The six pitfalls of using an online Agent.

The six pitfalls of using an online Estate Agent

Online Estate agents having been making headlines during the last two years with many promising to save owners thousands of pounds compared to using a traditional high street agent. However tempting saving a substantial fee might sound, especially when you factor in legal and moving fees, by-passing a local High Street Agent may prove to be the ultimate false economy. We’ve listed what we believe to be the top pitfalls of using an online agent rather than a traditional high street agent like Slades.

The buyer saves the fee, not the seller

An online agent is unlikely to negotiate hard to get you the best price because they will work on volume. They also lack the immediate local market knowledge that can be used to persuade a buyer to dig that bit deeper. Buyers will also be aware that the seller is not paying an agent commission and tend to use this to their advantage so it is often the buyer who saves the commission, not the seller.

Managing your own viewings can be troublesome

There is good reason why most agents prefer their client not to be present during viewings, buyers and sellers should ideally never meet, not in the first instance at least. When a vendor is present for viewings, buyers can feel like they are intruding and will often spend far less time in the property, meaning they will pay less attention to all its virtues. Honest and constructive feedback can be essential to solving issues when things are not going to plan, and this is less likely to prevail without the intervention of a third party agent.

Your sale is likely to take longer once a sale is agreed

Much of the work that a traditional agent does happens behind the scenes once a buyer has been found. A good agent will pull the necessary strings to ensure a sale continues to an exchange as smoothly as possible by regularly communicating with buyers and solicitors for both the buyer and seller, ensuring everyone involved is regularly updated. Professionals within Estate Agency will speak to fellow professionals but not members of the public – i.e. buyers and sellers, making chasing your own sale incredibly difficult. Chains will often break down and it becomes almost impossible to chase vital paperwork to move the transaction forward at a swift pace. It’s all about knowing who to push, and when to push and only years of experience will teach you that.

Your marketing will be one dimensional and reactive

Using an online agent only gets you reactive enquiries via property portals such as Rightmove. By not using a proper agent you won’t get any local press exposure, social media reach and most importantly local office presence. Lots of buyers will still walk into our offices and there are numerous occasions where we have cross-sold across offices and locations.

Buyers are liars 

This is a famous phrase within the industry, but don’t take it at face-value! One major consideration is the way buyers behave, and this is something that experienced agents drill into their staff from the off. The buying process is a journey and not all buyers will know what they want until they have been shown it. When a buyer states they only have £400,000 to spend, it often means they have a little bit more. When they state they MUST have four bedrooms, they will often buy a property with only three. The buying process is all about choice, compromise and opportunity and it is the job of an agent to decipher this, challenge them through experience and lead them to the right property. Online agents simply can’t do this and it will probably be their biggest downfall.

Who is there for you when things go wrong?

Property deals can sometimes take months and get very complicated, technical and emotionally charged, especially if there is a chain involved. A traditional agent will be talking to other agents up and down the chain and have a holistic view of everything involved in your deal. In many ways the role of an agent is to mediate. Moderate and mentor all the different personalities, pressures and expectations through a complex process.

As Red Adair once said:

‘’ If you think hiring a professional is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur ‘’