High Street Agent or Online Agent?
Full transcript below:
Alex: A recent poll of the general public put 91%, quite impressive, of those individuals backing and supporting the work of the traditional high street agent. Only 9% of those asked had a poor or very poor service. You may have heard as well of these newcomers to the property sale scene and these are what are termed the online agents. You may have heard of the likes of Sarah Beeny’s, Tepilo, or indeed Emoov. And where these companies are different is whereby they don’t have a high street presence at all and they ship out all the daily estate agency activities, conveyancing and lending out to a big call centre. And whilst they are then able to substantially reduce their overhead and pass this onto the home seller, they can entice you to come onto their website for as little as £495 plus VAT. However, is there a catch? If we go back to this poll, the three key areas that the general public felt the traditional high street agent won over every other possibility and these were; the estate agents ability to negotiate was the absolute rime winner in this category. The traditional agent, that is what you’re investing into, tat is what you are buying into. In comparison the online agents on the most part leave you to it. As the homeowner or vendor, you are on your own. It’s up to you to negotiate the best deal for your property. But, at the end of the day who’s done those sort of negotiations before? Very few. High street agents were also praised for being contactable. Whether it’s by email or phone, that is what the public supported and whilst with the online agencies of course they can be there 24/7, it is part of a very big scheme. You are calling a call centre. Now, when you are selling one of your prize assets you need to be speaking with someone particular, not a generalised call centre so you’re very unlikely to speak with the same individual and have that continuity and rapport. The third option is carrying out accompanying viewings. A traditional agent, that’s what they’re known for, they’ve got support staff to do this as well, who will get to know the property and sell it at it’s very best. Online agents by comparison, they don’t do this. Again, as a homeowner and seller, again on your own and you are eft to sell the property, but again have you got the experience to do that and to sell your property to its best? Maybe, but on the most part maybe not. So, at the end of the day in summary I feel that the online agents, yes of course there is a market for them and I think they will be initially restricted to the lower end of the market were finances and budgets are under greater scrutiny and I can really see the appeal of them. But once you start getting into the mid-value and even the higher value it tends to be one of your most important, if not the most important asset and for my money I’d always want a traditional high street agent on the case and on my side. I can see him, I can walk into his office, I know him, and I see him in the street. At the end of the day as they say, you can’t call a website.