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Should I use an online estate agent or a local independent estate agent to sell my property?

Published: 14/02/2017   Last Updated: 26/04/2017 12:25:17   Tags: Online Estate Agent, Local Independent Estate Agent, Sell My Property


The use of online agents has increased in the last couple of years. When it comes to sell your property, you will likely be weighing up the pros and cons of selling online or the more traditional way, through a local agent.

In this article we’ll look at both approaches so that you’re well enough informed to make the best decision for you.


Online agents


Online agents generally don't have local offices and have lower overheads. They state that these savings can be passed onto consumers through lower fees.

Some online agents have huge advertising budgets and you may recognise some of these brands from TV (you may have noticed that their advertising is aimed at you, the Seller, rather than the Buyer, ie. your property).


Pros

  • Lower fees
  • Convenience. The online agents have invested in technology which sometimes can put them ahead of the local independent agents in terms of convenience to the consumer, for example online 24/7 booking systems.  
  • Strong modern brand
  • Good online advertising through portals

 

Cons

  • You usually pay up front for the service. This may lead you to query how motivated your online agent is to complete your sale, after they have been paid.
  • If they don’t sell the property, you usually still need to pay their fee regardless. This may lead to a lack of responsibility, commitment, and or accountability
  • Lack of local knowledge. With no physical presence in your area you will need to question how well they actually know your area. This could have several implications – the obvious one being accuracy of valuation, but also it is unlikely they will have the network of local people – the buyers and sellers – who are known to them. Access to large numbers of local buyers, who are known to you, is key when selling your property.  Online agents cover huge territories and naturally are unable to know your area intimately
  • Lack of personal relationship or personal service. It’s not always easy to speak to the person doing the viewings on your property! Feedback is important so you need to make sure you’re receiving it effectively.


Local independent agents

Pros

  • Intimate local understanding. Local agents are rooted in their community and know the area like the back of their hand. Their kids go to the local schools, their friends meet in the local pub, they bump into you in the local supermarket. Your local agent has countless relationships with the people living in your area.
  • Accurate valuation. Because of such an intimate understanding of their patch they know what happens to house prices on your very street or development every month. They know what sells and what sticks and each fluctuation in price every month.
  • Access to local buyers. 75% of home movers move locally. By knowing and having helped these people move in the past means a relationship has often already been formed by your local agent with your next buyer. These buyers will still be on the agents mailing list, ready to receive details of your property when it hits the market.
  • Local agents are the masters of compromise. Let me give you an example - no buyer would put living on a main road on their criteria for their next home. If your home is on the main road, it’s value will often lie in the property itself, for example the size or spec, but getting people through the door could be a challenge.. Local agents have the foresight and intuition to offer the property to buyers who want to see their other properties that are close by. They would take the keys with them on another viewing and say something like this to the buyer: “I know you haven’t asked to see this next property Mrs Smith, but I have the keys and it’s just around the corner – I think you’re gonna love it…”
  • No sale, no fee. Local agents usually give this guarantee, despite their up front costs – if they don't perform, you don’t pay! What could be fairer than that? The local agent only get paid as a result of their actions to sell your property. There’s no question of motivation!
  • Good online marketing including the portals, print, email marketing, and social media presence
  • Personality. Good local agents have this in bundles and they are able to communicate this well with their audience via their brand and presence. Is your local agents personality one that would draw the attention of a buyer to your property?
  • Few points of contact. Usually you will be dealing with just 1-3 people from start to finish who you know, and are easy to get hold of when you need them.
  • Shared responsibility, commitment and accountability. Every customer is important to the local independent agent and they are invested in selling your property with you. Their role is to help you move and they want to be there with you once a buyer is secured – you and the sale of your home really matters!
  • Fees. We’ve put this as a pro and as a con. It’s a con since since online agents are usually cheaper. It’s a pro because UK Estate Agencies are by far the cheapest in the world. Worldwide fees are almost without fail in the region of…. wait for it….. 5%-15% of the selling price of your property! Yes, we are being serious.

Cons

  • Higher fees. The average fee charged by an agent is around 1.5%+vat of the selling price, which is usually higher than an online agent. But remember, this only based on the agent actually selling your home. The reason for the difference in price is that local independents have higher overhead than their online counterparts. These higher costs include a physical premises, staff salaries, and no benefit of economies of scale for example print, marketing and advertising. Around the world fees usually range from 5%-15% to sell your property.


Summary


The choice will come down to your personal preferences and values and which type of agent is the best fit for you and your property.

Clearly online agents are becoming a good option for many people in the modern world. However we believe there will always be great value in local independent agency that can never be truly replicated or replaced.

If you're looking for first class service from an independent Estate Agent in Leeds, look no further. Give us a call today, we'd love to come and meet you to give you some advice of how to sell your property in Leeds.