High-Street vs Online Estate Agents: Which One Is For You?

Every seller wants to sell their home quickly, at the best price possible and with minimal hassle.

While online estate agents have been successful with some sellers, the traditional high-street agent is still the choice for most.  

But if you’re thinking of putting a property up for sale, we’ve looked at the key differences so you can determine which option is best for you.

Agency fees

High-street estate agents will typically charge a fee which is a percentage of the property’s selling price, while online estate agents generally charge fixed fees. An online agent is often much cheaper, especially if your home is of high value.

The main downside of online estate agents’ low fees is that you’ll often have to pay up-front, regardless of your property selling or not. Paying an upfront fee also reduces the agent’s incentive to sell your property for the highest possible price and provide the best service.

Some online estate agents offer the option to pay once you’ve completed the sale to reduce the risk of you losing money, but this is for a slightly higher price.

On average, high-street agents charge around 1-2% +VAT but even good high street estate agents could charge up to 4% +VAT and still achieve a better ’walkaway figure’ compared to selling with an online agent charging a lower fixed fee.

Selling for the best price

While online agent fees are typically less than a traditional agent, a high street estate agent will be able to help you get the best price for your property.

According to The Advisory, 73% of property sales had a better result with the help of a traditional agent and the best local estate agents can achieve a 5% higher sale price than the best online estate agents.

An agent will work tirelessly to sell your property at the right price so that you can maximise profit.

Local market expertise

Established high-street estate agents will have vast experience in the local market. They’ll have connections to the right people and often have a list of keen buyers waiting for the right property to be available.

An online-only agent is likely to use online data to value your home, and hybrid online estate agents will send a ‘local expert’ to provide a valuation. However, these agents are often not clued up on the specific local market.

Marketing the property

Traditional high-street estate agents have come a long way and most are now utilising modern marketing methods such as social media to promote their listings and advertising to target the perfect buyer. 

Online estate agents will list your home on online property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Some will install a ‘for sale’ sign outside your house, however, this will be an extra charge. High-street estate agents will do all of the above as a standard part of their service, as well as place adverts in their branch windows.

And when it comes to viewings, if using an online estate agent, you will have to conduct the viewings yourself or pay for an accompanied viewing.

The overall process

A high-street estate agent fee covers all the necessary work required to successfully sell a property and provide a more hands-on service to make the process run smoothly for the seller.

With an online agent, there is rarely any face-to-face meetings and all communication is done via email or phone however some online agencies offer support outside traditional working hours.

Online estate agents require the seller to do most of the work themselves, from taking photos and creating an advert to handling buyer enquiries, conducting viewings and negotiating offers.

With a traditional estate agent, you can list the property and leave everything to them, whereas with an online agent, you will get a basic level of service and have to put more effort in.  

As you can see, there are benefits of using high-street estate agents and online estates agents. It’s all about picking the best solution for you and your property.

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