Online estate agents: What is the true cost of cutting out the middle man?

10th August 2016

The digital revolution has transformed many industries, and property is no exception. 

The rise in popularity of online estate agents such as Purple Bricks and emoov has stirred many questions around the future of the industry, giving rise to the great estate agent debate - in it’s simplest form “online or offline?”

Yet high street estate agents also exist and thrive online. Houses are advertised on platforms such as Rightmove and onthemarket.com. Beautiful images and videos showcase properties on estate agents’ websites and sales can, if necessary, be conducted entirely via email.

So what is the real difference between the two? And what impact could this have on the sale of your property?

Accurate valuations

Online agents charge lower fees because they cut out the middle man - the estate agent. For your money, you will gain access to an online portal, get your property placed on advertising platforms such as Rightmove, and have floor plans drawn up on your behalf - but the rest is up to you.

Selling a property isn’t always a simple process, and cutting out the estate agent can lead to a number of problems. Firstly, you don’t benefit from a thorough, reliable valuation.

While most online agents do offer a free valuation as part of the deal, they often operate from nationwide call centres, using online data to determine property value, which can often be inaccurate, putting your property at risk of being significantly under or overvalued. 

High street agents will have a team of valuation experts who draw on their understanding of the local property market to offer the most accurate valuation. This is important, as setting the wrong price from the offset could leave you struggling to sell your property. Leaving a property stagnant on the market for too long could also have a negative impact on price and saleability, and you could end up selling it for less than it’s worth.

Tailored advice

Understanding clients’ needs goes further than the initial valuation.

High street agents offer unrivalled knowledge of the local area, which will help to put your property in front of the right people. They understand the local property market, can predict trends in buying habits, and know the best way to position your home to buyers from around the world.

When it comes to showcasing your property's best side, high-street agents can also offer advice from the inside. They will walk around your home with you, recommending ways to add value to your property while helping you to see it through a buyer’s eyes.

If for some reason your property doesn’t sell, high street estate agents know how to ask the right questions to potential buyers to determine exactly what is putting them off. We have found that buyers are much less likely to be honest to the property owner than they are to an impartial agent.The agent can then use this information to help make your home more desirable.

This process takes time, and communication between the agent and the seller is so important. For most people, their property is their biggest asset, and having someone on hand to offer advice and support at each stage of the sales process is invaluable.

Navigating the sales process

High street estate agents navigate the sales process from start to finish, taking a lot of the pressure off the seller. This model guarantees property viewings are accompanied by a skilled salesperson who will be able to answer any questions succinctly, giving viewers confidence in the property, while negotiating the best price.

If you choose the online option, it’s likely you’ll have to do all the viewings yourself, communicating directly with the buyer and negotiating on price, which can become stressful if there are many offers on the table.

For buyers, dealing directly with the seller could be seen as a preferred option because they feel they can get a better deal if they pass by the estate agent, whose primary consideration is getting the best possible price for their client.

While most online agents do offer the option of assisted viewings at an extra cost, they still lack the human connection - a potential buyer is only able to make an offer and provide feedback through the online portal.

Support from offer to completion

Once an offer has been accepted, the online agent’s job is more or less complete. They will be able to recommend conveyancers and their call centre staff will be there should you have any questions, but it’s unlikely they will follow up with more than a few automated emails, particularly to the buyer.

A high street estate agent’s job is not finished until the point of completion, and we have found that the time between sale and completion can be the most uncertain. As a result, we regularly check in with the solicitors on both sides to ensure they are held accountable to time commitments, and provide support to the buyer, as well as the seller.

During this period, there may be long and complicated chains that will also need expert navigation. Having someone experienced to deal with this could prove an integral part of a successful sale.

Of course we are biased, but we have found that a mixture of the two worlds - online marketing capabilities with offline customer care - is the winning combination.

Our stats speak for themselves. Last year we achieved over 99% of the asking price on all of our properties sold, and we believe this would not have been achievable had our people not consistently gone the extra mile for our customers, both online and offline.

 

 

 

Testimonials

  • We were delighted with the service received from all the staff with whom we had contact,

    Dr Crichton The Ridgway

  • Paula's role was brilliant. Having someone office based and available was so appreciated and her promptness an impressive service - every Estate Agent...

    Ms Wynn-Jones Baxter Street

  • Sharon was excellent - kept us well informed, thank you so much!

    Ms Waters Cowley Drive

  • Thank you. We found all the staff knowledgeable and really pleasant to deal with. 

    Ms Ansloos Lewes Road

  • Graham Griffin provided us, and continues to provide us, will all-round excellent advice. We trust his knowledge and expertise.

    Mr Blackmore & Ms O'Sullivan Financial Services

  • The staff were very helpful, an excellent service. I would recommend you to others.

    Miss Hockly Fiveways

  • Good team. Straightforward. No nonsense.

    Mr Standing Newmarket Road

  • Sharon was excellent, she kept us informed at all stages and was a really calming objective influence in the process.

