Thu 28 Apr 2016
It is understandable people assume that online estate agents are a viable alternative to local estate agents with the majority of property advertised through online portals such as Zoopla, OnTheMarket.com and Rightmove. However, having said that, we believe the proof is in the pudding and our East Leake branch have just been instructed to sell a property where an online agent has failed for 2 months and sold it within a couple of days to the first viewer!!
This is not the only report of problems with online agents, we’ve been gradually getting more and more feedback from various branches with problems up and down chains due to issues arising which are not being checked by the online agents.
As a seller, who would you be tempted to appoint? The online agent with cheap fees who may not see your sale to a satisfactory end or the traditional agent with real people who have the knowledge to complete your sale at the best price in the shortest possible time frame?
At John German we find clients will place more trust in a traditional estate agent, as we have the personal and local touch, as well as the approachability factor that most clients want. The degree of separation offered to a client by a local estate agent is also desirable as it allows the client to step back with confidence and have the entire transaction handled expertly on their behalf.
The internet cannot advise on detailed property matters in context, cannot interpret the market, cannot provide strategic marketing advice, cannot negotiate, cannot hold a chain of related sales together, cannot chase solicitors, cannot understand a survey, cannot accompany buyers round property, cannot prompt a buying decision, and cannot provide reassurance when things go wrong.
The cheaper agents rely on turnover of stock, rather than the actual amount of fee charged. They are then therefore more interested in arranging the sale at any price, rather than negotiating the best terms for their client.
In 2015 we are proud to say we achieved on average 97% of asking price for our vendors *, whereas for example an online agent with no skilled negotiators to assist the sale may only achieve 95% of the asking price. If you were selling a house for £194,000 (97% of £200,000) you would usually pay a traditional agent approximately 1%, £1940 leaving you with a walk away value of £192,060 (less any other costs). Yet if you were to achieve just 2% less, £190,000, even if you paid a £1000 fee leaving you with £189,000 you can clearly see that ultimately you pay a higher fee to the high street estate agent but are likely to be financially better off at the end of the sale transaction.
Another point for consideration is that that often online agents charge ‘up front’ fees. If at 3 months down the line you have not agreed a sale and you wish to change agent you could potentially end up paying 2 agents fees. Our East Leake sale is a prime example of this.
It's your equity. So when choosing the right agent to sell your home, what is more important to you - low fees, or the most money in your pocket, and the security of a well-managed sale?
So will the internet replace the traditional (or in our case contemporary) estate agency? It would certainly seem not.
*Data from 06/01/2015 to 06/01/2016 - Sales achieved at John German.
"To all the staff members at John German, thank you for all your help and support over the last few months with the sale of our property. You made the whole process 'easier', and you were always happy to help us. A big thank you to Clare though on exchange of contracts day, hope it didn't cause you too much stress!"