Online Estate Agents

I recently wrote a blog post about Online Letting Agents, so I thought i’d be predictable and boring by taking the next natural step by compiling a blog post about Online Estate Agents. Jesus, I must be running out of things to say.

What is an Online Estate Agent?

They’re estate agents, also referred to as “self-service agents”, that don’t have shop-fronts, they operate online. This virtual set-up means they can drastically reduce their overheads, which ultimately means they can offer a much cheaper solution to home-sellers than high-street agents. Sounds compelling already, right? Yes, indeed.

It’s the same kind of concept as an Online Letting Agent, only difference is, Online Estate Agents try to sell your property, as opposed to let. Go figure.

Online Estate agents market properties for sale across several (if not hundreds) of the biggest UK property portals. Their aim is exactly the same as any other High-street agent, to generate as many enquiries as possible for the vendor. When a prospective buyer makes an enquiry, the vendor will be notified by the online estate agent, and is then expected to arrange and take the viewing.

I’ve noticed more and more of these online estate agents emerging by the day. No doubt the industry will quickly become overcrowded and saturated, consequently most of them won’t be around this time next year. However, for now, while every slick motherfudger out there thinks they can dominate the space, the competition is fierce and the options are almost limitless. So there’s plenty of choice.

List of Online Estate Agents

Below is a small list of Online Estate Agents. I’ve not tried any of them, so unfortunately I can’t say a good or shitty word about them.

Website Price Period Marketed on Notes

£300Exc VAT

12 months

Rightmove, Primelocation, Findaproperty, Globrix, Zoopla, Gumtree, Ebay etc.

Vendors can request price, photo and copy changes at any time. The price includes a home visit and photos and measurements taken. Ads are published within 24 hours of Visum receiving the write up from the visiting agent.

£425Exc VAT

12 months

Rightmove, Look4AProperty, Fish4homes, FindaProperty, Property live, Zoopla, Prime Location, Globrix, Nestoria

Guide on how House Network works

£345Exc VAT

12 months

Rightmove, Look4AProperty, ebay, FindaProperty, Property live, Zoopla, Prime Location, Globrix, Gumtree

Guide on how 121 Move works

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. Nothing else.

High-street estate agents typically charge anywhere between 1%-2% 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, £300, it suddenly becomes clear why these websites are taking off like Hugh Hefner’s penis.

Most High-street agents source their buyers from online enquiries

90% of home-buyers research properties online. I can’t remember where I read that statistic, but I remember hovering my beady little eyes over that nugget of information recently. Either way, it sounds good, and it sounds right, so I’m going to run with it.

Let’s face it, most high-street agents source their buyers from online enquiries these days, specifically from websites like Rightmove. Long gone are those days when Estate Agents have to pull in the punters by the hair off the street. So my question is, why not just go with the online agent if both types of estate agents are sourcing the buyers from the same place?

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, they do offer support. Almost all of the online agents I have looked at have phone/email support to assist with any enquiries to help through the selling process, which includes providing advice and direction.

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. The rest of it is trival to how much extra value high-street agents will offer. *ducks and cover* I’m sure that statement will go down like a tonne of used condoms with high-street agents.

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 money.

An example of how Online Estate Agents work

I’m going to use iThink Online Estate Agents service as an example. Let me clarify, I am in no way affiliated to their website, nor have I ever had any communication with any of their staff. I’m simply using their service as an example to demonstrate how the process typically works.

They offer 3 packages, but I’m going to focus on their Gold package, which is £295 + VAT.

Once you sign up to their service
Once you have signed up to iThink’s service to sell your property, you will receive a call within 24 hours from a Local Estate Agent based in your area, who will arrange a convenient day and time with you for them to come and carry out their inspection and take necessary details and photographs.

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

Photography and measurements
During the visit, the Local Agent will take measurements of the rooms, as well as written details. They will 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 do this too. This information is then sent electronically to iThink and they will then get in touch within 24 hours to discuss and agree a marketing price.

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

Once you are satisfied, you can confirm by ticking a box and email it back to them. 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 all the Top UK websites including Rightmove.co.uk, Zoopla.co.uk, Findaproperty.com and Primelocation.com and will be live across the UK.

Enquiries
When they receive enquiries and viewing requests from buyers, they 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.

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

The Offer
When iThink Online Estate Agents receive an offer they will phone you and email the details to you. They also offer a full negotiating service between buyers and sellers to help you achieve the best possible price.

Conveyancing
Where there is a chain involved with your buyer, iThink Online Estate Agents will check the details with other agents in the chain to ensure the chain is complete and establish how far advanced it is.

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

That’s it.

Personally, that doesn’t seem too painful to me. The service comes for a flat-fee of £295 + VAT (excluding the Convenyancing solicitor fee and any extras like the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)- but that’s also the case with most High Street estate agent fees).

Most of the Online Estate Agents i’ve looked at run in a very similar way, 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.

8 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

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