Online-only estate agents – the future?

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  • Online-only estate agents – the future?
  • Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Well if this is the future then sales of Mini’s, and sign shops that do vinyl graphic wraps for cars are about to plummet

    Too true … I trust you won’t be hit in the pocket from any dabblings you might undertake with such establishments?

    With sites like Right Move and in most cases, it is the seller that shows prospective buyers around the house, I’m really not sure why unqualified individuals who set up as agents get 1% of the value of your home for putting an advert in their window.

    Estate Agents appear to do very little for a large wedge of cash. Any differing views on that?

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    I used one for letting my house – iigloo.co.uk – they just act as a front to get your listing onto all the big property websites and any enquiries get forwarded to you. They provided some basic help like geting references, tenancy agreement and deposit protection etc, all for a flat fee.

    Binners – you forgot hair gel, bad aftershave and fat ties.

    Estate Agents appear to do very little for a large wedge of cash. Any differing views on that?

    That’s my thinking too.

    Rightmove is great – a lot more user-friendly that Zoopla, PL and any others out there. Hence I’m think that if we can’t find the perfect home for now, we too will look at selling “privately” in say 5 yrs. One downside I might foresee is buyers messing around with offers and paperwork. Maybe I’m wrong?

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    in most cases, it is the seller that shows prospective buyers around the house

    I’m buying (or trying to) at the moment and 2 houses I’ve viewed have been with online agents – the house owners have shown me round. All others are normal estate agents and the agents have shown me round.

    I must say, it’s a lot nicer being shown round (or left to wander) by the owners. They don’t ask stupid questions like “What do you think?” when the neighbour’s 4X4 has been rumbling through the walls the whole time you’re in the place!

    By the way, I use home.co.uk – links in to both Zoopla & Rightmove.

    Premier Icon Mintyjim
    Subscriber

    I’ve used them to sell my last three houses and it has been a fantastic experience, I recommend them to everyone. £600 each time.

    I used Housenetwork (in Cardiff BTW) and their service was great.

    I must have saved over £12k and that’s cash out of your pocket.

    The downsides are that you have to show people round, but no one knows your house like you do. Might not be great for the more one-off properties or in the rural countryside.

    I’ve always bought and lived in the more traditional Victorian period properties so much easier to value.
    And you have to ‘sell’ your house, put some effort in.

    20 viewings in two weeks was exhausting!

    I guess the other disadvantage, depending on your personality, is the negotiation, personally I don’t mind that bit.

    No offense to any EA’s on here but my experience with them has always been p!ss poor so the online companies have been a god send because I tend to move every couple of years. I would never use a traditional EA and would never recommend them.

    But, if you’re a bit timid the online solution may not suit.

    +1 Dez and Jim.

    I’m kind of thinking that with the way house prices have risen in say 15 yrs, the commissions that go to EAs for a start are far more significant that before. Add on stamp duty and you’ve forked out a serious amount of wedge. These figures are even more heinous here in the south east.

    Must say we were mightily pi55ed off the vendors (not emoov’s fault) as they messed us around. Verbally accepted our offer, invited us round the next day and asked for another £20k! Wrong.

    Anyone used them or have any ideas about how they might take more and more business from local/regional agents?

    Am curious because we’re looking for a new home and have had a fair few viewings, one of which was through emoov. The vendor’s aim was to save a few grand in fees (not to be sneezed at) but they messed us around re our offer and made us realise how easy it is for them to encourage Dutch auctions etc. All in all, not good.

    Looking to the future, I’d probably be happy to try selling via emoov or whoever else is online-only – mainly to save money as paying the normal agency fees plus another load of tax stamp duty on the next purchase makes the whole experience ridiculously expensive. Realistically you could build a decent single storey extension for the same money!

    Just wondering what your thoughts are …

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I had my offer accepted. Made all the plans for the new shed, luckily no money spent on fees or anything – buyer decided they weren’t selling after all. Bastards, it was perfect.

