No Upfront Fees Online Estate Agents – Are They Worth It?

No Sale, No Fees Online Estate Agents

Using a ‘No Sale, No Fee‘ online estate agent, also known as ‘Pay on completion‘, sounds like an amazing concept. But the problem is, paying only on completion comes at a cost (which many don’t realise)!

In this blog post I take a look at the top online estate agents that don’t want your money until they’ve done something as remarkable as ..errr.. their job, and discuss whether you should stump up the extra cash for the privilege!

In short, I don’t think they’re worth it – find out why, and what my preferred alternative suggestions are…

Yup, Online Estate Agents are continuing to gather momentum – and to the utter disappointment of most high-street agents – it doesn’t seem like they’ll die a painful death anytime soon.

So, for now, we still have the luxury of choosing between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’, or ‘cheaper’ and ‘expensive’- depending on how you look at it – when selling our home.

Both methods have their own set of pros of cons, which you’re probably already familiar with. One of the major criticisms of the online model is that we have to pay a fee- usually upfront- regardless of whether we sell our property or not. Meanwhile, traditional high-street agents only charge a fee, a substantially greater fee in comparison, once the property has been sold.

For all intents and purposes, that’s a pretty good reason not to use an online agent, even if they are considerably cheaper.

High-street agents 1, Online estate agents 0!

In the spirit of keeping the fight alive, many of the online agents have started to swing their arms a little more aggressively in an attempt to even up the score. Yup, they’ve started offering ‘No sale, no fee’ packages, which means sellers don’t need to pay upfront fees until a sale is achieved.

High-street agents 1, Online estate agents 1!

List of recommended ‘No Sale, No Fee’ Online Estate Agents

Estate AgentRatingDurationIncludes / NotesPrice
Rating
4.7
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
6 months
Includes / Notes

No fee package
  • 6 months marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • Negotiation
  • For sale sign
  • In-person valuation
  • No sale, no fee
  • 13 weeks Sole Agency contract

*YES, Strike will give you a 100% free valuation, and then sell your house for 100% free if you instruct them!

The catch is: Strike currently only sells properties in England, and in two forms. They provide a "hybrid" service (i.e. which includes a local agent and in-person valuation) 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.



For the rest of England, they provide a "virtual" service, which still includes free advertising on Rightmove & Zoopla to generate enquiries and an online property valuation report.

Price*FreeInc VAT

Free
Visit WebsiteBook Free In-Person Valuation
Rating
4.9
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Until Sold
Includes / Notes

No Sale, No Fee package
  • Until Sold marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Negotiation
  • No sale, no fee
  • 12 weeks Sole Agency contract

*£949 for properties in London within M25 (£999 without discount code)

Price £749Inc VAT
Normal price: £799

Discount available
Visit Website£50 Discount Code: Spring
Rating
4.9
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
12 months
Includes / Notes

Pay On Completion package
  • 12 months marketing on Rightmove, OnTheMarket + more
  • Rightmove Premium listing
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • No sale, no fee

*Must pay £95 non-refundable advance admin fee, remaining balance due on completion.

** Add Rightmove premium listing to your cart then apply discount code during checkout.

Price* £1195Inc VAT
Normal price: £1225

Promo available
Visit Website**Free Rightmove Premium Listing with code: PREMIUM2020
Rating
4.8
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
12 Months
Includes / Notes

No Sale, No Fee package
  • 12 Months marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • Negotiation
  • For sale sign
  • In-person valuation
  • No sale, no fee
  • 16 weeks Sole Agency contract

*Selling fee of £2,999 in a few specific London postcodes.

Price* £1999Inc VAT Visit WebsiteBook Free In-Person Valuation

The Elephant in the room – Strike’s (formerly Housesimple) free service!

Yup, Strike’s (formerly Housesimple), offer sticks out like a sore, and with good reason. They are an almighty exception! They break the “No Fee, No Sale” mould by offering a “No Fee, No Fee” deal instead.

I’ve already covered Strike’s free service in depth, so to cut a long story short, I will say that their offer is legit, there’s no catch!.

Strike will sell your house for free as long as their service covers your area, which is currently limited to the areas I listed above (all north of the country, I’m afraid). If your property is situated in one of those areas, perfect, you can use their free service by booking in a free in-person valuation with one of their local agents.

To check if you qualify for their free service, you can try booking a free valuation to see if your postcode is accepted. If it is, BINGO!

Ultimately, their service is free. You don’t have to pay anything upfront or after your house is sold. If you’re curious to find out how and why it’s all possible, hop over to my in-depth overview of Strike’s free service.

THE CATCH (for everyone that doesn’t qualify for Strike’s free service!)…

If you don’t qualify for Strike’s 100% Free service, or if you simply don’t want to use their free service even if you qualify (for whatever reason), then unfortunately you’ll have to dig deep into your pockets if you want to use a “No Sale, No Fee” online estate agent.

Yes, there is a catch!

