List Of The Best Online & Hybrid Estate Agents 2016

Literally save thousands of pounds when selling your home with an Online Estate Agent! The average high-street estate agent fee for selling a property in the UK is £4200, compare that with £450! Interested?

What is an Online Estate Agent?

You’ve stumbled upon the names Purplebricks and/or emoov, right? Well they’re online estate agents, and they’re becoming incredibly popular, and with more-and-more people getting comfortable with buying online, increase in demand for their services and the alike seems imminent.

Online estate agents have the same objectives as the traditional high-street estate agents we’re all used to (and largely loath), which is to sell your home faster than a bag of chips, for the most amount of money. Nothing new there. However, the major difference is, online agents don’t have physical branches/offices on the high-street, which you can casually stroll into. Instead, online agents have a website where their services are sold and managed, and a centralised office(s) where the operations are managed and telephone support is provided, so the face-to-face support is non-existent. This set-up means online agents can drastically reduce their overheads, which ultimately means they can offer a much cheaper solution to home-sellers than traditional high-street agents. And that’s the main reason why they’ve taken off and an increasing amount of people are giving it a spin!

Like the majority of traditional high-street agents, online estate agents market properties across the biggest UK property portals, which includes Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocations (to be honest, they’re only one’s worth a damn, in my opinion) to generate enquiries from prospective buyers. When a prospective buyer makes an enquiry, the vendor will be notified by the online estate agent, and then typically a viewing is arranged (which is conducted by the seller/vendor, NOT the agent).

So the basic difference from a traditional high-street agent is that an online agent will pass the enquiries onto the seller so he/she can arrange the viewings with the prospective buyer, and then negotiate the sale between themselves (as opposed to the agent doing it). However, it’s also important to note the difference between an ‘online agent’ and a ‘hybrid agent’ – hybrid agents really don’t like it when they’re classed as the same thing, and in their defence, it is important to recognise the difference to help determine which one is most suitable for you.

A hybrid agent offers a service which is based on both online agents and traditional high street agents, claiming to offer the vendor the best of both worlds. But of course, that means they’re a little more expensive than online-only agents. I explain more on how online and hybrid agents generally work below, so you get an idea of the different steps taken between the two. But first, let’s go over the options you have available…

List of Online Estate Agents

Take your pick…

AgentPriceDurationNotes / Includes
Price
£99Inc VAT
Duration
28 days
Notes / Includes
Will market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla + more.

Vendors can make price, photo and copy changes at any time. Ads are published within a few hours. Further 28 day marketing blocks can be purchased for £40. Great deals on conveyancing and removals available.

More Info
Price
£595Inc VAT
Duration
12 months
Notes / Includes
Will market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla + more.

SellMyHome has received incredible feedback on TrustPilot– the best out of all online agents.

Includes professional photos, professional floorplans, account manager, buyer management and free valuation.

More Info
Price
£699Inc VAT
Duration
12 months
Notes / Includes
Will market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla + more.

Guide on how House Network works

More Info
Price
£495Inc VAT
Duration
12 months
Notes / Includes
Will market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla + more.

Guide on how 121 Move works

More Info
Price
£495Inc VAT
Duration
12 months
Notes / Includes
Will market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla + more.

Guide on how My Online Estate Agent works

More Info
Price
£399Inc VAT
Duration
12 months
Notes / Includes
Will market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla + more.

Package includes a valuation, a for sale board, professional photos, EPC, buyer vetting and they’ll handle all enquiries!

More Info

Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each agent up-to-date, but I still recommend you read the T&C’s from their website for the most up-to-date information.

What is a hybrid agent?

I briefly touched on this above, but let me cover some of the specifics, so you can determine whether an ‘online agent’ or a ‘hybrid agent’ is more suitable for you.

A hybrid agent is the perfect solution for anyone that wants the best of both an online agent and traditional high-street agent!

A hybrid agent have essentially taken bites out off the online agency model and bites off the high-street model… and squashed it all together like a ball of play-doe, hence the hybrid model. So what does this creation look like? You will generally get everything which an online-only agent provides, but with one notable extra:

A dedicated local agent
You’re provided with a local agent which will work with you until completion! They will support you personally and be with you every step of the way; all your questions, concerns and support will be addressed by your local new-best-friend.