    Viewed with an online agent last night and they’ve just fired me an email. Wondering if they want an email in reply! “Hi, yes I liked it, I’d like to offer… ” ?

    buyer decided they weren’t selling after all

    You mean the vendor?

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    I seem to recall a documentary on channel 4 a few years back about Estate agents. The ones in the stockbroker belt in Surrey, where couples buy enormous houses, then sell them again when they get divorced 12 months later, were second only to the head of an investment bank in the earning stakes

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    You mean the vendor?

    Duh, yeah sorry the seller!

    jekkyl
    Member

    another +1 for ‘Housenetwork.co.uk’ I used them when I sold my house in 2010, great service, half the price of any local estate agents and they put your house up on rightmove and you can write the blurb and set the pictures that go on and set the price. They had experienced sales advisers who were great in getting a good price from the woman who bought my house and overall the service was fantastic, I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.

    I’ve had friends who’ve sold houses and I’ve told them how good housenetwork are but they won’t have it People just can’t get it into their heads that they don’t need a stupid card in the window or whatever and paid through the nose to use a local one, idiots!

    avdave2
    Member

    Well if this is the future then sales of Mini’s, and sign shops that do vinyl graphic wraps for cars are about to plummet

    And the roads become a lot safer for cyclists!

    lodious
    Member

    Estate Agents appear to do very little for a large wedge of cash. Any differing views on that?

    Yes…

    Estate Agents appear to do very little for a large wedge of cash when they are not really interested in selling your house, they are a lot more interested in securing business for their in house financial advisors off the back of your sale.

    grum
    Member

    I actually think our estate agents did a pretty good job. They seemed fairly proactive and we had loads of viewings and several offers in a fairly short space of time, they kept us informed about stuff and always called when they said they would etc, handled negotiations well.

    I still kind of begrudge paying them £1500 or whatever, but they did do a decent job IMO.

    I love how in classic STW style someone that makes a different choice is an idiot. 🙄

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    I read a thing recently about the impact of online agents on the US market. It continues to be very small, despite the fact that agents’ commission in the USis FAR higher than it is here.

    People’s lack of comfort with valuing their own house and negotiating on price seems to be the big reason conventional agencies continue to get business.

    jekkyl
    Member

    Someone is an idiot imo if they pay someone £1500 to a job that another person could have done for £500. so that’d be you then grum(ble?) 😆

    sharkbait
    Member

    My BIL has a successful agency and is currently setting up a business whereby you sell your own house online through the website.
    They deal with the technical stuff and linking to rightmove, etc and you just pay a small charge per month – no commission. It will make selling your house a LOT cheaper but probably not suitable for everyone.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    our last two house sales have been through word of mouth rather that estate agency but, irritatingly, in both cases we have already signed up to an agent so had to pay them.

    I have moved quite a few times and my experience has always been negative.
    – A estate agent falling asleep on a couch whilst we viewed a property
    – Sales particulars riddled with errors
    – Going into a agents and saying ‘I have money, I would like to buy a house in this area’ only to be told to go away and look on the website!
    – Never being contacted by the above agent, even when expressing interest in the property (I contacted the vendor direct in the end)

    It seems that they think their responsibility extends only to putting the house on the website, rather than actually making an effort to try and sell it.

    Next time I sell I will try and do it myself. I will use a bit of initiative, energy and imagination to sell it, all things estate agents round here seem to lack.

    Edit: I don’t think traditional agents with on street presence have much of a future unless they start being creative and add value to the process

    People’s lack of comfort with valuing their own house

    You get round that by inviting agents around to provide guide prices.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    People’s lack of comfort with valuing their own house

    You get around that by getting a surveyor in, either by choice or, as is the case here in Scotland, being forced to do it by the useless sellers pack thing that everybody ignores anyway.

    grum
    Member

    Someone is an idiot imo if they pay someone £1500 to a job that another person could have done for £500. so that’d be you then grum(ble?)