With the exception of Strike’s current offer, every other online agent charges a premium for the privilege of paying on completion (i.e. when your property is sold), and that means you can find the exact same packages (with zero extra features and services) for a lot less! The agents really don’t make that entirely clear! Of course, that shouldn’t be surprising at all.

Here’s what the same packages offered by the same agents charge when you pay upfront…

Estate AgentRatingDurationIncludes / NotesPrice
Rating
4.9
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Until Sold
Includes / Notes

Combo package
  • Until Sold marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • Negotiation
  • For sale sign
  • 12 weeks Sole Agency contract
Price £474Inc VAT
Normal price: £499

Discount available
Visit Website5% Discount Code: HomeCPIP5
Rating
4.9
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
12 months
Includes / Notes

Pay Upfront package
  • 12 months marketing on Rightmove, OnTheMarket + more
  • Rightmove Premium listing
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • 30 day money-back guarantee

* Add Rightmove premium listing to your cart then apply discount code during checkout.

Price £595Inc VAT
Normal price: £625

Promo available
Visit Website*Free Rightmove Premium Listing with code: PREMIUM2020
Rating
4.8
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
12 Months
Includes / Notes

Standard package
  • 12 Months marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • Negotiation
  • For sale sign
  • In-person valuation

*Selling fee of £1,399 in a few specific London postcodes.

Price* £889Inc VAT Visit WebsiteBook Free In-Person Valuation

My very initial thoughts? It’s terribly appealing to only pay a fee if a sale is achieved, even if it costs a little extra. I can see why people would, and do, opt for the eye-candy.

But then.

I actually thought about the situation for more than 10 seconds, and I realised… that’s all it is, eye-candy! While I wouldn’t discourage anyone from opting for a “No Sale, No Fee” package, I have to say that it rubs my tits the wrong way that these agents are charging a whole lot more for a package without actually adding a single iota of extra value.

You seem to get the same bang for your buck in terms of service, despite paying a shitload more.

Nope, not even an insulting novelty fun size toy that’s worth pennies to help absorb the blow. Of course, a shitty toy imported from China wouldn’t make me feel any better, but at least they’d be trying. As it stands, you’re literally having to agree to paying nearly DOUBLE if a sale is achieved. Seems like daylight robbery to me.

From the business perspective, I get it. However, from the consumer perspective, it’s bullshit, and I don’t give a crap about the business perspective.

Aren’t they simply saying, “Pay us extra for doing our job, or pay us less in case we don’t do our job”?

Should you opt for a ‘No sale, no fee’ package?

If you only want to pay if you actually sell your property and you don’t mind being temporary locked into a “sole agency contract” (which is something like 99% of high-street agents lock you into), then absolutely. Go for it. You have nothing to lose.

However, my only word of caution is to be wary; do the maths first, because in some cases, depending on the value of the property and which online agent you choose, it can actually be cheaper to use a high-street agent, who provide a ‘No Sale, No Fee’ model by default.

Traditional high street estate agent fees drastically vary, typically between 1% – 3%, some even charge less.

The whole point of using an online agent is to save thousands on fees, so if you’re not doing that, you may want to reconsider your plan of action. Personally, unless I’m literally saving thousands, I can’t see the value in using an online agent. I feel like some of them are getting greedy and losing their way.

The Cheapest Online Estate Agents, are they worth a punt instead?

I recently wrote a blog post covering the cheapest online estate agents (which I highly recommend you read if you’re in the midst of weighing up your options), and it was mostly about the following two agents:

Estate AgentRatingDurationIncludes / NotesPrice
Rating
4.9
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
*Until Sold
Includes / Notes

Standard package
  • *Until Sold marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Negotiation

*99home advertise their "Standard" package for a 3 month term on their website, but they have told me it's actually "until sold" as long as your listing doesn't qualify as misuse. For example, if you massively over price your property and don't realign it with the market value, they will remove it after 3 months.

Price £94Inc VAT
Normal price: £99

Discount available
Visit Website5% Discount Code: HomePIP5
Rating
4.8
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Until Sold
Includes / Notes

Standard package
  • Until Sold marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Negotiation
Price £94Inc VAT
Normal price: £99

Discount available
Visit Website5% Discount Code: PIP5

Yup, you can currently privately sell your property on Rightmove on Zoopla for as little as £94. Mind-blowing, I know. But those deals are legit.

Without entirely rewriting what’s in that blog post, I made the point that you shouldn’t really use an online agent for personal and impeccable customer service (because there’ a good chance you’ll be sorely disappointed), but more so as a vehicle to get your property listed on Rightmove & Zoopla in order to generate leads. That’s it.

So I offer you the following food for thought: instead of splashing out on a ‘No Sale, No Fee’ package with an online agent, maybe you’d be wiser to gamble on one of the two cheapest online estate agent packages, which provide Rightmove & Zoopla listings.

Worse case scenario? You pay £94 – £99 and don’t get a sale.

Not exactly ‘end of the world’ stuff.

So, what do you think?

On a sidenote, I personally favour 99home, because their service is awesome, even though they charge peanuts.

List of online estate agents

If you’re interested, here’s a more complete list of online estate agents, which allow for better comparisons.

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