An online estate agent is a company that provides real estate services digitally and remotely, rather than through physical high street offices. Online estate agencies leverage technology to connect home sellers and buyers more efficiently. This allows them to operate with lower overheads than traditional brick-and-mortar agencies.
At Property Webmasters, we have noticed that online estate agents have risen in popularity among property sellers looking to save money on agent fees and commissions. Whereas high street estate agents charge commissions of 1-3%, online agents offer much lower listing fees starting from as little as £99. This significant cost saving is achieved by replacing office infrastructure with streamlined digital platforms and workflows.
For motivated sellers who can take on the coordination of viewings and digital marketing, an online estate agent offers a convenient and affordable way to reach home buyers. Without expensive commercial premises, online agencies pass the overhead savings directly to clients. As more properties are listed and transacted digitally, online estate agents continue to disrupt the market.
Online estate agents provide an end-to-end digital real estate service, enabling home sellers to list, market and sell their property completely remotely.
A key service offered is an online property valuation. Using recent sales data and property attributes, the online agent will estimate the optimal listing price for the seller’s home. This market appraisal is carried out digitally, without the need for an in-person visit.
Once instructed, the online estate agent lists the property comprehensively on major UK property portals, including Rightmove and Zoopla. These high-traffic listing sites maximize visibility among active home buyers. The agent will also often provide complementary listing photos, floorplans and promotional materials like ‘For Sale’ signage.
A streamlined calendar and messaging system allows the agent to schedule and coordinate viewings, providing booking links to buyers. While the online agent facilitates viewings, the property seller may need to be present to grant access and showcase the home themselves. This is a key difference from a high street agent who will typically conduct viewings.
When offers come in, the online estate agent advises on pricing negotiations and provides guidance on handling the offer process. However, they typically have less experience than traditional agents when it comes to navigating negotiations and closing the sale.
For the conveyancing and contracts stage, some online agencies offer access to partner solicitors and conveyancers to assist with the legalities required. However sellers can also choose their own lawyer.
Overall, online estate agents aim to provide an efficient and low-cost end-to-end digital property sale service to motivated sellers. But clients make some tradeoffs, taking on more responsibilities themselves in areas like viewings and negotiations.
The main advantage of an online estate agent is significantly lower fees compared to traditional high street agencies. Whereas brick-and-mortar agents charge commissions of 1-3% of the final sale price, online agents offer fixed low fees starting from just £99 to list a property. This cost saving of up to two-thirds makes online agencies highly appealing to sellers focused on maximizing profit.
With their lower costs and digital-first model, online estate agents work best for proactive, self-sufficient sellers who are willing and able to take on more responsibility themselves. Clients must be comfortable with self-managing elements like property viewings, open houses and buyer communications. This DIY approach in exchange for fee savings may not suit all vendors.
There are also some important considerations to consider when deciding between online versus high street agencies. While traditional agents provide more hand-holding and account management, online agents offer less in-person support and interaction. They also tend to have smaller buyer databases and less established local area networks.
This could mean accessing fewer potential buyers. While they provide guidance, online agents typically have less real estate transactional experience to lean on during negotiations and conveyancing.
So in summary, while online estate agents provide a low-cost convenient option, clients make some tradeoffs primarily around in-person support, buyer access and negotiation experience. The type of service needed should determine if the lower fees justify these potential limitations.
When deciding whether to use an online or traditional high street estate agent, there are tradeoffs to consider around cost, service and support.
Online estate agents can offer significant fee savings, with some charging as little as £99 compared to high street commissions of 1-3%. For proactive sellers, they provide a flexible and low-cost approach to selling property digitally. However, clients take on more responsibility for viewings, marketing and negotiations.
Traditional agencies charge higher fees but provide more account management and hand-holding. Their experienced staff will conduct viewings, provide local expertise and guide negotiations. However, costs are higher and the process can be less convenient.
Ultimately, whether an online estate agent is ‘better’ depends on the client’s priorities. For savvy sellers who want control and cost savings, an online agent may be preferable. But for those who value expertise and support over cost, a high-street agency may be the better option.
As online agents grow in popularity, both models will continue serving different needs. By weighing up the pros and cons, property sellers can determine if the lower fees and convenience of an online agent outweigh the greater service levels of a traditional high street agency for their specific circumstances.
Online agents provide a more streamlined, low-cost alternative to traditional high-street estate agencies. As of October 2023, using an online estate agent offers several key advantages for savvy home sellers looking to save money and efficiently sell their home.
While online estate agents provide a more affordable and convenient option, there are some potential drawbacks to consider. Compared to traditional high street agencies, online agents offer less personalized service and marketing support during the home sale process.
Traditional high street estate agencies remain a popular option for many home sellers, thanks to their extensive industry experience and connections. As of October 2023, some key advantages of using an established local real estate agency include:
While traditional real estate agencies offer valuable experience and marketing capabilities, there are also some downsides for sellers to consider. Potential drawbacks to using a traditional high street estate agent in October 2023 include:
The online estate agency model works best for sellers who are sales-focused, motivated, and comfortable taking a hands-on DIY approach.
Specifically, online agents tend to suit:
Overall, online estate agencies work best for independent, sales-motivated sellers who embrace a more DIY approach in exchange for much lower fees and flexibility. The self-starter nature of online selling should align with the client’s skills.
Here is an overview of the type of seller that would benefit more from using a traditional high street estate agent:
Overall, for sellers who want expertise, marketing reach and account management even if it costs more in fees, a traditional high street estate agent is likely the better option.
Online estate agents provide home sellers with an end-to-end digital real estate service, allowing properties to be listed, marketed and sold completely remotely. This enables greater flexibility and convenience for motivated sellers looking to maximize sale proceeds.
A key advantage of online estate agents is significantly lower service fees compared to traditional high street agencies. Online agents offer fixed pricing starting from just £99 to list a property, whereas brick-and-mortar agents charge variable commissions of 1-3% of the final sale price. This cost saving of up to 70% provides substantial financial benefits to sellers focused on optimizing net returns.
The streamlined digital process also allows faster property exposure through leading portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, harnessing the power of internet home buyer traffic. For savvy sellers able to self-manage elements of the transaction, an online estate agent provides an efficient and affordable sales model.
However, clients make tradeoffs in terms of accessing in-depth expertise and support throughout the buying and selling journey. Online agents have smaller registered buyer databases and provide less personalized guidance compared to established high-street agencies. The convenience and cost savings come with greater responsibility for the seller.
In conclusion, while online estate agents are disrupting the market, they currently work best for proactive, sales-oriented vendors who value remote flexibility and lower fees over account management. Their streamlined digital approach resonates with motivated sellers able to take greater control of the process.