    How do you know you couldn’t have sold your house for a couple of grand more if you’d had someone a bit better at negotiating than you handling the process?

    You seem to lack maturity so I’d say its fairly likely. 😉

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    My BIL has a successful agency and is currently setting up a business whereby you sell your own house online through the website.
    They deal with the technical stuff and linking to rightmove, etc and you just pay a small charge per month – no commission. It will make selling your house a LOT cheaper but probably not suitable for everyone.

    Bingo! I would use them.

    Happy to do the viewing, sell the house and handle negotiations. Just need access to rightmove and other bits of advice.

    grum
    Member

    You get round that by inviting agents around to provide guide prices.

    Isn’t that a bit like trying on clothes at the LBS then buying them cheaper online? 🙂

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    The whole idea of asking agents to value is, in my opinion, short sighted. They have a major conflict of interest and in some areas without much competition they can influence an entire market.

    The start point should be to understand the market, what other houses are selling for, what you want or need to sell it for and how badly you need to sell. Do you research and come up with a price, work out what you tolerances are and stick to it. The house is worth only what one person will pay for it and what you will sell it for.

    wrecker
    Member

    I’m dealing with estate agents at the moment. It’s horrible.
    My EA arranged two viewings, the first arranged with an agent to do the viewing, the second we were doing ourselves. The agent turned up late, so I took pity on the viewers and started showing them around. When she (part timer) turned up, she told me to carry on and just followed the viewers around. The second we did ourselves. We got an offer, so they’ve done next to nothing for their money. Buyer has now pulled out because they don’t understand that it takes a few weeks to do all the stuff. Back to square one now.
    There is an EA in an area we’re looking to buy. They have a strategy of overvaluing properties, tying the vendor in for X weeks before delivering the bad news that it hasn’t got any interest and they should reduce the price (to the price which the other EAs valued it at the start). The vendor loses time, and the market is slow as a result. We get “reduced” emails from them all the time. It’s pissing me off.
    Online agencies are the way forward and I won’t be sad to see the back of the traditional EAs at all.

    Pieface
    Member

    We’re going to refresh the garden and then slack off our current EA and go to emoov or similar.

    The only thing the EA adds is a person between you and the viewer. They value your house based on RM anyway. We’ll incur a £500 cancellation fee but still be £800 better off at the end of it.

    Their agents are useless at showing us around properties, you may as well show people around yourself so they get the answers there and then.

    Dickyboy
    Member

    Just sold my house – £2500 EA fees plus VAT – was always stuck on the stamp duty threshold but could have easily sold it any day of the week for that myself without EA help as it sold within a week.

    Wanders off to indulge in a bit of knuckle rapping 😥

    samuri
    Member

    Yep, estate agents seem to do bog all nowadays.
    I’d only add that normal people take some pretty piss poor pictures of their houses. I’m not saying estate agents are great at it but slightly better on the whole than normal people. This is of course the sellers problem and not the buyers.

    I’d also add that being shown round in the house by the sellers is slightly less enjoyable than being shown round by the estate agents in my opinion. We found talking about the house objectively was difficult with the sellers hovering around but we could be brutally honest with the estate agents. Say for example you walk into the kitchen and it’s bright pink. In front of the estate agent you can start talking about how awful it is and how it would need ripping out. Not all sellers take a similar approach in the same vein as we found.

    One woman’s house reeked of smoke and smelly people. If it’d had been the estate agent we’d have turned around on the doorstep but the seller, we we felt obliged to spend five minutes there.

    So the consensus thus far is EAs are generally crap/annoying/poor and online-only agents do have a future.

    But how does the process work when a buyer makes an official offer to the vendor via the latter? Sure, the two parties can talk about figures blah blah, but does the buyer have to put the offer in writing to the online agent who in turns binds it up into an official contract? Only asking because our ‘deal’ (where the vendor suddenly asked for another £20k) happened on a weekend before anything official was in place.

