Should I choose an online or high street estate agent?

It's already 2022 and you may be deciding whether to sell your home online or with a high street agent. In this piece, we look at the differences between the two and compare the pros and cons of each. 

Is it worth using an agent at all?

Let’s be honest; selling a property can be tricky and time-consuming – but a good agent can be critical to reducing your stress levels when selling. A good agent will talk you through the steps and help you move, smoothly. In fact, according to Zoopla, around 99% of property sales are completed with sellers using estate agents. This just goes to show that agents are experts in their fields. After all, they’re the ones trained in how to sell a property – not the owner.

Which has lower fees?

If you sell your property with an online agent, you will likely have to pay a fixed fee. Fixed fees are often charged up-front, so you will have to pay the same amount regardless of how long it takes to sell your home. Even if your property doesn’t sell, you could still be expected to pay the fee. 

If you sell your property using a high street estate agent, you’re more likely to be charged a percentage of the price paid by the buyer. This is the more traditional method and means the estate agent is only paid once your home is sold. Percentages do vary depending on the estate agent, with most charging between 1-2%. 

What does no sale, no fee mean?

In most cases you pay online estate agents up-front, rather than on the completion of your sale. This means that if your property doesn’t sell and you want to switch away from the online agent, you could lose the fee that you paid.

By taking their fee once your property has sold, high street agents are incentivised to work harder to sell because they won’t get their commission unless you get your sale. You can also build a rapport and a relationship with a high street agent that you can't necessarily do with an online-only agent. Although you'll probably need to chase progress whichever agent you use.

Who offers a better service?

Regardless of the fee charged, you want to be sure you’re getting a good service when you sell your home. Most online agents will arrange viewings and give you feedback on viewings and offers via an online dashboard. Many support with sales negotiation and progression. There is usually an extra charge if you want the online agent to conduct viewings.

By comparison, probably the most obvious advantage of opting for a high street agent, the service you receive will be personal to your property and situation. You will be working closely with an actual person, as opposed to someone online, which provides a lot of reassurance for many when undergoing such a large and personal task as selling a property. High street agents prioritise local knowledge and their local database as a key factor to success. They will also take care of the sale of your property from marketing the property, to finding prospective buyers, carrying out viewings and completing all legal formalities necessary to exchange. 

Don’t take anything for granted: it may be possible to save money selling your home online, but it’s important to understand exactly what services you’re getting from the start, and to read the small print so you avoid any nasty surprises.

Your decision

When making your decision, it’s vital you consider all of your options. It’s likely your choice will be impacted by your personal circumstances, so you need to be sure your sale works for you. 

If you’re serious about selling, a great place to start is finding out how much your home is worth. We can give you a valuation of your property in less than 60 seconds.

Find out how much my home is worth