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.
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.
Rightmove, Look4AProperty, Fish4homes, FindaProperty, Property live, Zoopla, Prime Location, Globrix, Nestoria
Rightmove, Look4AProperty, ebay, FindaProperty, Property live, Zoopla, Prime Location, Globrix, Gumtree
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.
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.
Feedback is followed up the following day and emailed to you.
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.
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
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.
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