Estate Agents: The Advantages and Disadvantages of

Regardless of the value of your property, online estate agents charge a fixed fee as opposed to a commission. As such, they are cheaper to work with. This will often include the VAT but you will do well to double check.

Housing Crisis with letter Fence extreme angle

The downside of the lower prices is that payment is upfront regardless of whether they will sell the home or not. However, there are companies that let you pay a certain percentage of the fee and clear the balance after the sale.

Thus, while estate agents can be a great option to save money when selling your property, it is important to keep in mind the advantages and disadvantages of working with one against a high street estate agent. This will help you make an informed decision on who you should use to sell your house.

Advantages of using Online Estate Agents

  • It is convenient – It is easier to get in touch with online estate agents that are willing to act on your behalf as their call centres are open every day including weekends and evenings hence, they can handle your queries at any time.
  • They do not charge high fees – Online estate agents are much cheaper compared to high street agents. If your property is more expensive then you can save significantly since they charge a flat rate.
  • You have the freedom to work with multiple agents – Since online estate agents do not have a contract term, you are free to instruct other estate agents, online or otherwise if need be.
  • Offers flexibility – Online estate agents can tailor packages to suit your requirements. In addition, you are also able to track the viewings as well as feedback on an online platform.

Disadvantages of Online estate agents

Using online estate agents comes with a number of disadvantages that include the following:

  • Lack of knowledge and stiff competition – Online agents with regional reps may struggle to compete against the high street agent that known the neighbourhood as well as the property market well enough.
  • Too much legwork – Although some of the online estate agents will negotiate for your and take up the role of a middleman in the sale process, others will not. Consequently, handling the communication between solicitors and buyers in the absence of the estate agent’s help can be draining, stressful and time consuming.
  • You are in charge of viewings – When you opt for online estate agents, you must be prepared to do the viewings yourself. Thus, you must be prepared to show strangers around and avail yourself in the evenings as well as weekends.
  • Selling price – Since the majority of the agents charge a flat fee as opposed to a commission, they do not have an incentive to get the best price for you. Consequently, they have a reputation to maintain and will strive to achieve 99% of the asking price.
  • Upfront payment is– If you opt to use an online estate agent, you will not pay after the transaction rather you will have to pay before the end of the sale.

Online estate agents offer services similar to high street estate agents. Even then, it is upon you to research widely and determine if it is the best option for you.


Online Estate Agents: Are they Credible?

When thinking of selling your property, you are predisposed to multiple options through which you can sell your property. Among these are online estate agents.

Selling your property through an online estate agent can save you thousands of pounds. However, the question is can they be trusted to handle such an important financial transaction?

One of the biggest advantages of using online estate agents is the fact that you can be sure to save a great deal compared to the high street agents.

In fact, you can confidently that online estate agents do not charge extortionate fees as the basic packages usually begin at around £400 that is far much less than what high street agents that would charge an upwards of £1,000.


Should you trust online estate agents?

There being no law stopping you from establishing an estate agency either online or in the high street, it is difficult to tell the degree to which the online estate agents are legitimate.

Online estate agents must belong to either of the three grievance bodies that can pursue any claims arising from transactions that go wrong. These include the Ombudsman Services, the Property Ombudsman and the Property Redress Scheme.

Even then, you need to understand that the powers of these grievance bodies are limited hence, it should not be taken as a stamp of approval.

Online estate agents perform the same role as their high street counterparts. However, the difference is in the fact that these agents do not have a physical address rather, you can engage them online. Thus, a good online estate agent should be able to help you dispose or buy property just as a high street estate agent would do. Even then, you must apply extra caution when dealing with online estate agents to ensure that your interests are protected.


Can I Work With More Than One Estate Agent At The Same Time?

When you are selling or buying a house, it is possible to enlist the services of more than on estate agent simultaneously. This is possible because different contract agreements offer different terms allowing you to engage more than one agent, effectively selling the property fast. Check with the NAEA to see if an agent is registered.

Some of the options that you have when working with estate agents include the following:

  • Sole selling rights – When you engage the estate agent, they will charge you a commission for selling your property. With the sole selling rights, you will have to pay the estate agent commission even if you have reached a private agreement with the buyer.


Do not agree to the sole selling rights unless you are certain that you cannot find buyers on your own or you will not instruct another agent to sell your property.

  • Sole agency – With this agreement, you are free to sell your property privately through your own efforts without having to pay the estate agent commission. However, you cannot sell the property through other estate agents.