Yes, I said “local”, just like you’d get from a traditional high-street agent, and that is what essentially makes them hybrid (and why they’re a little more expensive than online-only agents). The local agents are actual experts/estate agents, and he/she will typically visit your property to undertake a valuation, followed by the arrangement of professional photos, floorplan, a ‘For Sale’ sign and then get your property advert onto the likes of Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation to start generating enquiries.

Your local agent can also take the viewings, but it usually comes at an extra cost (approx £150 on top of the basic package price).

I have just described the essence of a hybrid agent, however, please note that every agent will slightly vary on the service they offer, so please make sure you carefully read exactly what you’ll be receiving for your money for each agent before choosing the right agent for you!

List of Hybrid Agents

There are currently only four players who might be considered “hybrid” (i.e. come attached with a ‘local agent’)…

AgentPriceDurationNotes / Includes
Price
£780*Inc VAT
Duration
12 months
Notes / Includes
Will market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla + more.

YOPA has received excellent feedback on TrustPilot- the best out of all hybrid agents, and in 2nd place out of ALL online agents.

Includes an expert local agent who will visit your property to carry out a free face-to-face valuation (no obligation thereon). Support provided until completion. Your local agent can also take viewings for an extra £150 (most online estate agents don’t offer a ‘viewings’ service). For more information, read my complete review of YOPA.

*Selling fee of £1,140 in a few specific London postcodes

More Info
Price
£798*Inc VAT
Duration
12 months
Notes / Includes
Will market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla + more.

You’ve heard of ’em, right? Yeah, probably the most popular (and most expensive). They’ve received decent reviews on TrustPilot though.

Their service includes a home-visit by a local expert, ‘For Sale’ sign, professional photos and floorplans etc.

*Selling fee of £1,158 in London and surrounding areas

More Info
Price
£695*Inc VAT
Duration
12 months
Notes / Includes
Will market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla + more.

They appear to the cheapest out of the lot. Their service includes a home-visit by a Hatched employee, ‘For Sale’ sign, professional photos and floorplans etc.

*I find their pricing table misleading/sneaky; it seems like the cost is £395 when you’re on their website, but that’s only if you use their conveyancing service (which will add additional expenses going forward). £695 is how much they charge without their conveyancing service.

More Info
Price
£495Inc VAT
Duration
6 months
Notes / Includes
Will market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla + more.

This is the one that’s owned by the wonderful Sarah Beeny. Cheapest on the ‘hybrid’ list, that could be due to two reasons: the marketing period is shorter than the others, and secondly, their noticeably poor feedback. Unfortunately, the reviews and overall rating on TrustPilot are comparatively bad.

More Info

Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each agent up-to-date, but I still recommend you read the T&C’s from their website for the most up-to-date information.

Why use an Online Estate Agent?

I’ve already touched on the main advantage above, but here it is again: it’s all about the money.

High-street estate agents typically charge anywhere between 1-4% of the sale price achieved. I’m told that the average estate agent fee for selling a property in the UK is £4200. Ouch! That’s a decent boob-job right there. When you compare that to the average cost of an Online Estate Agent, £450, it suddenly becomes clear why these websites are taking off. It’s worth a punt, at least.

There is of course another advantage of using an online agent, and while it’s rather subjective, it’s been a real selling point for many home-sellers. Many Some people simply don’t want to work with estate agents, either because of their generally poor reputation, or because they’ve been scorned in the past by their scrupulous and grease-ball antics. Some people simply don’t want the complication of the middle-man, particularly when the middle-man is an estate agent, and an online agent solves that problem by giving the control and power to the vendor.

Which Online Estate Agent is the best? Decisions, decisions!

The concept of an online estate agent isn’t new anymore, the likes of Purplebricks and emoov (I wouldn’t touch the latter with a barge-poll, that’s why they’re not listed. Just saying), among many others, have been around for what feels like donkey’s of years, and you’ve probably ‘eard of them. But evidently, whether you realise it or not, that’s not stopping every Tom, Dick and Harry from making advances to stake their own claim on the rapidly growing market (which you can probably guess from the growing lists above). And that means the options are accumulating, which often means ‘consumer confusion’- which is the best online agent?

