Are Estate Agents Worth Their Money?

December 2016

Join property concierge Alex Goldstein whilst he discusses the hot and at times controversial topic of whether estate agents are worth their money?

What is the difference between online and high street agents, plus why such a price disparity? What do you pay for with a high street agent and when does an agent really come in to their own?

Property tips, tricks and industry expert advice, from one of Yorkshire’s most renowned property consultants

Are Estate Agents Worth their Money?

This month, we’re discussing whether estate agents are actually worth their money. We constantly hear in the news today how an established business sector has succumbed to the age of the internet. The estate agency sector has, obviously, long been involved with the emergence of the internet. Alongside the established High Street branches, and now a new breed of online and hybrid agents, these new startups market themselves as doing everything that the High Street guys do, but for a fraction of the price. Now, what’s not to like? They’re passing the saving onto you, the customer, because, after all, let’s face it, estate agency is just about taking some great photographs, placing it on Rightmove, and sitting back whilst the viewing pour in. Right. That is completely wrong.

Putting a property online is only a small fraction of the story, and, let’s face it, anyone can upload anything to a website nowadays. So what are you paying for when you go to a High Street agent, and why this price difference? As I think of it, it’s a common misconception that an estate agent’s fee is just put toward marketing and flash offices, which is what the online and hybrid agents would have you believe, but getting a property marketed and under offer, that is actually the easy bit. The real work and value comes once an offer is made, ultimately leading toward what actually matters, and that’s exchange of contracts. That is the key to great estate agency.

Like myself, many of the established High Street agents have spent years on the job. We instinctively know how to read a situation, manage people’s emotions, and predict what issues could occur before they actually crop up. Being face to face with a buyer, or a seller, is crucial in helping to avoid and preempt problems down the line. Property, at the end of the day, it’s a people business. A good estate agent never lose sight of this, being proactive for their client right up until the point of exchange.

As a recent client of mine said to me the other week, “Online hybrid agents, they can find you a buyer, but, after that, you’re very much on your own.” Your sale is passed to a large, faceless call centre where conversations are scripted, your file is flipped around between several teams, and they don’t know who you are. So, if there’s a problem, you’re probably gonna find out too late, and there’s very little on hand support to help you deal with it. And, all this comes after you’ve already paid them, because some online agents take their commission from you upfront, so their incentive to keep working on your behalf completely vanishes.

For most of us, our house is our most valuable asset. We invest time, love, and energy creating a home that we treasure. We work tirelessly towards the day many of us dream of, that hallowed moment when we pay off our final mortgage installment, and, when we come to sell our homes, we hope our efforts are gonna be handsomely rewarded. And, whilst there’s certainly a market for the online hybrid agents, the key to great estate agency is being personally on hand, visible, experienced, and proactive. Currently, as I sit, the High Street agents have this corner covered, but time will, of course, tell.

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