Could I start an online estate agency?

Once upon a time people used to stroll up and down the high street searching for their new home. They would walk through the estate agent’s door and he or she would show them his selection of fabulous properties.

In 2018, things are much different. Over 90% of property searches start online. Rightmove, Zoopla and Primelocation are your one stop web portals to provide no doubt that you have chosen the best property available to you.

So, with property searches starting online, why would agents need a high street shop front? This was the thought process behind the all new Online Estate Agency brands. Purplebricks, Yopa and HomeXperts Xpress offer a low cost, property sales service for the price conscious vendor.

Like the travel industry, many found the simplicity of online to hard to resist fuelling a surge in the profits of online only agencies. It is said that over 50% of properties sold in 2020 will be sold by online agents*. So, with significant growth in this industry sub sector, could you join the online property revolution?

The simple answer is yes. Most ‘property experts’ working for large online agencies are self-employed. They get paid on commission per property that they list (not sell). With the average agent making £200 per listing, you could expect to make upwards of £2,000 a month working for yourself on behalf of an agency.

Despite this being a liable option for those looking to get involved in the online revolution, you will need to apply and be accepted into these companies, which means you will need previous experience in the property industry. Once more, the title of this blog suggests starting your own online estate agency, something you can’t do working for what would be a competitor.

The latest way for you to get involved online, and in turn start your own online estate agency business is franchising. Franchising allows you to take advantage of a proven business model, established systems and dedicated support. For example, McDonalds franchisees own their branch of McDonalds, but get the signature menu, the branding and the support systems.

Therefore, with online estate agency franchises, you get everything you need to start trading as an online estate agent (including training). You then have to build your name within your area and of course sell properties.

Who offers this and what’s the catch?

Currently, there is only one company that offers a fixed fee online estate agency package. That company is HomeXperts. The estate agency franchise brand was established in 2009 and now has over 35 branches.

Their online arm ‘HomeXperts Xpress’ offers the chance for clients to sell their home for £795. What’s different to other online agents, is that HomeXperts personal agents can upgrade your property package to a full commission service if the online model isn’t working in your area.

As with any franchise, you have to give a percentage of what you earn to the franchisor. In the case of HomeXperts it’s 28% with another 2% going into the national marketing fund. Put simply, this means that you get 70% of the £795 earned from the sale (£556.50), and any additional viewings packages.

HomeXperts also provide training and basic equipment for you to start your online business, aswell as the license to use their property sales software.

However you choose to sell property ‘online’, it is a fantastic opportunity for those that enjoy the people side of property and not the time consuming admin.


Quick reg (franc)