While online agents are picking up momentum due to the undeniable savings comparative to a traditional high-street estate agent, and of course, the growing shift of ‘doing everything online’, the sad reality is, that many are still opting for ‘the same old crap’, which happens to be the nose-bleed expensive high-street agent. I say “sad reality” because online estate agents aren’t the future, they’re the “now”– but many of those that are ideal for the online solution are still blissfully unaware.

If you’re only aware of the two heavyweights I’ve already mentioned (Purplebricks and emoov), then do yourself and a favour recognise that there are plenty of online estate agents that will market your property on Rightmove & Zoopla to choose from, and you shouldn’t necessarily be won over by the bigger brand, because let’s be real, they all essentially do the same bloody thing (whether you realise it or not). That is, to market your property on the biggest UK portals (e.g. Rightmove, Zoopla) and generate a buttload of enquiries for you to process, so you can sell your property ASAP.

My advise is to first choose whether or not you would benefit from an online-only or hybrid agent, and then base your decision on price (not too strictly, though) and most importantly, customer feedback. To state the obvious, DO NOT rely on the reviews/testimonials on the agent’s websites themselves, they’re usually tainted with deception and manipulation. Almost EVERY online agent has a profile on TrustPilot, so you should definitely go trawling through them, and then make up your own mind.

Many of the online agents have received an overall great ‘rating score’ and feedback… while others have not. For example, Tepilo in particular has a comparatively poor rating, so their low-price tag could arguably be a honey-trap to be aware of. On the flipside, while YOPA is more expensive, they have received much better feedback. Remember, you’re not selling peanuts here, you’re selling a home, so there’s real value in the feedback.

Are there any hidden fees?

Generally, no. From my experience, I haven’t met a single online agent that has their T&C’s riddled with hidden fees, and that’s the general backbone of an online agent- that you pay a “fixed-fee”, no more. Another reason why online agents are awesome.

Unlike the traditional high-street agent, most online agents charge a fixed fee and that’s all you’ll ever pay. The only time they may charge more is if you buy add-on items, like Energy Performance Certificates (a legal requirement before selling a home), professional photos, or if you decide to extend the service duration etc, but it’s still a fixed-fee.

However, I still advise that you ALWAYS read the T&C’s carefully, so you know exactly what you’ll be paying and what you’ll get in return (it’s usually very transparent with online agents).

Online-only agent Vs Hybrid, which one?

Yeah, good question.

It depends.

This is how my feeble little mind looks at it: if you want the reassurance and assistance of a local expert to hold your hand and support you through the entire process of selling your home and/or if you want someone local to do the viewings for you (which many home-sellers do, for various reasons), then a hybrid agent might be a better choice for you, and worth paying the extra for. Alternatively, if you’re organised, good with people and confident enough to manage the viewings, the online-only agent might be the best option.

However, I do want to make a few crucial points before you make your decision:

  • As much as we all religiously love to believe that an estate agent’s job can be just as equally well by a chimp (if not better), they mostly do have the knowledge and experience which will allow for an optimal selling experience. Bear in mind, for most people, slowing down the selling process can break the chain (if there is one) and/or add expenses.
  • No matter which type of online agent you decide to choose, if at all any that is, they will ALL provide support until completion (as far as I’m aware) – whether that be by email, phone support, or directly via a local dedicated expert. Again, stifling through the reviews will give you a good indication of who offers good/poor customer service.

Most High-street agents source their buyers from online enquiries

90% of home-buyers research properties online, specifically from websites like Rightmove and Zoopla, and that’s exactly where most high-street agents source their enquiries from. Long gone are those days when Estate Agents have to pull in the punters by the hair off the street and rely on dinosaur newspaper adverts (although I’m told they still work in some areas, but the market is shrinking by the nano-second).

Essentially, both types of agents generate the majority of their enquiries from the same sources, so if you’re under the impression that high-street estate agents have access to an exclusive and magical list of “buyers”, you’re mistaken.

The selling process

Selling a house through an online estate agent may sound like a lot of effort and a difficult process for someone that doesn’t fully understand how the selling process works. If you’re one of those people, I genuinely think you would be surprised by how easy it can be.

