Friday 2 March 2018

Finance Fridays – Online Estate Agents

Online Estate Agents
We were looking at funeral costs for last week's Finance Fridays. This week our attention turns to online estate agents. They have been around for several years now but many people are still unsure about dealing with them. If they don't have a physical office and don't charge commission how do they operate and make money? Let's see how online estate agents work.

I want to sell my house. How do I contact them? - Online of course. Head to their website and fill out their contact form to arrange a valuer to come out and evaluate your property.

Where will my property be advertised? - On the estate agents own website plus any other property websites they subscribe to. Most will include a 'For Sale' board in their standard package.

How do they make money if they don't charge commission? - Most online estate agents are cheaper to sell through as they don't charge the seller commission on the final selling price. By not having a retail office they save money straight away. Rather than charging commission they will have a fixed fee price for marketing the property. Therefore you will need to pay an upfront fee before had any interest in your property. Some people say this gives them little incentive to sell your property while others argue they have a reputation to maintain and work hard to turn over properties as quickly as possible.

Many online estate agents have different levels of packages that you can opt for. A basic package will be cheaper because you may need to provide your own photographs and floorplans. You may also find your property isn't listed on all the websites available. A higher priced package will include this and also assist in viewings. Some online estate agents charge for every viewing that is made through them. I have also seen online estate agents who insist on you using their conveyancing solicitor. This costs extra on top of the standard fee and if you don't use them you have to pay an op-out fee.

Are they good value? - If they sell your house quickly you could save a lot in commission. In some areas properties will need very little input from an estate agent so will naturally sell quickly. However in other areas an estate agent based in a local office will have a list of potential buyers ready and can arrange extra viewings and open days. In these cases the extra money paid in commission will be worth it. If you don't sell your property or charge your mind then you could lose hundreds of pounds if you have paid an online estate agent upfront.

Have you used an online estate agent to buy or sell a property? Would you recommend using one?

If you want to join in with this week's Finance Fridays then add your link to the linky below. Any post concerning financial matters is allowed. Full details here. It doesn't have to be published today as you have until 23.55 on Tuesday 6th March 2018 to join in.

Finance Fridays

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