    Just trying to establish weaknesses re how a deal can go sour.

    ebygomm
    Member

    I’d also add that being shown round in the house by the sellers is slightly less enjoyable than being shown round by the estate agents in my opinion.

    We only viewed houses being marketed by traditional estate agents (nothing against online agents just nothing suitable came up) and were only shown round houses by estate agents where the vendors were deceased. Every other viewing was done by the owner so the value of an estate agent is even less clear.

    Pieface
    Member

    The solicitor writes up the contract. The only other thing the EA does is validate the mortgage, but eMoov will take care of that. I guess they have a national call centre or something.

    As a buyer it can be better to speak to the vendor directly to ask them questions and get answers there and then / read their body language.

    The solicitor writes up the contract. The only other thing the EA does is validate the mortgage, but eMoov will take care of that. I guess they have a national call centre or something.

    Yes, I get that bit. It’s more a case of figuring out if the vendor is able to easily wriggle out of accepting an offer because the agent is less involved.

    johndoh
    Member

    We used a local EA – used the same one that the house opposite had just sold through as they said they had a good database of potential buyers (and we wanted to move quickly).

    They rang around everyone on the database and we had three viewings and two offers before it had even got onto Rightmove or the local rag. Accepted an offer of just £5k below asking price 8 days later.

    For me that was worth the 0.8% + VAT they charged as it meant I could leapfrog the other interested party in the house we wanted and we were in a strong position (ended up negotiating £33k off the asking price – and it had just been reduced by £10k the day before as well, so £43k off the original asking price!) Just going through the solicitors thing at the moment (and using an online service for that, saving me a few hundred ££££s)

    ebygomm
    Member

    The only other thing the EA does is validate the mortgage,

    No, they didn’t do that either

    tonyd
    Member

    I like to think I’m generally a reasonable person but I **** hate estate agents with a passion. Some are fine and I get on well with, but the majority around here are lying c0ckbags.

    We’re looking to buy at the moment and I’ve never heard so many lies. We’ve offered on houses that have been on for 6 months only to find that the same day two other people have offered 50p less than asking price.

    I’m not sure what I find most insulting – the fact they tell so many blatant lies or that they think that you’re stupid enough to believe anything they say. Why can’t they just have a straight conversation? Do they think they’re being clever when they draw a negotiation out to the point that you just walk away out of shear frustration?!

    Next time we sell I’ll be using an online agent for sure.

    Sat in on a viewing with the other-half’s brother and had the pleasure of listening to the “Estate Agent” tell him bare-face lies about the legal implications of buying a house that didn’t have planning permission and about how building regulations didn’t apply for it. It was shocking. Regulation with a professional body and some sort of monitoring scheme should be mandatory in my opinion.

    Dunno how that anecdote helps with the OP…

    mrmo
    Member

    We’re looking to buy at the moment and I’ve never heard so many lies. We’ve offered on houses that have been on for 6 months only to find that the same day two other people have offered 50p less than asking price.

    just put an offer in for the place i am renting( it is being sold) and got told the same. No idea whether the agent is lying or telling the truth! for the sake of a couple of grand and the peace of mind i have raised my offer but not convinced. I guess there is no way of finding out if you are being strung along.

    johndoh
    Member

    I guess there is no way of finding out if you are being strung along.

    Do as my buyer did last week – go to the seller’s house and ask them. She was concerned that she didn’t think her offer was being passed to me and that they were preferring someone else. (It had been and they weren’t in my case).

    tonyd
    Member

    I guess there is no way of finding out if you are being strung along.

    Not until after the fact unfortunately, unless you approach the vendor as above but then you risk annoying the agent. As much as it pains me, you have to try to keep them on side.

    At least if you’re renting it at the moment you’ve an idea of how many viewings there has been – you should have conducted them yourselves, then you’d have a better idea of the competition!

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