Benefits of High Street Estate Agents Vs Online Estate Agents

September 10, 2018

In the last five years we have seen a fast growth in the popularity of online estate agencies operating in the market alongside traditional high street based agents. Inevitably, comparisons are made – both good and bad. Overall, competition in any marketplace is generally seen as beneficial to consumers who now have a wider choice of services available to them – but can the same be said when it comes to the unique business of buying and selling homes?

Although theoretically forcing prices down, increased choice can also make it harder for people to decide what is most suitable for them. While online estate agencies offer attractive prices, there are differences between their services and those provided by high street estate agencies. In some cases, the price you see may be quite different from the amount you finally end up paying, even with a totally legitimate agency. In this article, we look at three reasons why a traditional locally established estate agency could be the best option to handle your property sale:

No Sale, No Fee and No Hidden Costs

There’s no denying that at face value the fees advertised by the online agencies look very attractive compared to many traditional estate agencies but the costs can quickly mount up. While they may vary from one to the next, each of the main online agencies apply terms and conditions to their offers that need careful checking to establish what will be provided and what the final fee will actually be.

Firstly, with an online agency, most homeowners will have to agree to a contract where they pay the fee regardless of whether the house sells or not. High street agencies will not charge until a property sale has been completed, incentivising them to successfully sell your property at the best price. Some online platforms will expect the fees to be paid upfront, whilst others will defer it for 10-12 months. This may mean taking out a credit agreement – not always a good option at the same time as securing or rearranging a mortgage.

Secondly, the initial advertised fee with online estate agents often only covers the absolute basic services. The general rule is if you want more, you have to pay more. In many cases, by the time a seller has totted up all the ‘extra’ services they want that would normally already be included within a high street agency’s services, such as professional photos, designing floor-plans, arranging EPC’s, etc.,the bill can come to similar or even more than what a high street agency would charge.

Local Knowledge

Your local high street estate agent is staffed by a team of local individuals who have years of experience and knowledge of the area and its housing market, as well as established, trusted networks of locally based specialist solicitors, surveyors and other very useful people to know.

Online estate agents are likely to be based in a different area of the country and are reliant on online data to produce their valuations from but usually such information does not detail or take into account regional variations. Some online agencies recognise this gap and offer ‘locally based regional experts’. However, in reality these representatives may cover large geographical areas and still be based a considerable distance from their clients.

Better Customer Service

Traditional estate agents can manage the whole buying and selling process for clients, from the ‘just thinking about it’ stage right through to completion. They advise and guide customers throughout every aspect of their transaction as well as liaise and negotiate on their behalf, taking as much stress out of a stressful situation as possible for home buyers and vendors.

High street estate agents handle viewings as part of the contract, especially if you prefer not to meet potential buyers or simply don’t have the time. Some online agencies will offer this service for an additional fee, but most won’t, making it your responsibility to conduct viewings. Neither are they able to contact third parties, like solicitors, on your behalf, whereas a traditional estate agent can and will do this to keep the whole process moving along smoothly. Many will already have preferential agreements in place to help you get the best possible value from their preferred partners.

Your local estate agency provides a tailored and consistent service, designed around what the customer requires with a single professional assigned to each house sale to ensure vendors always have a familiar name and face to speak to, instead of contact with several different people based in call centres. And it’s not just about getting to know the seller, but the potential buyers too. A high street estate agent spends time getting to know potential buyers and will weed out time-wasters to maximise the chances of sale.

Looking to buy or sell in Shropshire? Look no further than Shrewsbury based Zaza, Johnson and Bath, your award winning local estate agents. Contact us below or call our friendly team of experts today on 01743 248351.