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The Rise of Online Estate Agents

online estate agents

Estate agents, as people, don’t tend to get the best rep which, in itself, probably goes a long way to explaining just why buyers and sellers would rather deal with a computer than a professional. However, it goes further than this stereotype – it’s more about poor service.

In this article we’ll explore this topic further, looking at just why online estate agents are becoming more and more popular in Britain in recent years.


Poor service from estate agents

Perhaps what hit regular estate agents hardest was complacency. For decades, we’ve had no other option but to buy and sell our homes through them, paying large sums of money just for the privilege. It’s unclear what these agency fees often go towards, but it doesn’t seem to aid customer service. That is, customers of regular estate agents are routinely disappointed by the low levels of service and distinct lack of knowledge provided by agency representatives. This is particularly alarming considering the amount we pay for their service.

So, where in particular do we find estate agents falling short?

  • It can be a struggle to find information about the property itself before viewing.
  • The agent in question may not have seen the property before, meaning they might not be armed with a great deal more knowledge than you, the buyer.
  • Some agents can be unhelpful when it comes to the key parts of the deal, for example, the organisation of solicitors and whether the chain is still intact.


What can online estate agents offer us?

First and foremost, online estate agents are a great deal cheaper. That is, rather than paying a 1-1.25 percent commission on the home you are selling, you pay a flat rate of around £1000. This means, if you sold through a regular agent and your home was £300,000, you would be paying upwards of three times the amount of an online agent.

Obviously, the catch is that we have to do a lot of the leg work ourselves, but given the distrust surrounding regular agents, this seems to be something that buyers and sellers alike are happy to do.


A risk with online agents

Although more and more people are beginning to list their property with online agents, there is a risk involved. Namely, when you list your property with an online agent, you pay upfront. This wouldn’t necessarily be big problem, but less than 60% of homes are actually sold through online agents, meaning that that money is wasted. Further, after such a failure, we would likely turn to a regular agent, meaning we would end up paying the greater fee on top anyway.

So, in summary, there are both pros and cons to using online estate agents, and it’s certainly not a decision that should be made hastily. However, if nothing else, they provide a clear motive for regular agents to up their game.


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