    Ms Frederick Channel View Road

  • Please thank Paula at Lewes Road - Excellent service. 

    Mr & Mrs Nuthall Lewes Road

  • Very, very happy we chose you, felt right from the start! Thank you!

    Miss Blackadder Coniston Court, Holland Road

  • Quality advice about when and how to sell, which was spot on. Thank you.

    Miss Coleman Buller Road

  • I have bought and sold 7 properties, and this was the best experience of an estate agents services I have found.

    Mrs Shepherd Hertford Road

  • I found the service to be courteous, friendly and efficient.

    Mr Upton Buller Road

  • Sharon, Harvey and James were all excellent - very professional. Totally opposite to what I have experienced with other agents. Maslen have restore...

    Ms Lyons Woodingdean

  • Very helpful and patient team.

    Mrs Shea Selborne Place

  • Fantastic service. By far the best agents we have ever used, I cannot recommend you highly enough.

    Mr Field Mafeking Road

  • I wish we had used you to sell our property! Nice to meet honest people, who are genuinely interested in helping. Very pleased.

    Mrs Porter Taunton Road

  • Paula was absolutely amazing!

    Mr & Mrs MacKay Lewes Road

  • Very impressed with the efficient and friendly service, the staff were a pleasure to deal with. 

    Mr & Mrs Gill Lewes Road

  • Paula was fabulous and we felt really informed and supported. 

    Mr & Mrs Walker Lewes Road

  • The whole team were very committed from start to finish.

    Mr Pilgrim Lewes Road

  • It was an amazing experience, everyone involved were fantastic. 

    Mr & Mrs Knight Woodingdean

  • Sharon and her team could not have done more in what was a difficult sale. 

    Ms Daly Woodingdean

  • Ben was particularly enthusiastic and helpful. Martin, Paula, Sam and Will are all hard workers.

    Ms Goodey Franklin Road

  • Very good service and communication. Paula was excellent.

    Mr & Mrs Scarboro 1 Pevensey Road

  • Best Estate Agents ever experienced - professional, approachable, competent and exemplary. 

    Mr & Mrs Guest Riley Road

  • Ben and Paula were calm and reassuring throughout a very difficult process!

    Ms Easterbrook Bear Road

  • Very comprehensive and professional. Nice people to work with and highly recommended. 

    Mr Alderton Ladysmith Road

  • I was new to the area and viewed a lot of properties with a lot of different agents. Maslens were by far the best I came in contact with, so when i...

    Mr & Mrs Heer Lewes Road

  • Very professional service. Thank you!

    Miss New & Mr Jackson Buller Road

  • Very impressed with all dealings with Maslen. Paula Carter was in particular very knowledgeable and helpful. 

    Mr McBlane Hove

  • We were very impressed with the Nick from start to finish. 

    Mr & Mrs Smith Lewes Road

  • Paul was absolutely brilliant. 

    Mrs Tasker Fiveways

  • A completely painless experience from start to finish. Thank you.

    Mr Woolven & Mrs Bessant-Woolven Lewes Road

  • Thanks for an excellent service. 

    Mr King Hove

  • From start to finish the sale was dealt with in a thoroughly professional manner.  

    Mr Gibbs Lewes Road

  • As always, an excellent service. 

    Mr & Mrs Field Lewes Road

  • Very pleased with the excellent service throughout. Professional, friendly, efficient and no hard sell. Achieved above asking price. Thank you!

    Mr Witten Lewes Road

  • Excellent Service from start to finish.

    Mr T Mole Cromwell Road

  • Best Agents in Brighton.

    Mrs Field Tarner Road

  • Great service, always polite and friendly. Excellent contact and info all the way.

    Mr Wells Bishops Road

  • The whole team were excellent, each one of them felt like family. Sharon had a lot of sorting to do at times but coped very well, a true profession...

    Mr Vernon Woodingdean

  • Very thorough & very informative.

    Mr Michnowicz Waldegrave Road

  • Thank you Maslens, you were all excellent!

    Miss Jasper Taunton Road

  • Cannot express our appreciation enough of all the efforts made by the Woodingdean team - they were fantastic.

    Mr John Mogridge Woodingdean

  • Extremely efficient. Nick and Paula are excellent. The weekly phone calls were much appreciated. 

    Ms Gray Lewes Road

  • Excellent customer service throughout. I will definitely recommend you, and use you again. Thank you.

    Ms Longley Kingsbury Street

  • Brilliant. Well done to Sharon and the Woodingdean team.

    Ms Curtis The Ridgway

  • Excellent service from the Lewes Road branch. Martin Timms secured a quick sale & at a good price & Paula Carter worked really hard to secure...

    Ms Schulte Bear Road

  • You were amazingly helpful throughout - a real pillar of strength with a very difficult sale.

    Mrs Parkin Fiveways

  • First class service from a first class team.

    Mr & Mrs English The Ridgway

  • Outstanding service from Sharon. James is an asset to Maslens & Harvey was so helpful and polite.

