What attracts sellers to traditional estate agents over online rivals?

Fri 17 Apr 2015

Estate agent conducts a viewing with a possible buyer of a property

Online agents have become popular by offering low rates for their services, but thousands of Britons continue to be drawn to their more traditional counterparts.

With a huge amount of money at stake and future plans often dependent upon it, selling a property can be a stressful experience. It’s no surprise that so many people prefer an agent at close quarters, particularly when their doors are open for long hours at least six days a week.

Should something go wrong, sellers want to be able to speak to their agent face-to-face, rather than contact someone they’ve never met at a national call centre, as is the case when dealing with some online-only companies.

While you may pay a slightly higher fee for a traditional agent, you can rely on them to achieve the best price for your property as they know the local market better than any online agent. They will also carry out viewings and advise you on offers, using their extensive knowledge of the local market as a barometer. Online firms may also provide these services, but many lack the local expertise that is crucial to achieving the best results.

The marketing of a property is key to achieving a sale quickly and at the best price. Online agents are obviously proficient in marketing on the web, and most advertise on major portals, but that’s where it ends. Traditional agents offer exactly the same services online but go much further in marketing your property in all the right places.

A good traditional estate agent will have a large database of applicants and be familiar with the key buyers in their area. They will select the most likely potential buyers to show your property as soon as it is put up for sale, even before it is marketed online or elsewhere. They will also utilise window advertising, which is a prime way to catch the eye of prospective buyers browsing for properties locally.

Whilst online agents’ low fees are understandably attractive to sellers, most demand payment upfront. In comparison, most traditional agents only receive payment when the sale completes, so there is every incentive to oversee the process with care and attention to ensure it progresses swiftly and successfully.

Low fees will always appeal, but money is not everything to most sellers. In fact, the majority of people realise that selling a property is one of the most valuable transactions of their lives, so leaving it in the hands of an experienced local agent who can get them the best buyer and price is a shrewd move and worth a few extra pounds.