Credit where credit is due, most online estate agents have made their service pretty easy to digest. Moreover, almost all of the online agents I have looked at have phone/email (at the very least) support to assist with any enquiries to help through the selling process, and the support office hours are generally far longer than you would get from a regular estate agent.

In all honesty, the process isn’t much different than when using a traditional high-street agent. In my opinion, the only extra burden and leg-work required when using an online agent is that the vendor is required to arrange and take the the viewings. However, hybrid agents, like YOPA, do offer a add-on ‘viewing service’, which is conducted by a local expert (i.e. YOPA currently charge £150 for the viewing add-on).

Put it this way, if selling property through these websites was difficult and didn’t work, there wouldn’t be so many of them around… making a shed-load money.

You don’t need to be a salesman (at the moment)

It’s difficult to “convince” someone to buy a property, despite how good at sales you may be. The reality is, if someone falls in love with a property during the viewing they will most likely put in an offer. There’s not much ‘selling’ required, it’s not like you’re trying to convince someone they don’t look inappropriate in a 2 inch skirt. The pool of idiots that can be convinced to part with £200k on a house they really don’t like is much more limited. And generally, people don’t buy homes on a whim or when in doubt.

Also, the current climate is significant, and it’s one of the most important factors when buying or selling a home. In today’s climate, where demand for properties is massively out-striping supply, houses are flying off the shelf. When you’re in a booming climate, you don’t really need to push a sale, the selling happens in cruise control.

So if you’re worried that you need to be ‘sales’ savvy, or have a certain selling greaseball charm like the average agent, just remember you’re not selling a party-outfit, and you’re in a very strong market, where supply cant keep up demand. The sales pitch will mostly boil down to showing prospective buyers around the property, and answering a few questions about the property.

An example of how a typical online agent works

Please note, the following is just a generalised example. Before choosing a online agent to sell your property, I recommend finding out their exact process.

1) Valuing your home
It will be down to you to value your home and set the initial ‘asking price’. This may seem daunting, but it’s really not that difficult- you definitely don’t need to be an ‘expert’.

The best way to value your home is by finding out what properties in your area have sold for, and what price properties are currently being marketed at. A good starting point is Rightmove and Zoopla- they’ll hold the largest catalogue and historic data for properties for sale in the UK.

2) Photos, floorplans and property details
Most online agents will offer add-on services from the base package/price to arrange the property marketing details (e.g. photos, measurements etc) for you. You should decide whether you want to do this yourself, or get them to do it for you. If you’re unsure of what is expected of you, go to Rightmove and look at the details a professional estate agent is providing for their clients/vendors properties.

Word of warning, don’t underestimate the power of high-quality photos and useful information! Whichever root you go down, make sure the end result includes compelling photos and accurate and useful information.

Once you’ve decided, you should be ready to sign up to a service of your choice.

3) Sign up and start marketing
During the signup, you will be expected to add your property details to create a compelling advertisement, which will get shown on the biggest UK property portals, like Rightmove, Zoopla, PrimeLocation and OnTheMarket.

You will also need to make payment at this point. Bear in mind, that in many case, the final balance won’t be what’s marketed as the “basic” service price, because many sellers opt-in for extras, such an Energy Performance Certificates (required by law when renting or selling property), and professional property marketing photos etc.

4) Marketing your home
Once payment is made (some offer ‘pay later’ option, but for a premium) and all your property details are added, your property should shortly after be live on all the portals. It typically takes up to 48 hours (if not sooner).

5) Enquiries
When a buyer is keen to arrange a viewing, your agent will notify you with a number of time slots in the upcoming week when the buyer is available. You will need to choose whichever time is convenient for you, and then the viewing will be confirmed.

Once confirmed, you should receive the contact details of the buyer in case you wish to communicate in advance.

6) Viewings
You will then take the viewing(s). Good-luck.

7) Feedback
After every viewing, your agent will contact the prospective buyer on your behalf, asking them about their impressions of your home. Once completed, they will inform you of what was said.

8) Offers
When a buyer makes an offer on your home, you will be notified, and then you will have to decide whether you are happy with the offer or not.

