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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

This is another view on estate agents fees: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/average-estate-agents-fee-sinks-to-1-with-more-falls-forecast/ which suggests the average is now around 1%.

Given the increase in online agents and, presumably, their lower overheads but different service in some respects, I suppose high street agents are struggling on turnover. Business rates, premises rentals and other overheads have all risen substantially. I know a local firm of estate agents and although very competent and professional, as you would hope, they are struggling to survive.

The fee rate differs from area to area. Where property prices are low [relatively!] the percentage fee for selling can be in the range 2% – 2.5% [+ VAT]. There is rarely enough competition from other agents to disturb this rate. In some areas prices have stagnated because more new stock has been built than the local market can absorb; while the new houses might sell the older properties hang on the market.