If you instruct another agent and they sell the house, you must pay the original sole agent their commission as well as the agent that sold the property. To avoid this, you need to ensure that you have a period within which the sole agency will be valid after which you are free to work with any other agent.

  • Joint agency – if you would like to use more than one agent, consider opting for the joint agency that allows you to instruct to agents. Even then, both agents have to agree to it as well as agree on who will get the commission for the sale.
  • Multiple agency – In a multiple agency agreement, you are able to instruct as many agents are you like. Even then, it is only the one who will get a buyer that will earn the commission. The downside of this is that agents charge a higher fee than other contracts. On the other hand, with multiple agency you can be sure to sell the property within a short time.

In general, it is possible to work with more than one estate agent when selling your property. However, you need to carefully look into the advantages and disadvantages of each of the agreements discussed above and only go for what will work for you. Remember, you do not want to pay so much in commissions leaving you with so little for your investment.


Property Valuation: Factors Considered by Surveyors

Property valuation is an integral part of the selling and buying process. Even then, the procedure can sometimes be so confusing hence the need for you to understand the different factors that surveyors take into consideration before arriving at the value of your property.

When surveyors value your property that you either want to sell or buy, they are guided by a set of guidelines that relate to the current state of the property that is in question. In addition, other general factors such as the current demand as well as location of the property are also taken into consideration. When put together, all these factors will help surveyors arrive at a fair valuation.

This is very important because it may determine the mortgage that you can have access to. Therefore, it is extremely crucial to have a good understanding of all the contributing factors.

Property valuation specifics

Whether you are selling or buying property, some of the specifics that the property valuer must look at before arriving at the value include the following:

  • Size
  • Age
  • Wear and tear
  • Fittings
  • Structural improvements
  • Heating/Electrics
  • Room layout
  • Storage space
  • Extras

During property valuation, the surveyor will carry out detailed inspection where he assesses every area of the property including the additional external structures. Thus, nothing is overlooked in the process. He may also take photos as well as measurements to be able to arrive at a realistic value. Sellers may then use the outcome of the valuation to set prices for their property when seeking to sell the property or when seeking a mortgage.

General Factors that Influence the Value of Property

Certain factors are very important when valuing property. As such, they must be included in any valuation process. They include the following:

  • Demand
  • Desirability
  • Location

Other than the factors mentioned above, surveyors also take other factors like the prices of similar property recently sold within the same location and the general attractiveness of the property’s neighbourhood. When you have your valuation, it serves as a gateway to acquiring another property or accessing a mortgage.


Working with Online Estate Agents

Now that you have made up your mind to use online estate agents to sell your property, the next big question is which one?

Just like the high street estate agents, there are many online estate agents that offer different packages. If you do not know where to begin, here are some guidelines to help you work with online estate agents.

  • Compare estate agents – It is paramount to draw a comparison between different online estate agents. While at it pay attention to the terms and the packages that they offer before deciding on the ideal online estate agent.
  • Choose your package – Unlike high street agents online estate agents offer a greater choice in terms of the service. In most cases, you will have a lengthy list of optional extras from which you get to choose what you like.

Therefore, begin by determining what is important. While at it, think about who will conduct the viewings, handling cash flow issues and the use of latest tech in making the process simple.

  • Expect essentials – Regardless of the agent that you will opt to work with, always ensure that you go for a package that includes photos, floor plans and a listing on the property portals.
  • Be sure to understand the jargon – It is important that you understand what you are paying for. Therefore, ensure that you seek clarification on any jargon that you may not understand. You can make use of the web chat facilities offered by the online estate agents. You may also consider calling them if you can.
  • Work out and add on the VAT – In most cases, estate agents both online and high street will not include VAT in the prices they quote. This is because it makes them appear cheaper. This should not trip you up instead ask the agent to give you a price that includes VAT. This way, you will have a full picture.
  • Ask about contracts – Most online estate agents do not have contractual agreements. Thus, you can advertise through them until you are able to sell your property. Therefore, check of there is a contract and the time limits before signing up with them.
  • Negotiate and save – Although online estate agents are generally cheaper compared to the high street estate agents, it does not mean you cannot negotiate and save even more. Take time to negotiate with your online estate agent. Remember, they do not want to lose your business thus you can be sure to reach an agreement.

It is important to ensure that you draw a comparison between different online estate agents so that you can make an informed decision. The right agent is the one that promises to deliver against all the criteria that you have set aside at the right price.

Online estate agents are as important as the high street estate agents. Even then, you need to ensure that you do a thorough background check taking into account all the factors that would affect the amount that you will receive at the end of the sale.