A recent survey by home-moving website Property Road asked visitors who were considering instructing an Online Agent (rather than a High Street Agent) five questions about what they were looking for in an Online Agent. The results made for interesting reading!

1. How would you prefer to pay your Estate Agent?

60% of people who replied said that they would prefer to pay the Estate Agent on completion, not up front. The question clearly stated that upfront tends to be cheaper whereas on completion means less risk yet, despite this, it’s clear that the core model of online agents offering low upfront fees goes against what most sellers are actually looking for and may explain why more and more online agents are now offering no sale, no fee as an option…

2. If you had to pay an upfront fee, how much are you willing to pay to sell your property?

19.2% of people said they would only be prepared to pay up to £100, a staggering 65.3% of people said they would be prepared to pay up to £1000 upfront to sell their home and only 15.5% of people said they would be prepared to pay more than £1000 upfront, suggesting that fees are capped at £1000 for online only agents.

3. If you had to pay on completion, how much are you willing to pay to sell your property?

Paying up to £1000 on completion just edged the biggest share with 35.5% of people. However, 32.4% of people were prepared to pay up to £1500 and 32.1% were prepared to pay up to £2000. That suggests that those wishing to pay on completion are perfectly happy with paying more for the privilege and are somewhat less price sensitive than those preferring to pay up front.

4. Who do you want to conduct your viewings?

Only 27.4% said that they preferred their Estate Agent to conduct viewings for them. However, as most online agency models charge extra for accompanied viewings, this suggests that sellers are happy to have them if they come as part of the package but would not want to pay extra for the service.

5. Which factors are most important to you when choosing an online Estate Agent?

Significantly, most people opted for either the ability to sell properties for their asking price (43%) or the ability to sell properties quickly (35%). Only 9% of people felt that customer service levels or paying lower fees was the most important factor, indicating that consumers attach far more importance to getting the best price for their property as quickly as possible.

What is very interesting is that the online estate agency model was born very much on the belief that sellers wanted lower fees and were prepared to pay upfront to get them. If the results of this survey are anything to go by, this is not true, even for people already considering an Online Agent.

It may also explain why more and more Online Only Agents, both national brands and local brands, are moving towards offering a second pricing structure incorporating the traditional ‘no sale, no fee’ option in addition to their ‘cheap as chips’ pay upfront package.

At ‘Iles & Jenkin’ we believe that the only way to ensure that you get the very best price for your property, and in the shortest period of time, is to instruct a full-service High Street Estate Agent who knows the local market, the local buyers and will look after your very best interests from start to finish.

Thank you for reading!

Sue Iles