Local Estate Agents vs Online Estate Agents: Getting You The Sale

04/05/2018

Putting your house up on the market is not always a simple process. It involves a lot of decisions, considerations, fees, and more. Selling your house does feel like a daunting task.

Deciding on who’s going to sell the house for you is one of the things that you need to consider carefully. If you choose the wrong company, it’s very likely that getting the sale will take too long or it will fall through below the price that you wanted. Of course, no homeowner wants either of the two.

It’s true that you can sell your house yourself. However, doing so is a lot of work which makes it a not-so-desirable route to go down. Letting an estate agent do the selling is a better choice and gives you the chance to dedicate your time to more important things — like finding a new home.

But when it comes to choosing an estate agent, you will face yet again another decision to make: do you go with a local or an online estate agent? It can be a challenge to choose between the two, but the following factors should help you decide.

Local knowledge

This is probably one of the biggest advantages a local estate agent has over their counterpart. You see, an estate agent needs to be able to carry out an accurate valuation of your property to sell it. For him to do that, he needs to have very good knowledge about your area, which an online estate agent may not have.

High street agents are also aware of local market trends and pricing levels around the area. Online estate agents though, most often than not, are located in call centres many miles away. This means that they’ll have to rely on research (mostly done online too!) which can be inaccurate.

As a bonus, a local estate agent can also help you in finding a new home if you haven’t already found one.

Pricing

It can be tempting to choose online estate agents based on how low their fees are compared to high street agents. However, keep in mind that cheap doesn’t always mean good quality. In fact, it isn’t most of the time.

What you need to know is that the lower fees that online estate agents are charging have to be paid up front. And even if some online estate agencies offer deferred payment options, these fees are still non-refundable whether the sale falls through or not. With a local estate agent, you only pay the fee if the sale goes through.

Local estate agents don’t have any upfront fees and won’t get paid unless the sale goes through. This means that you can rest easy knowing that your local agent will provide you high-quality services that you deserve.

Viewings

In most cases, you’ll be the one to conduct viewings if you choose an online estate agent. This can involve creating your property advert, managing and responding to buyer enquiries, and negotiating with potential buyers to secure an offer.

Now, you may not have an issue with conducting the viewings yourself but how comfortable are you in letting a stranger inside your house? It’s true that doing so will give you a chance to build rapport with potential buyers to possibly speed up the sale. However, the fact remains that many are not okay with the idea of letting someone they don’t know inside their property.

A high street agent though will have all of these tasks covered for you. That includes providing you tips on how to make your house more appealing to potential buyers. And yes, they will also accompany you and the potential buyer during viewings.

Communication

Local estate agents are easy to deal with since they’re likely to be located in or near your area. This allows for an easy and more personalised way of communication which is crucial when selling your property. If something goes wrong, you know that your local estate agent has got your back.

Communication with online estate agents is also easy. After all, they’re just a phone call or a chat away. However, the people you talk to are usually located in national call centres. It’s very likely that you’d be talking to a different person every time you call about an issue or an update. And that’s not very reassuring and potentially annoying on the part of the seller.

Honesty and transparency

This is not to say that online estate agents will trick you into paying more. However, it’s your responsibility to check what services are included in the package that you’re getting. High street agents will have their cards laid down from the get-go — that includes any fees once your property has been sold.

More often than not, items such as floor plans, professional photographs, and especially after sales support; are not included with online estate agents. If you want to have them added, you’d have to pay additional fees.

Credibility

It’s very easy for anyone to have a website built and call themselves estate agents. But the big question is, are they qualified?

There may be people inside an online estate agency’s national call centre who have credentials but what about the rest? A local estate agent will give you peace of mind knowing that the person selling your house is qualified for the task at hand.

If anything, being an estate agent is easy but what’s difficult is standing out from the rest of the crowd. That is why a local estate agent will most likely be a member of a professional trade association such as the National Association of Estate Agents or the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.

A local estate agent will also be a member of an accredited ombudsman service like the Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services: Property, or the Property Redress Scheme.

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