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Hybrid Estate Agents Explained & Compared
You may have heard of the term “hybrid agent”, and you’d be forgiven if you’re one of the many that thought it’s just another fancy name for an “online agent” – because that is the common misconception.
Make that mistake with an actual hybrid agent and you’ll be sorry, though.
Hybrid agents tend to market themselves as the ultimate cost-effective alternative to the traditional high-street estate agent; same personal service, but half the price.
But what actually makes them different from the others, and more importantly, are hybrid agents the best type of agent to sell your property?
First and foremost, this blog post is written with the assumption that you’re familiar with what and how online estate agents operate. If that’s not the case, you may wish to flip-and-flop over to my guide on online estate agents before you go any further. Otherwise, this may prove to be a very bumpy and confusing ride.
How are Hybrid agents different from Online and High-street agents?
While ‘online’ and ‘hybrid’ agents are similar in many ways – most notably that they both sell their services online and charge one-off fixed fees – it’s important to appreciate that they offer different levels of service (and that will determine which type of agent is best suited for you when it comes to selling your home).
If you imagine online estate agents on one end of the spectrum, and high-street agents on the opposite end, hybrid agents are somewhere in-between the two:
- Online agents: only operate online and provide telephone support through their head office.
- Hybrid agents: operate online and provide a local presence, and telephone support through their head office if required.
- High-street agents: only operate through a branch on your local high-street, and support is available by walk-in and telephone.
For all intents and purposes, a hybrid agent is the perfect solution for anyone that wants the best of both ‘online’ and ‘high-street’ worlds.
Hybrid agents have arguably taken the best bites out of the online agency model and the best bites out of the high-street model… and squashed it all together like a ball of play-doe, hence “hybrid”
So what does that creation look like?
How Hybrid agents are similar to Online estate agents:
- They sell their services through their website.
- They don’t have a high-street branch (and therefore don’t have the overheads, which is why they can pass on the massive savings to their customers).
- They charge significantly less than high-street agents, and charge a one-off fixed fee.
- They will list your property on the UK’s biggest portals like Rightmove and Zoopla to generate enquiries from buyers.
- They arrange professional photography and floorplans for marketing purposes.
How Hybrid agents are similar to high-street agents:
You’re provided with a professional local agent who will be your primary point of contact, working with you from start to completion. They will be with you every step of the way; all your questions and concerns should be addressed by your new local bestie.
Yes, I said “local”, just like you’d get from a traditional high-street agent service, only hybrid agent’s typically work out of their home office (when they’re not on the road).
To clarify, the local agents work exclusively for the hybrid agency; they’re not rogue agents or random freelancers earning extra beer money, usually.
The agent will initially visit your home to undertake a free, no obligation, in-person property valuation. If you’re happy with the valuation and service up to that point, you can then decide
if you want to instruct them to sell your property (at which point you’ll have to pay the fixed fee service cost, unless you’ve opted for a “pay on completion” package).
- You’re provided with the option of “hosted viewings”, which essentially means your local agent can conduct all of your viewings. However, fair warning, while this is normally included with a high-street service, you usually have to stump up extra cash for a hybrid agent to do it (approx £250).
To sum it up, a hybrid agent will toss in a local agent with the deal, so you’re not flapping around on your lonesome.
Like I said, you get more service than an online agent, but you’re left shy of a high-street branch.
Suffice to say, with the added service provided by a hybrid, expect to pay more than you would for a pure online estate agent, and of course, less than you would for a high-street agent.
Please note that every agent, regardless of type, will slightly vary with the service they offer, so please make sure you carefully read exactly what you’ll be receiving for your money before choosing the right agent for you!
A practical look at the differences between an Online and Hybrid Estate Agent
I know I’ve gone over the core similarities between the different types of estate agents, but I do want to provide a overview of how the service between a Hybrid and Online agent differ. Reason being, when most people are looking for an “online solution”, they’re generally deciding between an online and hybrid agent, so I think it’s useful to show their differences in a practical way.
Please note, the following is just a generalised example, and will not be the exact process for every situation.
|Step||Description||Online Agent||Hybrid Agent|
Online Property Valuations
Online tools are used (typically by entering your postcode) to receive an instant online valuation, based on historical and current market trends. In most cases, you’ll receive an accurate quote. However, in some cases, you may raise an eyebrow when you don’t hear the figures you want to hear.
Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on their valuation, you can easily value your own home. 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.
Here’s a full guide on how to value your home.
Property Valuations by Local Agent
Similarly to how a traditional high-street agents works, a local property expert will arrange a suitable day and time to visit your property so they can carry out an inspection to form a valuation.
Dedicated local Agent
A local property expert will be assigned to handle the sale of your property and assist with any enquiries, all the way until completion.
Signing up & Payment
If you’re happy to proceed with the service after getting a property valuation, you can then sign up to the desired package (along with buying any additional add-ons, like an Energy Performance Certificate) and make payment via the agent’s website.
Property Details, Photography & Floorplans
Your local agent will arrange the property description for your adverts, professional photography and floorplans of your property.
The same services are available for those that don’t use a Hybrid agent, however, they’re usually not included in the base price, so they’re “add-on” services.
Preliminary property details
You will 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, and Primelocation.com.
Rightmove & Zoopla
Your property will be listed on the biggest UK property portals in order to generate enquiries from prospective buyers.