    Ms Cianchetta Selhurst Road

  • A good team at Woodingdean helped us through a stressful time.

    Mr & Mrs Penton Sycamore Close

  • Very pleased with the service. Many thanks to Sharon and the boys!

    Mr Flynn Woodingdean

  • The sale was dealt with swiftly, professionally and successfully. Thank you Maslen!

    Mrs Lincoln Hove

  • The Woodingdean team were very friendly and approachable.

    Mrs Palmer Pitt Gardens

  • We were very pleased with services provided by the Fiveways office.

    Mr & Mrs Sawyer Shaftesbury Road

  • Excellent communication and advice throughout. It felt very reassuring to be in good hands.

    Mrs Brooker Buller Road

  • I would recommend Maslen to anyone. 

    Mrs Tripp Woodingdean

  • Maslens as a whole were really friendly and professional. I have to thank and congratulate Paula Carter for being superb at her job and exceeding m...

    Ms Warren Hove

  • All the staff I dealt with were excellent. Sharon worked really hard to complete the sale.

    Mrs Bent Falmer Gardens

  • Our local office manager, Sharon Wareham was warm and friendly and kept us up to date at all times.

    Mr Hope The Brow

  • Hugely impressed with Ben & his team.

    Mrs Mead Upper Lewes Road

  • Superb service as usual, I would always recommend you.

    Ms S Hike Blackthorn Close

  • Thank you Paul and Archie, you gave an excellent service, as well as Kelly. I look forward to working with you again. 

    Mr White Fiveways

  • Very happy with the service we got from you guys, everyone we dealt with was extremely friendly, professional and helpful. Thanks!

    Mr Brown Titian Road

  • In February 2016 I was looking to buy and sell very rapidly. Competition among buyers at the time was very high. Sharon @ the Woodingdean branch sh...

    Ms Helen Lyons Woodingdean

  • Excellent service as always

    Mr Field Ringmer Road

  • First class service. Friendly and professional.

    Mr Thorne The Avenue

  • We cannot recommend Maslen's estate agents enough.

    Many thanks to Paul, Donna, Janette and the...

    Linda & Les Wigmore Close

  • The team worked very hard over a long period to ensure my sale went through - excellent service!

    Mr Patrick Gladstone Terrace

  • Nick and Paula are total stars! They were incredibly supportive and present throughout. Thank you!

    Miss O'Haire Hove

  • Sharon was amazing! She kept us up to date the whole way through the process. We cannot fault Sharon or the rest of her team. 

    Mr & Mrs Ashley Woodingdean

  • Harvey was helpful and easily reachable at the beginning of the process and Sharon kept us informed and was always happy to help.

    Ms Murch & Ms Mapa Ticehurst Road

  • Very impressive - professional and friendly, both Martin Timms and Paula Carter were excellent at keeping in contact with sensible advice based on...

    Mrs O'Connor Hove

  • Many thanks to Nick. It was an easy process thanks to you! I'm extremely satisfied with how the sale went, great job.

    Ms Mayanobe Aymer Road

  • Paul Wilkinson was extremely helpful and efficient. The only problem was the vendors solicitor and Paul warned me of this. A good transaction all r...

    Mr Lavender Fiveways

  • Service exceeded my expectations overall at all stages of the process - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you. Thanks. 

    Ms Greene Lewes Road

  • All agents at Maslen were extremely helpful and polite from the beginning to the completion of sale. 

    Mr Johnson Fiveways

  • It was a long, drawn out process that the people at Maslen helped me through, without the impression that it was a chore. So extremely professional...

    Mr McLagan Lewes Road

  • Thanks David, all very professional.

    Mrs Flowers Foxdown Road

  • Very pleased with the experience. I would definitely recommend you and use you again.

    Ms D Edmonds Horton Road

  • Thank you for everything!

    Ms Tucker Willow Close

  • Exceptional service throughout the process - should we decide to sell in the future we wouldn't hesitate to use your agency. You're a cut above the...

    Ms Windels & Mr Barham Fiveways

  • Already recommended you! Thank you.

    Mr Edwards The Ridgway

  • Very impressed with the service. Sharon Wareham works tirelessly, very professionally and is always there for advice. 

    Miss Matthews Kipling Avenue

  • An efficient, professional and friendly service. Helpful and a pleasure to do business with.

    Mr Beddington Brading Road

  • All very professional, kept updated throughout. Very pleased - Would recommend. 

    Mrs Hammond Hove

  • Paula is amazing!

    Ms Aspnall Gladstone Place

  • Compared to your rivals, your service was excellent

    Ms McGrigor Milner Road

  • A very positive experience - I had most contact with the Fiveways office and they were so friendly and helpful.

    Ms A King Balfour Road

  • A really good experience.

    Mr Tibble Lewes Road

  • Sold within 2 weeks for asking price "excellent!"

    Mr Grundy Bishops Road

  • A very committed team who made the sale process very easy.

    Ms Rees Ticehurst Road

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