Having local knowledge is a huge benefit of using a high street estate agent, whilst giving you property information, they can also give you genuine and truthful recommendations. Including what the ratings are of the local school, amenities and information on recent sales in the area. When using an online estate agent, you don’t benefit from the quality and reliability of a local estate agent.
Using a high street estate agent also gives you the chance to meet the agent face to face rather than only exchanging emails and phone calls to discuss requirements and queries. This creates a far more personal experience as you are given the opportunity to pop into the friendly office at any time and discuss the progression of the property with the agent, you are not able to do this with online estate agents as they are mostly run in small offices with no high street front for you to just pop in to or recognise them by. Also, this gives the estate agent the chance to give you property recommendations that you may not have considered before, compared to an online agent where limited discussions are mostly held over the phone. Although online agents will of course advertise your property on the internet, a traditional estate agent will get to work before your property appears on the internet.
By using a local high street estate agent, they will have expertise and knowledge in the property market as they have been established longer, this means they are far more qualified at giving an accurate and realistic valuation on properties. Whereas when using an online agent, you may find that the levels of experience and knowledge are not the same when providing a fairly basic, limited service, missing out on unique selling points within the property, they may even value your property inaccurately, leaving you selling your property for a lower price than its worth, or worse, with no buyer at all. Some online agents do have ‘local valuers’, however the likelihood of them having sold something in the vicinity of your property is much lower than that of a traditional agent and they are unlikely to be able to tell you about recent sales in that area and future developments, this means that opportunities can be missed.
It is also important to check that when using an online estate agent, that they are a member of the Property Ombudsman or something similar, as although their website may be impressive, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their service is. If the estate agent is a member it means that you have someone to complain to when the service is poor. All high street estate agents are members of a redress scheme.
A further advantage of using an estate agents on the high street is that they will organise for you, from advertising your property to arranging and taking care of viewings for you, giving you the opportunity and leaving you time to carry on with your everyday life. Also, don’t forget by allowing an estate agent to take care of your viewings, you are benefiting from their years of experience in selling properties to help actively sell yours on a more highly effective and professional level. Whereas, using an online service, although they may arrange the viewings for you, they do not conduct them. You tend to end up doing most of the actual work yourself, for example having to exchange communications with buyers and solicitors could become stressful without an estate agents help, especially if you have not had any experience in buying or selling a property before. Also, when having to negotiate for yourself, you may find that the buyer may be more skilled, leaving you anxious and unsure as to whether you have settled for the right price, using a high street estate agent that negotiates for you, will leave you with a clearer and worry free mind.
Furthermore, with online estate agents having a fixed-price fee, they do not have the same commission based incentive like high street estate agents to get you the highest price possible, high street estate agents will use their skills and knowledge to do so. With online agents charging even if your property does not sell, by using numerous online agencies, the fees could soon start eating into your profits.
The main reasons you should avoid using online estate agents begins with the fact that they usually require upfront fees, meaning that even if they do not succeed in selling your property, you have wasted money on their service. A further issue is that you may be missing out on lots of buyers when using an online agency, for example, there are still many that happen to wander past high street estate agents and like to have a look at what properties are selling or being let, if they see something they like, they can walk right in and have a chat with the agents. Not everybody wishes to use or can use the internet for property searching and therefore rely on high street estate agencies. A further disadvantage when using online estate agents is that when it comes to the time for you property to be viewed, you tend to be left to your own devices showing the clients around. Online agents very seldom offer this service. You may not be comfortable with doing so yourself, especially if you’ve had no experience in the property market before, but it can also make the client/viewer feel uncomfortable because they will not want to point out negative points about the property in fear of offending the owner.