If you’re happy to accept an offer you will need to put your solicitor in touch with the buyer’s solicitors.

9) Conveyancing solicitor
Once a sale has been agreed, you will need a conveyance solicitor to handle all the legal paperwork. They usually charge a few hundred pound for their service, but it can depend on the complexity of the sale and/or property (i.e. leasehold properties generally involves more paperwork, therefore the legal fees are higher than freehold properties).

Here’s a list of licensed conveyancers, regulated by the CLC (Council For Licensed Conveyancers), who are qualified specialist property lawyers.

Many online agents offer their recommended conveyancing team to handle the legal work for an extra cost. But I recommend shopping around and reading reviews before committing, because they can be real hit or miss- a bad one can dramatically slow the entire process down. Unfortunately, I’ve got the “I’ve worked with a shit conveyancing solicitor” t-shirt, so I know how painful the experience can be.

An example of how a typical hybrid agent works

Please note, the following is just a generalised example. Before choosing a hybrid agent to sell your property, I recommend finding out their exact process.

1) Free valuation
Once you sign up for a free valuation, you should receive a call within 24 hours from a local estate agent based in or near your local area, who will then arrange a convenient day and time with you for them to visit your property so they can carry out their inspection to form a valuation.

You should not be obligated to any service at this point, nor should you need to pay any money.

2) Signing up & Payment
If you’re happy to proceed with the service, you will then be expected to make payment, and then your agent will take the necessary steps to arrange another visit to take details and photographs of the property.

Yes, an agent will come to your property and take all the details. You don’t have to take pictures or get on your knobbly and ageing knees to take measurements yourself. You can just relax and leave it to the monkey.

3) Photography and measurements
Your local agent will take measurements of the rooms, as well as specific property details. They will also take high quality wide angle photographs and prepare a bespoke floorplan.

If you have requested a Virtual Tour or Energy Performance Certificate (required by law when renting or selling property), the Local Agent will also get them arranged.

4) Preliminary property details
You will shortly receive your preliminary property details by email for you to check. You will be asked you to check the details that have been prepared, so that they adhere to the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991.

Once you are satisfied, you should confirm. If there are any amendments required, you can email or phone them, and they will make any necessary changes.

Your property will then be uploaded onto the Top UK websites, typically including Rightmove.co.uk, Zoopla.co.uk, Findaproperty.com and Primelocation.com.

5) Enquiries
When enquiries are made about your property, your agent will qualify them by taking their full details and establishing their position. You will then receive a phonecall or email (depending on your preference) to arrange a viewing for you to take (unless you have paid extra for the viewing service, in that case your agent will take it and arrange a suitable day with you).

6) Viewings
The viewings will be held.

Good-luck.

7) Viewing Feedback
Feedback is followed up the following day and emailed to you.

8) The Offer
If an offer is made, your agent will phone you and email the details.

9) Conveyancing solicitor
Once a sale has been agreed, you will need a conveyance solicitor to handle all the legal paperwork. They usually charge a few hundred pound for their service, but it can depend on the complexity of the sale and/or property (i.e. leasehold properties generally involves more paperwork, therefore the legal fees are higher than freehold properties).

Many online agents offer their recommended conveyancing team to handle the legal work for an extra cost. But I recommend shopping around and reading reviews before committing, because they can be real hit or miss- a bad one can dramatically slow the entire process down. Unfortunately, I’ve got the “I’ve worked with a shit conveyancing solicitor” t-shirt, so I know how painful the experience can be.

Conclusion

Personally, neither option seems particularly painful to me.

Most of the Online Estate Agents I’ve looked at run in very similar ways, making it easy and compelling to even those with very little knowledge. So it’s a no-brainer, or at least it’s worth a punt.

If anyone has any experience with Online Estate Agents, or has any thoughts, advice and tips, i’d love to hear from you.

Happy and cost-effective selling, folks.

11 Comments- join the conversation...

Guest Avatar
NP. 29th February, 2012 @ 11:01

Ive used an online estate agent - twice. One property had v few leads and as I needed a quick sale I went to a high street estate agent. The other had many leads but I took this property off the market prior to arranging too many viewings.

