QWith the arrival of online estate agents, surely the days of the traditional high street agent are numbered?
AThe short answer is no. Of course, you’re probably thinking, ‘Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?’ But I mean it. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the future for good traditional agents is as rosy as ever.
Of course, the irony is that the advent of the internet revolutionised property marketing for all of us. We are all ‘online agents’ now – except that some of us also have a nice convenient high street office staffed with real people to whom you can talk face to face.
And that’s the key. Granted, if you only focus on the difference in fees, then you might think using an online agent is a no-brainer. But, the fact is that there is a whole lot more to successfully selling your home than simply advertising it on the internet. Indeed, finding a buyer is only the start of what a good agent does for his, or her, clients.
And while most online agents will claim to do everything that a good high street agent does, the brutal truth is that the low fee model only works if you do the bare minimum.
In any case, don’t forget that around a third of all property sales fall through for one reason or another.
And while a traditional agent – who only gets paid when a property actually changes hands – will be right back on the case, the online agent has already had his upfront fee, thank you very much!
Again, you might think I’m just talking my own book. But time and time again, one hears stories about the poor service offered by online agents in practice.
Only recently, one of my own vendor clients told me about a house he had seen advertised with an online agent – but when he rang to ask for more information, the person in some call centre miles away wasn’t able to help him at all. It really was a question of ‘The computer says ‘I don’t know!’’
Obviously, it’s not impossible to sell your home through an online agent.
And you can always dismiss everything I’ve said on the grounds that I’m hopelessly biased. But just ask yourself this simple question. If online agents do such a good job and offer such great value, how come so few people use them?