Online Agencies are here to stay – Sussanne Chambers assesses the rise of online estate agency

One of the changes in estate agency that seems to have come to the public’s consciousness this year is the rise of the online estate agency.  The TV screens have been filled with adverts for the new breed of online agencies. Statistically online agents account for just six percent of the market. However their market share increased by over 60% last year and predictions are that by 2020, just two years away 20% of all sales will be completed by online agents. I see some areas of estate agency moving towards this model as technological advances enable people to instruct estate agents online and list their properties themselves.

I personally think there is still room for the traditional estate agent and believe that they offer a great level of service, however for some properties the online model will work well.

So how does an online agency work?                                               

There are two types of online agency available, Model one you pay a fee and you take photographs of your property and list it online and write a description about your home. Personally I am not keen on this model as photographs can be of poor quality and it can be tricky writing an accurate description of your property yourself.

I prefer the second model where you list your property for an upfront fee. However the online agent will send a property expert to come and take photographs and value the property. The agent will then list the property for you. Usually creating a more professional finish and a greater opportunity to present the property well and achieve a sale.

Once the property is listed then it is over to you! You will conduct all the viewings and negotiate the sale of the property.

So how is this different from traditional estate agents? With the traditional estate agents you can pay and upfront fee, or their commission will be paid from the sale of the property. The agent will as with the second model of online agencies visit the property, complete a market appraisal, take photographs and write a compelling property description.  Once they have received the instruction they will get to work, speaking to people on their mailing lists, property investors and possibly depending on the property, developers.

Most good estate agents will conduct the viewings for you, getting individual feedback from each person that has viewed your home. They will subsequently arrange second viewing and negotiate the best offer they can get for you.

Once the offer has been accepted the agent will really get to work, ensuring that the sale proceeds without problems. They will liaise between vendor and buyer, the solicitors and conveyancers. Sadly it is at this stage that many property sales collapse, the average number of sales that do not complete is over 30%. A good agent will however keep the sale all on track to a successful completion.

I genuinely believe online agencies are here to stay, however it depends on the person selling the property and the type of property as to which service online or traditional agent will provide the best route to market.

Written By Sussanne Chambers, HomeXperts Founder and Managing Director

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