A Guide To Using An Online Estate Agent

Jane Wardle

Written by Jane Wardle on November 27, 2018

Updated November 27, 2018

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In recent years the property market has changed significantly, and the rise of online estate agents has played a major role in the way homes are now sold and purchased. For those who are accustomed to traditional estate agents, using an online only service can seem daunting, but they do come with their advantages.

Online estate agents often boast low fixed fees and an easy, fast service for selling your home, which leaves many sellers wondering what the catch is. This guide covers everything you need to know about online estate agents, how they work and what services they offer.

What Is An Online Estate Agent?

Online estate agents are a fairly new concept that has emerged in recent years and taken the property market by storm. They are companies that offer to sell properties using internet-based marketing and reduced services compared with traditional estate agents.

Online estate agents often have one low fixed fee for their services, as opposed to a commission fee on the property sale. Every online estate agent will offer a slightly different service, with some offering everything that a traditional high street agent will offer and others boasting a simple service that leaves the seller to do a lot of the legwork.

The one constant service that all online estate agents will have in common is that they will list your property on the most popular online portals including Rightmove and Zoopla.

Many sellers choose to use online estate agents because they can save a substantial amount of money compared with a high street agent. This often means the seller has to do a lot more of the work and will receive a less proactive service from the estate agent.

How Much Does An Online Estate Agent Cost?

Cost of an online estate agent

The fees charged by online estate agents varies greatly between companies and the services they offer. Some agents may provide various levels of service depending on your needs, so you can choose if you just want them to market your property online or discuss and negotiate the sale with potential buyers as well. Generally, an online estate agent will charge a fixed fee of between £250 and £500 for the basics such as listing your property online. If you want to have a more complete service such as following up with solicitors and arranging viewings of the property, then the fixed fee could be between £500 and £1000.

If you are selling a higher priced property then an online estate agent can end up saving you thousands of pounds. Traditional high street estate agents will work on a commission model and take a percentage of the final house sale, so the more expensive the house, the more it will cost to sell.

What Services Will You Get From An Online Estate Agent?

The majority of online estate agents will complete the basic selling tasks such as listing your property online, creating a floorplan, and arranging for someone to photograph your home. Many will also offer a service where they will negotiate the sale on your behalf with prospective buyers and help you to choose which one to sell your property to.

They can also help with the progression of the sale by liaising with solicitors and the buyer on your behalf. One of the most common services of any high street estate agent is conducting viewings and meeting with potential buyers to discuss the property. Only a handful of online estate agents can offer this service as they often don’t have staff available in every area of the country.

If you choose an online estate agent, you should be prepared to host your own viewings, which means you must be comfortable showing strangers around your home and have the spare time to do so.

Online estate agents will not be able to offer the same level of service as a traditional estate agent when it comes to knowledge of the local area. A high street estate agent will have a database of local active buyers that could be interested in your property, and they will also have an in-depth knowledge of the local area and local property market.

A valuation from a high street agent will be based on their own knowledge of the area and the current market, as well as the property itself. A valuation from an online estate agent will often just be based on the details you can provide of the property and some research on how much other similar houses in the area have recently sold for.

If you are thinking of using an online estate agent to sell your property, spend some time researching the company and checking reviews from previous customers. There are a huge number of online agents to choose from so be sure to choose a reputable one.

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