I think it depends on the property and the area, some properties need a high street agent to suggest properties buyers would not necessarily pick out to view.

The property a prospective buyer enquires about is rarely the property they actually put an offer on, and once estate agents have them on their books, they will show them other properties.

Also, estate agents show prospective buyers properties outside their budget whereas the buyer themselves will most likely wouldn't view these.

My property didnt get many viewings through the agent either, however they marketed at 11% higher then i did and achieved an offer 4% over my initial price. I do not think I would have achieved this amount otherwise. This more than covered their extortionate fee.

Even though I generally try to avoid lettings and estate agents, in this climate, and unless there is a massive demand for your property and area an estate agent would be able to achieve a better and faster deal.

I guess theres no harm in trying 1st, I only paid 199+VAT for the service and with the amount of enquiries for my 2nd house, I may have managed to sell for a good price.

1
Guest Avatar
YesAdam 29th February, 2012 @ 13:03

Online Letting Agent seems logical but Online Estate Agent does not seem feasible.

BUT.. If you can do both (?) then its worth a try.

2
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 1st March, 2012 @ 08:33

I definitely think it's worth a shot.

But I also agree, very much depends on location. In popular areas, properties will naturally sell quickly with very little marketing. That's when it's probably worth using an Online Estate Agent. In more specialist and niche locations, it might be worth using a high-street agent that knows how and where to source the niche buyers from.

But the same principle also applies with using online letting agents.

Either way, as you've both said, it's worth giving online agents a chance, especially as more and more people are starting to use the internet for buying/selling property.

3
Guest Avatar
Fee 5th March, 2012 @ 01:24

I think when I next come to sell my house, which I am thinking about doing soon, I will definitely be going for this option! Yes, it isn't in agents window or in the local paper but it is on Rightmove and all the others! Which is mainly were people look when buying a house.

Also I am fine with there being no agent to show people around as they normally do a shit job of it anyway and cannot answer half of the questions about the property.

But it does all come down to money and I would much rather spend under £500 than £2,700 which is what it cost with a normal estate agents when I last sold my house.

Informative post!

Fee.

4
Guest Avatar
Allen 23rd April, 2012 @ 11:05

Hi,

Online Estate Agents concept is good but many persons feel that maximum these kind of company or people will be fraud, because they don't have their own identity...
Its my personal opinion...

5
Guest Avatar
MiffedLawyer 27th June, 2012 @ 22:53

What's the beef with solicitors? I notice you take the pain to refer just to licensed conveyancers in relation to "conveyance solicitor to handle all the legal paperwork" ...Your readers should note that they are also welcome to use a real solicitor regulated by the SRA who can be found by a search on http://www.lawsocietyapproved.com/conveyancing.aspx ( for an accredited conveyancer)

6
Guest Avatar
Mike 11th July, 2013 @ 15:34

The high street estates are more reliable and you get one to one relationship with them. Also they are more flexible when it comes to arranging appointments and showing the people around. I had an online estate, they didn't get leads, so I had to go direct to a high street estate and within a month they found a buyer.

7
Guest Avatar
Jodie 13th June, 2014 @ 13:13

Really great tips.
Thanks for sharing.

Jodie

8
Guest Avatar
Mad Richard 6th October, 2014 @ 13:42

Sounds like On line Estate Agent is a great idea. Most can advertise your property on Rightmove, Zoopla etc. for a lot less than a High Street Agent.
As for credibility, I don't think Sarah Beeny for instance is 'here today, gone tomorrow'

9
Guest Avatar
Peter 5th August, 2015 @ 14:29

I have just had a valuation from an on line estate agent .His assessment was the property is in mint condition and he would sell it in 2 weeks for 35 grand.. 24 Hours later 2 local estate agents valued it , one said they would market it for 65 grand the other said 50-55 grand... I wont be using the on-line agent as you can well imagine ..totally clueless

10
Guest Avatar
Martin Haywood 18th November, 2016 @ 09:37

Having been a qualified agent for 30 years and seen the total disappearance of foot traffic on the High Street I have now joined the revolution. Online agents are not just sharp businessmen with no pedigree, there are some who are experienced property professionals who put customer care first equal in their list of priorities alongside fantastic value.

11

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