Whether you’re buying or selling a home, the process of transferring properties can get stressful and expensive. Now, imagine being able to sort out the process from the comfort of your lounge or home office…Sounds great, doesn’t it? Use online estate agents!
Before I go ahead with the list, here’s a brief introduction. Online estate agents are simply the digital alternative to their high street counterparts. Now you ask…”Wait! Then how come I can view properties marketed by high street estate agents online?” Yes, that is true, and it is because the property market has become increasingly dominated by the internet, and people constantly start their search online. However, online estate agents still differ to high street estate agents because there isn’t a part of the process where you have to physically go into a high street location, whether it be to sign documents or express an interest on the property you viewed online.  Now that that’s all out the way, here are my top 5 reasons on why digital beats traditional when it comes to the property market:

1.  Cost

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If you are selling a property…

Online estate agents have the reputation of being more affordable, due to the fact that unlike their high street counterparts, they don’t charge commissions and instead opt for a flat fee. The commission, or “commissery” as hybrid estate agents Purplebricks calls it, is a percent of the property’s selling price. According to the Home Owner’s Alliance, high-street estate agents’ commission traditionally ranges from 0.75% all the way to 4%.

Online estate agents are able to charge a flat fee because they operate with fewer employees, saving them costs, therefore saving you costs as well!

“But you probably have to pay upfront” Yes. A lot of online estate agents require you to pay fees upfront, however, this allows you to budget more efficiently as the money has been taken care of!

If you are buying a property…

Due to the commission, it is always in the estate agents’ best interest to sell a property at its maximum price. Take the estate agent out the equation, now there’s no commission, which allows you to negotiate directly with the seller for a suitable price!

2. Local Awareness

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This one is a tricky one…

Online estate agents are often criticised for not giving you that “inside scoop” on the area you might be planning to buy or sell in. This includes knowing how much the properties in that area have sold for, what has made them sell, or they might have potential buyers in their radar. I do agree that receiving that local knowledge is a good advantage when buying or selling a property, but there are ways around this when using online estate agents.

Firstly, websites like Rightmove and Zoopla allow you to search for postcodes and find out for how much properties have been sold for in that area, when they were last sold, and even how much it has gone up in value!

Secondly, searching online might not tell you about the neighborhood’s latest gossip, but it will surely tell you about the area’s pros and cons, how long it will take you to get to work and school, and any other little details you might want to look up!

Lastly, yes, high street estate agents might already know of potential buyers looking for homes like yours, or the other way around, they might already know of homes that have what you, as a buyer, are looking for. However, Reena Sawraz, money journalist for Wich? revealed that online estate agents sell properties 38 days faster (on average) than their high street counterparts. So they must be doing something right!

3. Convenience

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This is by far my favourite thing about online estate agents. The glory of not having to take a day off work or using weekends to succeed on the property buying/selling process!

Online estate agents offer 24hr service because it’s online! Additionally, if you are conducting house viewings, you can set the time in which you want the potential buyers to view your home, as you don’t have to accommodate to an estate agent’s working hours. This enables you to view or show properties during the evenings and weekends.

4. Vetting Process

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As I said before, buying or selling a home can get stressful. The last thing you need is an unverified buyer coming into your home for a viewing and potentially putting yourself in danger. It is always important to take cautionary steps when showing a stranger your home, whether it is with an online or high street vendor. However, online estate agents provide a thorough vetting process that can be conducted online, and it doesn’t hurt to do your own independent research about the person!

5. The Sales Pitch

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By conducting your own viewings, you can be in absolute power of the sales pitch. High street estate agents don’t know your home, and can only answer questions about what they see, and what you’ve told them, as well as the local area. However, when you conduct your viewings you can talk about your own experience of living in the house! For example, instead of describing the kitchen as spacious, you can describe it as a wonderful social space!

In the end, it is completely up to you whether you choose to buy or sell your home through a high-street or online estate agents, you could even not use one at all! However, don’t make me say “I told you so!”
Read about how virtual reality is affecting the property market here!