The average UK high-street agent charges £4200, while the average online estate agent charges £500! But which online estate agent should you use?
Find out everything you need to know about Online Estate Agents, including the best options available…
‘Online estate agents’… welcome to the new world of selling homes.
are becoming have become insanely popular with home-sellers because of how damn cheap and easy they’ve made selling property! When you crunch the numbers, their growing popularity really isn’t surprising.
Let me give you a quick taste of how much cheaper we’re talking…
There’s always conflicting percentages being thrown around in regards to agent fees, but let’s say the average high-street estate agent’s charges a commission fee of 1.5% including VAT. On a £250k property, that equates to a £3750 fee! Now, one of the more expensive online estate agent charges a fixed fee of around £900, so that’s a £2850 saving.
Compare the best Online Estate Agents
While there are plenty of online agents to choose from these days, the ones listed below are all hand-picked and highly rated. They will market your property across the biggest UK property portals (e.g. Rightmove and Zoopla) to ensure maximum exposure to prospective buyers. If you’re after more information on online estate agents, skip past the table below!
Please note, the prices shown have exclusive discount codes applied where available. Use the search filters to select which services you require from your online agent. The total prices will automatically adjust and order the agents based on the most competitive price for the overall package (i.e. including the add-on products you require).
Require any of the following?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is needed when a property sold in the UK. They are valid for 10 years, so if you already have a valid one you do not to order another.
The agent will arrange for a photographer to visit your property to take pictures, which can be used with your adverts. Good quality photos are important in making your property look attractive and can increase enquiries.
The agent will arrange for a professionally produced floorplan showing the layout and room sizes of your property. Many buyers find floorplans useful when viewing property details online.
The agent will help to negotiate with potential buyers on your behalf. If you are confident in negotiating then you may not need this service.
For sale sign
For sale sign
The agent will arrange for a 'For Sale' sign to be placed outside your property to attract passer-buyers.
The agent will arrange for a local expert to visit your property to conduct a proper valuation. Please note, some agents offer "free, no obligation valuations"
The agent will send someone to show potential buyers around your property to take viewings. Please note, some agents limit how many viewings they will take, so please read the T&C's carefully.
No sale, no fee
No sale, no fee
If the agent doesn't sell your home, you don't pay their fee. (T&C's may apply, so please read carefully).
|Estate Agent||Rating||Duration||Includes / Notes||Price|
9.9 / 10
Includes / Notes|
Price £94Inc VAT|
Normal price: £99
|Visit Website5% Discount Code: HomePIP5|
9.4 / 10
Includes / Notes|
|Price £99Inc VAT||Visit Website|
I Am The Agent||
9.6 / 10
Includes / Notes|
IATA Essential package
*You need to choose between Professional Photography or EPC. Alternatively, pay extra for the other: £119 for Photos, £65 for EPC.
Price £379Inc VAT|
Normal price: £399
|Visit Website5% Discount Code + Free Floor plan: Welovethelandlord17|
9.3 / 10
Includes / Notes|
Price £449Inc VAT|
Normal price: £499
|Visit Website£50 Discount Code: PIP17|
9.2 / 10
Includes / Notes|
Home Selling Pack package
Price £736Inc VAT|
Normal price: £775
|Visit Website5% Discount Code: NRWTKLSXCY|
9.4 / 10
Includes / Notes|
*Selling fee of £1,399 in a few specific London postcodes.
|Price £889Inc VAT||Visit WebsiteBook Free In-Person Valuation|
9.3 / 10
Includes / Notes|
No sale, No fee package
Price £945Inc VAT|
Normal price: £995
|Visit WebsiteBook Free In-Person Valuation£50 Discount Code: HOUSE50|
Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each agent up-to-date, but you should read the T&C’s from the agents’ website for the most up-to-date information.
Honourable mention [it’s FREE]…
|Service||Notes / Includes||Price|
I'm going to throw a bit of a curve-ball your way!
TheHouseShop is NOT an online estate agent (like the one's listed above).
Of course, TheHouseShop lags behind Rightmove and Zoopla by a country mile when it comes to website traffic, but they're still a fast-growing solution that generates millions of pageviews, so they're more than capable of generating leads (which many sellers have attested to)! And perhaps that's a testament to big Right/Zoopla are more than anything else, because even if you're puny in comparison, it doesn't render you ineffective.
Disclaimer: I personally think YOU should definietly list your property on TheHouseShop (it's free, so you have nothing to lose), but I wouldn't only rely on them to sell your property; I recommend getting a property listed on Rightmove/Zoopla via an online estate agent and then getting your property onto TheHouseShop to maximise your chances!
Table of contents:
What is an Online Estate Agent?
Online agents have the same aims and objectives as the traditional high-street estate agents we’re all familiar with (and largely loath), which is to sell your home faster than a bag of chips for the most amount of money. Nothing new there.
The major difference is that online estate agents don’t have physical branches/offices on the high-street, which means you can’t casually stroll into your agent’s local branch. Instead, online agents have a website where their services are sold and managed, and a centralised office(s) where the operations are managed, including the telephone support (i.e. the substitute for face-to-face support) for all their customers (the vendors).
Not only does this model mean online agents overheads are drastically reduced, which ultimately means they can offer a much cheaper solution to home-sellers compared to traditional high-street agents, but it also allows them to target the entire home-selling market in the UK (including England, Wales & Scotland), unlike the traditional high-street agent, who are generally limited to the local market.
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 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 and take the viewings with the prospective buyer, and then typically negotiate the sale between themselves (although, some online agents will negotiate the sale price). It’s 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 type is the 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…
What is a Hybrid Estate Agent (and how they differ from Online Estate Agents)?
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 should 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 agent will typically visit your home to undertake a property 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.
That said, I’d be inclined to conduct my own research on how much I think my house is worth, because there have been many cases where the ‘local agent’ has been way off the mark! Here’s a guide on how you can valuate your property.
Your local online agent can also take the viewings, but it usually comes at an extra cost (approx £250 on top of the basic package price).
That’s the fundamentals 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!
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.
The successful emergence of the online estate agency model has acted as a disruptor throughout the sector because it offers a more affordable and customer focused option to homeowners.
High-street estate agents typically charge anywhere between 1-3% 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, £500 fixed-fee, it suddenly becomes clear why these websites are taking off. If anything, they’re worth a punt!
There is of course another advantage of using an online agent, and while it’s rather subjective, it’s been a genuine 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 of being lying and thieving bastards (don’t shoot the messenger!), or because they’ve been scorned in the past by their scrupulous and grease-ball antics. Many other folk simply don’t want the complication of the middle-man, particularly when the middle-man is an estate agent. An online agent solves this particular problem by giving the control and power to the vendor directly.
Bye-bye greasy agent!
So, should you use an online agent? I honestly can’t answer that for you, but if you’re still uncertain after you’ve read this entire blog post (yes, I know, it’s long… but worth it!), I recommend jumping over to my ‘Should I use an online estate agent?‘ blog post, where I’ve thrown the question under the microscope – it may provide you with the answer you’re searching for.
Online Estate Agent Savings Calculator
Ok, enough talk, you just want real numbers! You want to know exactly how much you can save by using an online agent, because money talks! No probs, I’m with you.
Use the calculator below to find out how much you can save by using an online estate agent…
What’s your property worth?
You could save approx:
with an Online Estate Agent
Savings based on an estimated traditional estate agent charge of 2% + VAT of the overall property price and the average Online Estate Agent fee of £600 inclusive of VAT.
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, 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, many of us 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.
Just to clarify, I’ve sifted through a whole bunch of online agents and only listed the one’s that have a TrustPilot account with respectful ratings.
The Extras e.g. Professional Photography & EPC’s
First things first, by law you will need an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) to market your property for sale. It’s not optional.
Many of the more expensive sales packages will include one as part of the deal, while the cheaper ones will give you the option to buy one as an ‘add on’ product during checkout. They generally cost anywhere between £60 – £100
Alternatively, you can just independently source one by using a local supplier; simply Google “EPC [insert your area]”, and plenty of options should become available.
In regards to professional photography and floorplans; similarly with the EPC’s, many of the more expensive sales packages will include one as part of the deal, while the cheaper one’s will give you the option to buy a photography package as an ‘add on’ product during checkout. And again, you can Google for local suppliers.
But of course, professional photography and floorplans aren’t a legal requirement, so it’s up to you whether or not you want to splash out.
Professional photography typically has a positive impact on the enquiry rate, so I personally think it’s a wise investment.
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. Just 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).
Is there anything I need to be wary of when using online estate agent services?
