Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in the number of online estate agents but a key question is whether they pose a real threat to the high street agent. Here we outline some the main pros and cons of usings an online estate agent:

Online Agent Pros:

Cost: Most online agents charge a flat fee which is cheaper than using a high street agent. Fees for online agents can range anywhere from £99 to north of £1000

Convenient: Communications are generally run via call centres which are open evenings and weekends. This means that you can get in touch with them pretty much 24/7 rather than high street agents who, in the most part, handle queries during normal working hours.

Flexible: You can tailor your package to suit your requirements. Most online agents offer a basic package with a menu of add-ons for you to choose from. There is also generally no contract period meaning you are free to instruct other estate agents if you wish. There are, of course, exceptions to this for both high street and online agent – so do you research!

Online Agent Cons:

Local Knowledge: A reputable high street agent will be able to utilise the vast knowledge they have of the local area and property market. Online estate agents with call centres or hybrid agents which regional property experts will, generally, not be able to compete with this. It will be very difficult for them to offer the same up-to-date insights that a high street agent can.  

DIY: Compared to using a high street agent, much of the work from viewings to negotiating offers to managing the completion process will be done by the vendor. There are some online agents that do offer a full service but that is not without extra costs being applied and how this compares to the full service a high street agent will offer remains in question. Handling all the communications yourself can be extremely time-consuming, stressful and in the hands of an inexperienced homeowner, possibly quite disadvantageous.

Viewings: Unless you pay online agents extra for accompanied viewings, it generally means you will have to conduct viewings yourself. You will have to be confident and comfortable enough to show strangers around your house and be able to highlight aspects of your property which resonate most with a particular buyer. I have seen online agents state that ‘there is no one better at selling your home than you’, this may be the case in some instances but for others, leaving it to professionals could help bring in the right buyers and get the best sale price.

Sale Price: Most online agents don’t earn a fee on selling your home, they generally charge an upfront flat fee. Therefore, you could argue that there is less incentive for them to achieve the best sale price possible for your home. Just remember, the savings you make on their fee can be wiped out by just a small percentage drop in your sale price.

Valuations: Local market knowledge is key to setting the right listing price for your home. Setting an asking price which is too high or low and unrealistic is a simple way of discouraging buyers. By being realistic, you can attract more people to view your property and develop greater interest in your home. With a high street agent, the person coming to value your home will have knowledge of the area and the market, which means you should expect to get a realistic and accurate price. This will not always be the case with an online agent.

Upfront fee: Online agents, for the most part, charge a non-refundable upfront fee. Whilst this is cheaper than a high street agent, you end up having to pay whether the property sells or not.

Online agents are national, we are not aware of any online agents that cover only the Kent area.  We are your local property search and therefore only market properties in Kent.  We market properties in all towns and villages in Kent: 

Ashford

Canterbury 

Dartford

Dover 

Gravesham

Maidstone

Medway

Chatham

Sevenoaks

Folkestone

Hythe

Swale

Sitingbourne

Thanet 

Margate

Tonbridge 

Kingshill

Royal Tunbridge Wells