Watch any TV programme about house moving or renovation these days, and during the break you’ll be bombarded with adverts about on-line and do-it-yourself estate agents.
They sound incredibly tempting. They tell you that it’s much cheaper with them, and they do the same job as a traditional agent for much less, and so it would seem the perfect solution. Estate agents have got a bad rap over the years, so anything that can “stick it to the man” is a good thing, yes?
For a start, the estate agent does actually do a job. They don’t just take your money and run, they have a vested interest in selling your home – they’re essentially a salesperson working for you.
It’s in their interest to get you a good deal, and so they use all of their skill and training to do that, assuming you get a good one.
But they also have contacts and local knowledge.
The online myth
We tend to believe that everyone is on-line and that we can now buy everything from the Internet. But this is way far from the truth.
In fact, only 60% of houses are sold from an online enquiry. The other 40% are through human to human contact.
If you attempt to sell purely via an online estate agent, you’re missing out on nearly half your potential customers.
What’s more, by not using one, you’re still being seen by that 60%.
Sites like RightMove, Zoopla and others are used by all estate agents.
But is it cheaper?
Not always, but yes, it can be. However, that’s because you have to do a lot of it yourself.
How are you at negotiating deals?
What are your sales skills like?
Do you think you could do it all yourself? Are you the type of person willing to hold out for the price you want or will you cave as soon as the potential buyer says “I want thirty grand off the asking”?
Of course the big issue here is that you have to pay up-front in many cases, too.
I’ve heard many stories of people ending up paying twice simply because the online agent took the money and the house didn’t sell so they had to then ask someone else to sell it.
The online agent had done nothing wrong, they’d done their job, but their job just isn’t as thorough as your traditional agent.
The world is merely adapting
Of course, I’m not going to say everything was always great an happy in the world of real estate, and yes, there certainly were estate agents who maybe took liberties.
There are no legal frameworks stopping anybody setting themselves up as an estate agent. Anyone can simply announce they’re doing it, print some sale boards and start a business.
Although they have to be members of various ombudsmen associations, that’s an easy enough job, and because their powers are limited, it doesn’t mean they can do much in the case of a grievance.
And so, knowing that there have been problems in the industry, the public are naturally wary, and so many will think they’d like to keep control of the whole process and do it all themselves.
And others want the comfort of using an estate agent with everything that goes along with it, but want the strength of a brand. They want to know that the person selling their house for them has been trained, has got a solid backing and can support them when they need the help.
And that’s why the hybrid model of estate agents is now where we’re heading.
Online + offline = sweet spot
If you’ve ever been to a networking breakfast, this following scenario might sound familiar.
Over a fry-up, various people get together to discuss business and pass around leads. People are expected to bring along lead (or potential work) for others in the group.
People receiving the leads will then contact the prospect, but rather than it be a cold call, they have a very large advantage. As well as handing over the lead, they are also handing over trust.
Trust is a huge factor in sales of any kind, and it plays an even bigger role in the sale of a house.
Buying a home is one of, if not the biggest investment in most people’s lives.
It makes sense, then, that people will want to ensure they’re getting a good deal.
With purely online estate agents, there is no inherent trust. Their can’t be, it’s essentially like perusing a catalogue.
A traditional estate agent that has a good brand backing, has experience in the area you’re looking to purchase in, and knows the market can bring with them the confidence and the implied trust necessary to ensure both buyer and seller are getting a good deal.
That’s why here at HomeXperts we look to provide both.
Our training and backup are their to ensure that our estate agents are prepared to help buyers and sellers alike, and by ensuring properties are listed online in all the same places as everyone else, we know we can compete.