Not surprisingly, a common question we get asked is “how are online estate agents different from local estate agents?”
That’s actually a very easy question to answer: the only real difference between an online estate agent and a traditional agent is that they don’t conduct the viewings.
But then again, it’s often the case that a high street estate agency will send viewers unaccompanied and sometimes sellers will request they do the viewings themselves anyway.
The only other minor differences are that online estate agents don’t have a local window display or advertise in the local paper.
However, since an estimated 97% of buyers look mainly online to find their next property is this really much of a disadvantage?
Also, it’s widely known that the main reason local agents use newspaper advertising is to attract sellers not buyers! Often people will look in the local property section before they put their house on the market, so they can get an idea of who to use. If an agent isn’t there then they’re less likely to be chosen.
So agents advertise in the local papers at great cost so they can be spotted by sellers. Meanwhile, buyers go to Rightmove or Zoopla, etc, to find their next property and then call up the agent to make enquiries.
The advertising fees are, of course, passed on to their clients through higher commission charges – this means that, as their client, you would effectively be paying for the agency’s advertising campaign!