While high street agents have been around for years, online and hybrid agents have appeared on the property scene in recent years and are proving to be quite popular, but why?
For a start, online agents are able to charge lower fees – simply because unlike high street agents they are not based in an office, they are solely web based, therefore have smaller overheads, and can afford to lower the costs for their customers. So why do the majority of consumers still choose high street agents? Maybe it’s tradition, our easy guide will help you weigh up the pros and cons of each type, so that you can find the best agent for you.
How do online estate agents work
Online agents operate virtually rather than on the high street and instead of being based in an office in your local area. Online use the power of technology to sell your home – they will carry out each step of the selling process, virtually.
For example – they will value your house online by researching the location, the layout, identifying any modifications, extensions, or updates to the property, look at the general aesthetic and carry out existing market research of properties similar, and around the same area.
Online agents will use technology to market your property – unlike high street agents whose properties will be visible from shop windows, they will advertise your home on online property portals.
And when you have some interest in your property, they will often leave you in control of the viewings, meaning you are more involved in the process and will be able to discuss and negotiate yourself with potential buyers.
The advantages of online estate agents
There are many advantages to using an online agent – such as the following:
- Fees/Lower overall costs – online agents often have lower fees, because they have smaller overheads from things such as physical offices. Find out more about our estate agent fees.
- Full transparency – with online agents, there is usually a lot more transparency and what you see is what you get. For example, with their fees, they will be displayed clearly on their websites including VAT and any other costs involved in the process. High street agents often have a bad reputation which is why online agents are becoming increasingly popular.
- Local agents – Sometimes online agents will have agents working who specialise in specific areas, and despite being mostly online, these can provide a more personal and knowledgeable service to those in their area.
- Flexible hours and therefore more support – There is no closing time online, thereforethese agents do not have to stick to the usual 9-5 office hours, and work more flexible schedules to suit their customers busy lives.
- Control over property viewings – online agents usually hand control over to you when it comes to viewings, meaning you get to interact directly with potential buyers, walk them around your home in your time, answer any questions they have and negotiate offers.
- More control over the whole sales process – online agents give you more control over the whole process, viewings, time schedules, dealing with potential buyers, the list goes on; if you prefer being more hands on, an online agent could be for you.
The disadvantages of online estate agents
As with everything, there are also disadvantages to using online agents:
Local knowledge – while you may occasionally find local agents online, it is rare. Meaning you may lack the personal touch and specialised knowledge from agents who operate in specific areas.
Control and responsibly – for some customers, the control and responsibility that online agents provide to you, could be off putting, so if you would rather the agent handle all the elements of the sales process, they may not be for you.
Add on services – online agents may offer additional packages in order to upgrade your sale process/experience. For some this may seem confusing and prefer the traditional methods of estate agency.
How do high street estate agents work
Unlike online agents, high street estate agents are based in a physical office in a specific area. They take care of the sale of your property from marketing, to finding prospective buyers, carrying out viewings and completing all legal formalities necessary to exchange.
The most obvious difference is that your property will be displayed in a high street window for locals to walk by and see – this is a much more traditional way of estate agency. This and the fact that they will have physical agents specialising in certain areas (local agents). As they will be used to working in the area and have a good knowledge of the surroundings some prefer the idea of a high street agent to sell their home.
high street agents tend to handle most of the sale – they will host viewings and tour potential buyers around your house for you, answering any queries they have as well as negotiating and discussing offers.
What are the advantages of high street estate agents
- Local knowledge of the area they operate in – high streets will be able to offer plenty of local knowledge as they usually operate on local high streets, and therefore have a much better feel for the area that you will be selling in, enabling them to provide a more personal and targeted service.
- Accompanied viewings – when it comes to viewings, high street agents will usually handle them for you, touring potential buyers around and answering any questions they may have, so if this sounds more appealing, high-street agents could be for you.
What are the disadvantages of high street estate agents
- Expensive fees – high street agents usually have higher fees simply because they have larger overheads: having a physical office to run means they have to pay out on rent, electricity and so on, so they have to earn some of this money back through their fees.
- Limited hours – unfortunately, high street estate agents’ hours tend to be quite fixed and limited to the traditional 9-5 business hours, this means that customers who also work those times, will be unable to contact them until weekends.
What is a hybrid estate agent?
As you may have gathered, a hybrid agent combines characteristics of both online and high street estate agents. And this in fact is what we are! Rather than being based in an office in your local area, we have a small team located at the hub of easyProperty, with other members of staff working remotely, as well as our local agents on the ground who are dotted all around the UK – we work flexibly but offer you the exact same service as high street agents and with lower fees!
What should you choose?
When it comes to choosing which type of agent you should choose, there really is no right answer. There isn’t much difference in the service provided by each type so, ultimately, it is down to you, your needs, and your budget. Just make sure you do plenty of research before deciding.
If you’re interested in giving a hybrid agent a try, book your free valuation with us now!
If you are looking for more information on easyProperty’s fees and selling process, please visit the following pages: