuation. Unlike online estate agents that rely largely on online data to value a property, high street estate agents use their extensive knowledge and experience of the local property market to provide a much more accurate valuation. While online estate agents might offer the services of a “local property expert”, in reality this agent most likely covers a wide geographical area and lacks the level of insight and familiarity that a genuine local estate agent possesses.
With a high street estate agent, you can also expect:
- Personal face-to-face customer service vs. national call centres and/or online dashboards
- Tailored marketing vs. a one-size-fits all approach (not ideal for unique homes)
- Proactive sales and negotiation skills vs. a standard, hands-off approach
What about cost?
Undoubtedly, the biggest attraction of online agents is the lower cost but, as is often the case, this is not quite what it seems.
High street estate agents typically charge commission, whereas online estate agents charge a fixed fee.
For example, a high street estate agent selling a property for £300,000 at 1% commission will charge £3000, whereas an online estate agent selling the same property will charge a fixed fee of £1000.
However, industry figures show that high street estate agents typically achieve 5% higher prices than online estate agents, so consider the following:
An online estate agent sells a property for £300,000 and the fixed fee is £1000.
A high street estate agent sells the same property for £315,000 (achieving a 5% higher selling price) and the commission is £3150.
In the short term the owner may have saved £2150 in fees buthas actually lost £15,000 on the sale price. This equates to an overall loss of £12,850.
It is also important to note that the fixed online estate agency fees must be paid upfront and no refunds are given if the property does not sell.
Don’t just take our word for it
According to a report by independent consumer advice group The Advisory, local high street estate agents generate more views and more offers and secure on average 5% higher sale prices than online estate agents. The same report also found that 73% of properties achieved a higher sale price thanks to the involvement of a high street estate agent. This is partly because high street agents often generate more competitive interest between buyers, resulting in faster selling times and higher prices. Click to read the full report by The Advisory.
Cost vs. customer service
While sellers, particularly those on a limited budget, might be tempted to opt for a low-cost online estate agent, this is often a false economy not only due to the potential overall losses outlined above, but also because homeowners selling through an online agent miss out on crucial after-sale support. A property professional at a high street estate agent will liaise with both parties to progress the sale, whereas an online estate agent will take a much more hands-off approach. The result: a slower and more stressful transaction.
Finally, the importance of trust cannot be underestimated. After all, selling property is one of the most important financial transactions in a person’s life, so homeowners must ask themselves, is the promise of lower costs any substitute for peace of mind? The peace of mind that personal customer service, comprehensive after-sale support and face-to-face communication all bring? We think not.
For expert advice on the current property market and selling your home, visit our local branch in Falkirk or contact NEST Estate Agents on 01324 228299 or firstname.lastname@example.org