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 notification of the enquiry.
After receiving an enquiry, it will be up to you arrange a viewing with the prospective buyer.
Your local agent will schedule a viewing with the prospective buyer.
Feedback is followed up the following day and emailed to you.
If an offer is made, you will be notified.
Your agent will negotiate the best price for you.
Once a sale has been agreed, you will need a conveyance solicitor to handle all the legal paperwork. They usually charge several hundred pound for their service, and the price will vary depending on the complexity of the sale/property (i.e. leasehold properties generally involves more paperwork, therefore the legal fees are higher than freehold properties).
Almost all online/hybrid agents will try to up-sell you their recommended conveyancing team. I personally recommend finding your own conveyance solicitor, not only will you get a better price, but more likely a better service, too.
So should you choose a pure online agent, hybrid or high-street to sell your property?
Yeah, good question.
Obviously I can’t make that decision for you. It really is down to your preference, or perhaps, how much risk you’re willing to take.
There is an element of risk, or at least, concern, when giving the middle finger to the tried and tested traditional routes. But that’s not to say different can’t be better.
But here’s my take on it:
- If you want the cheapest solution possible, and you’re happy to manage and take the viewings yourself, then using an online agent seems to be the clear winner.
- If you want to pay as little as possible while wanting the assistance of a local expert, then opting for a hybrid agent wouldn’t be a bad choice at all.
- If you always want the option of talking to someone face-to-face and/or if you want minimal involvement with the selling process, and you’re happy to pay 1-2% of the sale price for either of those benefits, then I can’t think of a better solution than a high-street agent.
That said, 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.
Any words of advice? Anything I should be aware of when using a Hybrid agent?
If you’re paying for a hybrid service because you want the expertise of a local agent, then I recommend making sure your “local expert” will actually be local.
In the past I’ve seen vendors complaining that their local ‘hybrid’ agent had very little knowledge of the local area, because they weren’t actually local to the area. They probably made a 2hr commute to take the valuation, because s/he just happened to be the closest available agent. That definitely doesn’t qualify them as a “local expert”
I recommend doing some due diligence before instructing your hybrid agent to sell your home:
- Find out where your designated local agent lives.
- Look into how many properties the agency has for sale in the same area, and how many properties they have sold in the area.
On the other hand, if you plan on using a hybrid agent just because you want an in-person valuation and/or you want to offload the viewings to some other schmuck, then I don’t ‘spose it matters if they’re a genuine local or not.
In any case, genuine local expert or distant commuter in disguise, it doesn’t hurt to conduct your own property valuation. In fact, I encourage such sensible practises, especially since the good ol’ internet has made it a breeze with so many free property valuation tools widely available.
Is there anything else to be aware of?
Not that I think can of, other than to advise you that it would be extremely wise to always remember why hybrid agents are able to charge a lot less than high-street agents (i.e. they don’t have a local high-street office), and with that in mind, have a pragmatic approach to the process, and a realistic level of expectation to the service you’re likely to receive.
More specifically, keep in mind you won’t be able to walk into an office and speak to someone face-to-face – a proposition which I’m sure isn’t for everyone.
UK Hybrid Estate Agents Compared
Now that’s the theory out of the way, let’s move onto the good stuff: a list of the best Hybrid estate agents.
All the agents listed provide in-person valuation and hosted viewing services.
|Estate Agent||Rating||Duration||Includes / Notes||Price|
Strike (formerly Housesimple)|
Includes / Notes|
No fee package
*YES, Strike will give you a 100% free service, no strings attached.
The catch is: Strike currently only sells properties in England, and in two forms. They provide a "hybrid" service (i.e. which includes an in-person valuation by a local agent) for properties in the Midlands, North West & Yorkshire etc. Specifically, the following postcodes: BB, BD, BL, CA, CH1- 4, CH25 - 34, CH41 - 49, CH60 - 66, CH70, CH88, CH99, CW, DG, DH, DL, DN, FY, HD, HG, HU, HX, IM, L, LA, LN, LS, M, NE, NG18 - 24, NG34, OL, PE10 - 12, PE20 - 25, PR, S, SK, SR, ST7 - 8, SY13 - 14, TD, TS, WA, WF, WN, YO.
|Visit WebsiteBook Free In-Person Valuation|
Door Steps||RatingTrustPilot Reviews||
Includes / Notes|
Price £188Inc VAT|
Normal price: £199
|Visit Website£11 Discount Code: PIP11|
I Am The Agent||RatingTrustPilot Reviews||
Includes / Notes|
IATA Essential package
*You need to choose between Professional Photography/Floorplan or EPC. Alternatively, pay extra for the other: £119 for Photos, £65 for EPC.
Price* £379Inc VAT|
Normal price: £399
|Visit Website5% Discount Code: Welovethelandlord17|
Includes / Notes|
High Street package
Price £899.1Inc VAT|
Normal price: £999
|Visit Website10% Discount Code: PIP999|
Includes / Notes|
*Selling fee of £1,499 in a few specific London postcodes.
|Price* £999Inc VAT||Visit WebsiteBook Free In-Person Valuation|
Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each hybrid estate agent up-to-date, but you should read the T&C’s from the agents’ website for the most up-to-date information.
Before I sign out, here’s a link to my list of the best online estate agents, just in case you want to explore more of your options.
Happy selling, folks!
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.