/ Home & Energy

Should you sell your home using an online-only estate agent?

Selling a house can be expensive. High street estate agents typically take 1% – 2% of the sale price in commission alone, so it’s little wonder that online-only rivals are shouting about potential savings. But is the trade-off worth it?

Looking at the sums, the potential savings are certainly eye-grabbing. With online-only estate agents fees starting at around £500 for a basic sales package, you could easily save yourself £1,000s in fees.

So that means if you were to sell a house for the average price in England and Wales of £188,000 you could save more than £1,300. That’s a saving worth a little consideration, don’t you think?

Weighing it up

Now you could argue that these days the main shop window for your property is likely to be on online property portals such as Rightmove or Zoopla, especially as more people move around the country when property hunting. So providing your property is listed on those websites – something which online estate agents do – then that’s mostly job done right?

But, for any of you who have been through a property sale before, when it comes to selling a house it’s about far more than just advertising.

A good high street agent would probably say they more than earn their fees by the service they offer you. Any high street agent really worth their salt will know the local property market inside out and will be able to share this insight with you. Equally if you’re getting to your wits’ end with a tricky sales process it can be reassuring to know you can pop into the local branch and talk to someone, face to face.

Many online agents do now offer an increasingly wide range of support services such as ‘personal account managers’ and 24/7 call centre support. But in most cases it’ll be you that conducts the viewings and answers questions from potential buyers. So if you’re not a natural salesperson or you’re time-strapped then this could be a lot of hassle.

Are you sold on this?

So an online agent is likely to save you some money. However, at a practical level, if you use an online agent you’re likely to end up doing a lot more of the legwork yourself.

The vast majority of people still opt to use a traditional high street agent. After all buying and selling property can be a stressful process as it is. But if your house is likely to sell relatively easily, plus you have the time and willingness to be more hands-on, then an online agent could be worth serious consideration.

So how about you, are you sold on the idea of online estate agents? Have you used one before, or would you consider it?

Would you use an online estate agent to sell your home?

Maybe, it depends on what they're offering (45%, 1,271 Votes)

No, I'd rather use a traditional estate agent (36%, 1,025 Votes)

Yes, why not? (19%, 526 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,822

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Comments
Member

I posted a comment on this in reply to a post on another Convo by Dee, and showed figures of massive savings if you sell it yourself . The costs range from £300 to £600 the higher ones would include being advertised, as the above Convo states -RightMove -Zoopla and others . I also stated that on several websites survey,s showed a 91 % approval rate , now even if that was exaggerated and you took 20 points off thats still a lot better than a normal ,charge you high estate agent. And those online companies have a vast audience ,so I for one would give them a try if I was selling up. What have you got to loose ? at most £600 ,not several 1000,s of £££££ .

Member

I was not aware that if you market your property yourself, i.e. without using an agent [on-line or high street], you could post it on Rightmove or any other property portal as I was under the impression that access to these services is restricted to authorised agents only.

Member

John -until I checked up neither was I but I have even found info on how to set up your own webpage (if you have the tech info ) for Free as well as putting it on the social websites . It is amazing John , eMoov ,which has sold 520 properties has 850 properties for sale -Russel Quirk -Founder- quote-We will sell your property for a flat fee of £395+vat . Or how about not paying a penny -DIY housec sale website Tepilo run by Sarah Beeny but I agree if you want it sold quicker as well as those listed above you have Globrix-Prime Location -Findaproperty where 9 out of 10 buyers start there . The Little Green House Company offers a private house sales service from £30/month or a flat fee of £325+vat via a high profile website . Ron Houston sold his terraced house in Lewisham through -Housesimple asking price £353,000 -sold for £365,000 -he is delighted -through an estate agent at 1.6 % he would have paid £7000 (in total ) fees -total cost through Housesimple -£534 . Still not cheap enough ? Richard Patterson Director of My Online Estate Agent will market your home for just £250 . So yes John you can do it without an online estate agent ,even for free but it wont be advertised to the widest audience. I have many more if anybody doubts me.

Member

Thanks Duncan. I think luck must play a big part when using one of the more obscure set-ups. I had heard of Tepilo and Purple Bricks because they advertise on TV and have started to rattle the high street agents but I had not heard of the others you mention.

Member

John,

You are corect in your assumption, Rightmove will not allow adverts from individuals:

4a. Can I sell my home privately through Rightmove?
In the UK, as part of our commitment to our users, we only work through estate agents because they are covered by the Estate Agency Act 1979 and the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991,
which requires them to be truthful in their advertising about property and affords protection to both buyer and seller. If you want to advertise your property for sale in the UK on Rightmove, you can find our members in your area by searching for an estate agent. Alternatively, ask your preferred agent to contact Rightmove about membership. If you are interested in selling property overseas and you would like to sell your property overseas, Rightmove Overseas do accept listing from vendors.

Member

Thank you Oxford Agent.

I am surprised [or not, possibly!] that Rightmove has not updated this clause to reflect the fact that on 1 October 2013, the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 [which previously made it a criminal offence for estate agents to make false or misleading statements about properties being offered for sale] was repealed. Its scope has been superseded and greatly extended by two other pieces of legislation which regulate estate agents and other businesses involved in property sales and lettings: the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008. The Office of Fair Trading was so concerned that estate agents were unfamiliar with this change that they published new guidance for estate agents over a year ago.

Member

John,

I thought exactly the same when i read it myself! The new legislation is interesting in so much as it’s proving almost impossible to obtain clarification on numerous situations. In general terms we need to disclose any material information that may affect a buyers decision to purchase the property. Sellers are asked to fill out a property information questionnaires to obtain as much detail as possible. If we are dealing with a probate sale where the owner has passed away in the house we are being told that we need to disclose that information to buyers.

Member

I am not sure where that guidance in your final sentence came from but I think it is the sort of mischievous “what-if” speculation that occurs after any new legislation is introduced. Such information should not be withheld if requested but not volunteered; it is hardly a material consideration*. There has to be a limit on what an agent can be expected to know; should you provide a feng shui assessment?

*If it were a material consideration should it not be included in your brochures and website property description? I don’t think so. Caveat emptor hasn’t been repealed!