The majority of Estate Agents haven’t really changed how they do business in the last 30 years and this includes how much they charge you for selling a property. Fee structures may vary from agent to agent but broadly speaking they charge between 1.25% and 2% of the sale value. So for a house of £400,000 that’s between £5,000 and £8,000 going straight to the agent.
In the pre-internet era, it was essential for an agent to have a high profile in a town, be known to buyers and sellers alike, to be a part of the local community and have a strong local brand. If you were thinking about asking a local agent to sell your property you would want them to have a list of buyers in their card box system looking for a house just like yours. So the brand building required to maintain that database justified the fee.
Zoopla and Rightmove are all you need
In 2015, the Estate Agents aren’t really doing the marketing! Rightmove saw to that, followed by Zoopla. Any agent, anywhere in the country, can put a property on to one of the major portals and know that it will be seen by millions, almost instantly. What an incredible difference to the customer experience, knowing that if you have registered to receive alerts for 2 bedroom flats in Clapham, Cardiff or Chester, the minute one comes on to the market you will receive an email with all the details. No longer do you, as a buyer, need to trawl up and down the streets registering with individual agents. You can cover off that whole process in 30 seconds from your smart phone. Job done.
Not on the High Street
A High Street presence for Estate Agents is no longer a requirement. Nor is a fleet of company Minis! What is required is the ability to track what is happening online. Will your agent provide you with a login so that you can remind yourself of all the viewings that have taken place and the feedback provided by the potential buyers? If not, why not? In 2015 they should be allowing you to wake up at 3am and check out why Mr & Mrs Smith who viewed your house on Saturday decided they didn’t like it. You should already have received an email with that feedback and perhaps a phone call, but you might have forgotten and wanted to check again. We are all busy and expected to retain vast amounts of information – so it is understandable that we occasionally forget things and it is also perfectly usual for us to assume we can obtain that information by following a quick link from an email.
What about customer service?
When you call your estate agent you expect someone to answer the phone. It is not difficult today to use phone systems that pass the call around, divert to mobiles or to an out of hours team. But so often this does not happen. And opening hours – if you are looking online on Sunday morning at new flats that have just come on to the market, you want to arrange the viewing now, not diarise to call the agent tomorrow and mess up your morning at work.
The person best qualified to sell your home is….you!
Once you have accepted that the most important thing is really to get your property on to Rightmove or Zoopla, you will start to realise that there are some interesting options out there to sell your property. The landscape is changing quickly, but if you can answer ‘yes’ to one question:
Are you happy to carry out your own viewings?
…then you can now sell your house or flat for just a few hundred pounds by using one of the new breed of Online Estate Agents. Anybody that has already sold a house through a traditional Estate Agent has probably experienced that cringe worthy moment when the Agent is looking at the floorplan trying to work out which room is which when showing around a prospective buyer. Make sure this never happens again.
Is a traditional Estate Agent really worth £8,000?
Online Estate Agents are so much more than the name implies. They still talk to prospective buyers and sellers on the phone but the big change is that a High Street presence is no longer required, nor is a face to face relationship. As a result, combined with the power of Rightmove and Zoopla, sellers should no longer be paying thousands of pounds to sell their property.
Many companies like AgentOnline.co.uk charge just a few hundred pounds to sell your home and this includes an EPC, photos, floor plans, property details, 12 months on Rightmove and Zoopla and a personal Property Adviser to handle all sales calls, book viewings and negotiate offers. That’s a saving of thousands of pounds! The world has changed, whether traditional estate agents like it or not.