Traditional Estate Agent vs Online Agent – who wins?
In a recent poll, an impressive 91% of the general public gave their support and backing to the service of traditional estate agents.
The vast majority of those surveyed described their experience with agents as excellent, good or average. Only 9% had a poor or very poor experience. Many felt that agents added value to the sale and deserved their fees, through their negotiation skills by securing the best offer and terms for the property seller. Another positive highlighted was that the agent’s were on hand to assist with any queries that the vendor had and accompanied viewings where required.
There is a lot to be said for this, bearing in mind that selling a house remains one of the most stressful life experiences a person can go through.
By comparison, there has been much talk lately of the newcomers to the property sales sector – namely the online agents such as Tepilo, Emoov and Purple Bricks for example.
These types of agencies set their stalls out to be the “disruptors of the traditional high street estate agency model”. By slicing their overheads in avoiding a high street presence and transposing daily runnings and legal conveyancing to large scale call centres, they feel able to pass the savings on to house sellers, by enticing them to list their homes on their sites from as little at £495 plus vat.
Whilst on the face of it, this seems to be a great deal for home owners by offering a cheap alternative, the online agents have failed to do the most important thing when selling any product – and that is “to listen”.
The recent poll by Agents Giving fed back that the public still overwhelmingly favour traditional agents, due to:
1) their ability to negotiate the best offer terms
2) by being contactable
3) carrying out accompanied viewings
By contrast, the online agents start to come undone on these points as:
1) the negotiations are often left to the home owner to carry out
2) although many are 24/7 operators, as a home owner you are unlikely to be able to talk to the same individual in the call centre each time you ring
3) vendors are left to often accompany their own viewings
Whilst there is undoubtedly a gap in the market for the online agents, this may be confined to the lower end of the market, where finances are under greater scrutiny. Traditional estate agents are still the undisputed winners, as they can provide the personal touch that can only be provided by having agents operating locally, which is what the market currently demands.
If I was selling one of my most important life assets, I would want to have sight of my agent in knowing that he was responsible for my sale and was contactable. After all, you can’t call a website!