In the London property market most high street estate agents will stick their properties online; not because they will sell faster, but to showcase the type of properties they are marketing. It’s pushing their brand rather than being a winning way of securing a better buyer with one click from a potential purchaser.
In this current market if a property remains unsold then it’s usually because it has been overpriced, although not everything online is overpriced. Increasingly lazy selling agents rely on the internet to bring in the buyers rather than working the phones and painstakingly calling all ‘hot’ applicants.
There’s a belief among house hunters that estate agents charge high fees and fail to deliver a worthy service. Sellers see an online agent offering no commission deals and it seems like too good an offer to resist. The reality is that if you pay your agent 1-2% of the eventual selling price, he’s doing what you paid him to do and you should factor in their fee when you agree the price. The fact is that using an online agent or selling privately will cost more at the end of the process than using the traditional selling agent.
It’s important to remember that the fee you pay your agent includes finding and introducing the buyer, it covers negotiating and coaxing to get the best possible offer from your buyer. Conveyancing is a minefield and a good agent will have a solid working relationship with your solicitor and often an in-house dedicated team to track the process over the sale process. Assuming all the due diligence has been done between the vendor and their solicitor and then the selling agent to push the sale through to exchange of contracts and completion, the agent’s fee of 1% to 2% will be money well spent.
Weighed up against the risk of loss of opportunity when using an online agent or selling privately through not gauging the right selling price, no hand holding or screening buyers, zero negotiation skills and a lack of industry and market knowledge and an unsold property could amount to a far greater cost than a 1% agent’s fee.