Online Estate Agents - Anyone Used Them?
Posted 26 January 2014 - 5:37 PM
Posted 26 January 2014 - 9:21 PM
I am probably a little bias'd as this is my business, but there are good and bad experiences in all businesses, Estate Agents in general only get a fee once the sale they have negotiated goes to completion, they should, therefore, work their arses off to get a sale as quickly as possible for the best price they can for the client. Once they have found a buyer, they then have to work just as hard to keep the sale together, still without having had a penny. A good agent should seek buyers by various means including the internet, they should know what other clients are looking for a nd keep in contact with them letting them know when the best suitable properties come up that might suit, we have in many cases achieved the asking price and some times more for the client, if I could get say £5k extra for the seller, I have probably covered my fee and they get the full amount they were initially expecting.
With internet agencies, in my experience, they do charge you a much lower fee, but this will be an up front charge, they will then charge you extra for a board and other things, they will put it on to various property portals but that is pretty much where their activities end.
Unfortunately we have to charge to cover costs and make a profit, with normal Estate Agency many people put their houses on the market and can back out right upto the point of exchanging contracts and not pay the agent a penny, but we have still had all the costs. I know of several people locally who went down the internet agency route, spent their money and still ended up going back to the traditional agents to get a result. It may work in a very bouyant market as we had in the mid 2000's as anyone will buy anything, but it takes a little more effort for the right reward in a less busy market, for both client and agent.
It depends what you are selling, but my advise is get to know Agents in your area, how they opperate and who is good at selling what, then get some to come and see you and your property and see what kind of advise they have to give and how they would go about getting you the best possible price. Cheapest is not always the best, experience in an area counts for an awful lot.
This is my opinion and I am sure there will be other who oppose it.
Where are you based? as you are probably not far away from me.
Posted 26 January 2014 - 10:59 PM
After lots of endorsements on SELOC we used www.housenetwork.co.uk 18 months ago and they were excellent. We had a very good agent allocated to us who dealt with everything (very confidence inspiring with no fobbing to other people or problems getting through to him). Although their agent see's the building and takes the photos, we had good access to write our advert that we felt best reflected the property. All enquiries were tracked online so we could see the amount of interest and where they were in the process along feedback on the viewings. You do have to do your own viewings, which can be a real asset if you know the area (and can therefore answer very specific questions about schools, amenities etc). We were initially worried that the viewings would be requested at awkward times. In practice, everyone wanted evenings or weekends anyway. We agreed the sale in less than 10 days, for more than any of the valuations, and a fee of £700. We were extremely pleased.
None of the local agents we asked round gave any confidence or particular insight into the area. A lot of the valuations were done directly from Zoopla and the main reasons they gave for going with them were that they were local, but offered no real support for how this would work, especially for fees of over £3k. That said, I do completely agree with Simon that had we have had a really good local agent then things could have been very different.
So my advice would be to look into both online and local agents with a very open mind. www.housenetwork.co.uk worked really well for us because it was sold on Rightmove and Zoopla presence (as you thought), and they are a very well run agency who dealt with vendor and purchaser extremely professionally. However, if you find a great local guy then that might give you further confidence.
Posted 27 January 2014 - 9:20 AM
Posted 27 January 2014 - 12:14 PM
We found that house valuations are to a large extent now being driven by Zoopla and Rightmove. Buyers are looking on Zoopla for similar properties in the area and using the figures to dictate house prices. To that extent we had a great example in our village where two houses in the same street went for under market value - one a quick sale for a job move the other a repossession. This tainted prices on the street for quite a while until normal market forces took hold. The poorer estate agents were just using Zoopla anyway (with the paperwork clearly showing/advertising that the valuation had been generated by Zoopla).
Obviously for a more unusual property (like yours) then a valuation is more difficult, so a good agent may well give better figures and also be able to guide potentially interested/targeted purchasers. I think your strategy to ask in a few local agents is a wise move.
Posted 27 January 2014 - 4:22 PM
Posted 27 January 2014 - 9:23 PM
I used http://www.myonlineestateagent.com package, the 325 +vat and have no complaints what so ever. They did all of the For Sale board, arranging of viewings, sale negotiations, pictures write up etc (had to do the key handover myself, however its worked that way in all our properties.)
I agree about the Zoopla, Righmove affect for house valuation, so as long as your confident in what your property is worth then an online option is for you. Simply put I will never use a bricks and mortar estate agent again. I'm not saying they are perfect you still have to do a bit of chasing occasionally, however with a saving of over £3.5k (on our property) you cannot convince me that the bricks and mortar option is worth the money.