They’re still “estate agents” after all :)
An online agent is a cool option to save a significant amount of money when selling your home, but just like any type of agent, it isn’t an infallible option without its bear traps, so I don’t want you to think otherwise. But if you do, allow me to humanise the concept…
While the following points may not apply to all online agents, they are real things you should be wary of before choosing your agent! Needless to say, doing your due diligence is a bloody must so you’re not caught-out. To clarify, I’m not saying the following to discourage anyone from using an online agent, far from it actually. I’m simply saying there are areas of caution that shouldn’t be ignored when using any service, and here are those of an online estate agent…
The “No sale, no fee” option
It’s tempting! So tempting.
However, buyer beware!
There are a couple of catches with the ‘no sale, no fee‘ packages. Firstly, you have to pay considerably more than if you were going to purchase the exact same package upfront, which is bat-shit crazy to me! From what I’ve seen, most online agents almost double their fee. In many cases, depending on the value of your house, it’s cheaper to use a high-street agent!
The second catch is that most of the “no sale, no fee” packages lock you into a “sole agency contract” for a set period of time (usually a couple of months). That means while you use their “no sale, no fee” services, you can’t use any other agent until the sole agency period expires. To be fair, I understand why they do that for these particular packages.
The “Pay later” option
NOT to be confused with the “No sale, no fee” policy!
Many of the agents will offer a “Pay Later” option, which typically means you can pay X months later, and it usually has flashing signs saying “no interest” It differs from the “no sale, no fee” policy, because with the “Pay later” option, you have to pay eventually, whether you get a sale or not.
I’ve seen some other nasty tactics tied into the “Pay Later” package. For example, some agents force you to use their Conveyancing partner if you want to use the “Pay Later” option.
The “Pay Later” option usually comes with some uncomfortable conditions which aren’t as transparent as they should be. Yes, of course, paying later is a desirable option, so if you want to go down this route just make sure you find out exactly with the conditions are (if there are any, that is), because the deal may not be as mouth-watering as it seems.
Choosing the right conveyancing company is crucial when selling (and buying) property, because they will handle all your legal paperwork, and they can be the difference between a smooth and catastrophic selling process.
Most online agents will try to upsell their competitively priced *yawn* conveyancing services, but I would urge you to proceed with caution before taking them up on the offer. First, find out who they outsource their conveyancing to, and then do your due diligence (i.e. Google for reviews). Personally, I prefer using a local conveyancing company I can trust, even if that means paying a little extra. Actually, this tip doesn’t apply to just online agents, I’d offer the same advice when using a high-street agents “recommended” conveyancing partner.
Here’s a guide on conveyancing, if you’re interested in learning more.
- Limited marketing duration / No refunds!
The majority of online agents will only market your property for a maximum amount of time (I’ve specified how long each agent will advertise your property for in the agent table above), so if you don’t manage to flog your property by then you typically won’t get a refund. If you wish to continue using the same online agent, you’ll typically have to pay for another round of marketing.
Bear in mind, most high-street agents take a percentage of the sale, while online agents take a fixed-fee upfront (unless you go for the “Pay later” option).
However, that said, and in defence of the agents, if you haven’t sold your property with in 12 months (which is the usual limit, which seems reasonable to me), then there’s probably something fundamentally wrong with what you’re trying to sell.
While I don’t think there’s anywhere near enough protection for buyers or sellers when they’re dealing with estate agents, it still maybe of comfort to know that Online estate agents are governed by the same regulations that cover high street estate agents.
ALL estate agents, whether they’re online or high-street based, must be members of one of three government-approved redress schemes: the Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services: Property, or Property Redress Scheme.
Every agent should be clear on which scheme they are a member of, and the scheme should be your first port of call if you have experience any problems.
Online-only agent Vs Hybrid, which one?
Yeah, good question.
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.
A practical look at the differences in process
Please note, the following is just a generalised example. Before choosing an online agent to sell your property, I recommend finding out their exact process!
|Step||Description||Online Agent||Hybrid Agent|
Online Property Valuations
Use an online tool (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 a few hundred pound for their service, but the price can depend 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.
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 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 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 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 of 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 in a very strong market, where supply cant keep up demand, so the product will sell it self. The sales pitch will mostly boil down to showing prospective buyers around the property, and answering a few questions about the property.
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. Personally, neither online or hybrid option seems particularly painful to me.
However, the differences between a high-street agent and an online estate agent should be glaringly obvious at this point- there’s clearly more leg-work required when selling privately, and that’s something you may want to consider if you’re asking yourself: Should I use an online estate agent to sell my house? What do I think? I’d do the leg-work myself and use the money I saved on a long and deserved holiday.
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.