29 July 2015
Recently, online estate agents have received increased attention from the media, offering people a new way of selling their home cheaply and quickly.
While it can be an alternative for people who are prepared to wait and dedicate their time, consumers may not realise that it won’t suit those who think they can use it to sell their house faster and with less hassle with any guarantee of sale.
Online estate agencies attract people with:
- Cheap fees of around £500 + VAT
- The “fast” and “nothing to pay upfront” messaging
- Not having to deal with traditional estate agencies
- The idea of “who’d be better at showing people round your house than yourself?”
- Prominent internet advertising
Let’s start with the last point. Whilst people think they’d best placed to show people around the house they’ve lived in for years, there is a lot of work involved.
You will need to show people around a few times a week and, it takes on average 6 months for a house to sell on the open market, so you need to decide whether you have the time to do this. But despite needing to do a lot of the work yourself, it’s the money you save and not needing to pay upfront that’s the draw here.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that with an estate agency there’s nothing to pay up front either! Traditional estate agents are also there to take away the hassle of the viewings and selling the house, which online versions don’t do.
A good estate agent will know how to deal with potential buyers and help put things into perspective for those that need a reality check as to what they can get for their money. While some “fast” estate agencies will claim to sell your house quickly, they do this by encouraging customers to sell at a reduced price to get a quick sale – and on the open market that can be a slippery slope.
If the property doesn’t sell within the first few months, you might need to drop the price even more.
The price history of the property is also saved online for anyone to see, and you’ll have eroded your position when it comes to final negotiations.
A cash buying company:
- Takes all the work from selling away
- You don’t need prepare for viewings
- Most pay for all the fees (including legal)
- There’s no waiting
- You’ll know exactly how much will be in your bank account
- There’s no middle men and minimal chance of a deal falling through
In return for the above, a professional property buyer will make an offer anything from 75% to 85% of the current market value. Yes you sell at a discount – and in many cases this is not feasible.
So do your sums and keep in mind the monthly mortgage repayments, estate agency commissions (1.5% – 2% of the sale price + VAT), legal fees and utility bills. You might find that you’re better off selling at a discount now than selling on the open market at a ‘potentially higher price’ in 6 months’ time.
The fast property buying industry may brush online estate agents off as a business that serves a different end of the market.
However, if property buyers such as us don’t communicate the benefits clearly enough then in the mind of the consumer, we might just be competing – and in the end that’s all that matters.