When you are about to sell your house, or want to put it up for rent, then you have a choice between selling it on your own or using an agent. Since using agents is the more profitable option as it reduces hassle and ensures that you get the money that your house is worth, this is the option people go for. In this digital age, you get another option of choosing an online estate agent. Some people, who have not yet encountered the task of selling or renting their house, may have a hard time wrapping their minds around the concept of an internet estate agent, and it is quite possible that they may have heard myths and fables about hiring an online estate agent.
We are presenting this article to list the facts and debunk the myths surrounding online estate agents, so you can make an educated choice about selecting the type of estate agent you want to help put your house up on sale or rent.
What Does An Online Agent Do Differently From a Traditional Agent?
Provides 24/7 Service
Online estate companies present their services 24/7. You can contact them anytime you want, and you don’t even have to leave the confines of your home! An online presence has many benefits. You get a service that is easy, fast, and free of any hassle. This service generally does not come with the brick-and-mortar estate agencies, which have specific timings for contact, and it isn’t necessary that the time will match your convenience.
Provides a Wide Range of Choices
The traditional agents would specialize in a set area, and you may not find many agents to choose from. However, in an online estate agency, you get a wide range of options to choose from, depending on your preferences. With an online agency, you can be sure to meet an estate agent who will work according to your specifications.
Provides an Easy Solution
With the busy life that the British citizens have today, it is important that when you put up your property for sale or rent, you get maximum slack. Selling your house is no small task, and when you lead such a busy life, this task seems insurmountable. To deal with this, you need an agent who will make things easiest for you. Online estate agents take matters out of your hands and commit to the cumbersome process of putting you property for sale, while you only have the task of making the decisions. When you leave the grunt work out, selling your property in the UK becomes a very simple process.
Online Agents Help the Sellers Provide What the Buyers Want
In this age, when a buyer needs to find something, they go online to look at the choices available and compare the features and prices before making a decision. Same is the case with the real estate market. When you have to buy a property in Britain, you visit the online estate portals like Rightmove or Zoopla.
The online estate agents understand this digital shift and fill in the demand of the buyers by putting up the houses on these portals so that the buyers can find them easily. The traditional agents either will not provide you this service, or may not be as competent in the online market as the online agents would be.
Why Choose An Online Agent?
Online Agents are More Affordable
Online agents charge lower than the traditional agents because they do not have a physical office. Since the presence of the office is online, the costs are drastically cut, and online agents can offer you better services at a lower price range.
A myth that surrounds online agents is that they are not more experienced than the traditional ones. Truth is that the agents hired by online agencies are veterans in this market, and are able to provide solid advice about the selling process of a property in the UK, taking into account the current state of the market.
The Future of Estate Agency
Internet experts estimate that the online agencies could handle 50% of all sales by the year 2020. This shows the huge potential of the online agencies, considering that they only started around 2005.
As time passes, people are becoming more reliant on online services, as they provide a better service. Needless to say, selling and buying property online is a practice that is only going to increase, and it is better to avail all the benefits of this service.
Online agents help save you a huge chunk of your time by offering a service that markets your house, manages the listings, and takes care of professional pictures—essentially taking care of almost everything rather than having you do this on your own.
You Get a Profitable Deal and an Efficient Sale
Whether you are selling your house or renting it, you will get a profitable deal. The internet estate agents are quite experienced to manoeuvre in the market, and make sure that you get your worth, and more.
The online market is expanding, and as more and more people shift towards searching for houses online, there is a great demand for online services, and internet estate agents help fill that demand.
These agents help get you lots of viewings. A large number of viewings mean that you have a better option of getting a better and a profitable sale.
Comprehensive Online Marketing
As we have mentioned above, buyers look online for their various options in property. When you choose a skilled online estate agent, you place your property in the hands of a trained individual who will not only put your house up on sale, but will also market it so well that your property will get choice viewings, which will help you close a great deal.
How to Choose an Online Agent that is Best for You?
When you are using a traditional, brick-and-mortar agent, you have quite a few options to choose from, and your choice is limited when you eliminate the bad agents that you have heard of. On the other hand, when you take the option of having an online estate agent help you sell your property, you have a huge range of options to choose from. Here, the only difficulty is to make a choice among so many. How do you choose an agent that fits your needs perfectly? Well, here are some handy tips to help you out.
Tip # 1: Read the Reviews
Reading the reviews about the online estate agents should be your first step. A good agent should have a large number of positive reviews and a few negative ones. Find out how the agent handles the negative reviews. It will show the professionalism of the said agent.
Find out what the reviewers liked most about the agent. What are they happy about? Did they get a great deal and a great service? Look into the details of these reviews.
Also, note the frequency and timing of the negative reviews. If the negative reviews have been in the past, and the current reviews are full of praise, it shows that the online agent has moved past their inadequacies and has built a strong reputation. However, if the positive reviews of the agent are in the past, and the negative reviews are in the present, it shows that the agent’s performance is degrading, and it is best to avoid this agent.
Tip # 2: Find Out If They Are a Member of a Professional Governing Body
For online estate agents, to get credibility, they have to be affiliated to a proper governing body. Visit the website and see if the agent you are considering to hire is a member of a professional body or not. If not, you should stay away from the agent because using these types of agents will mean that your property will not be listed on the most popular estate portals, decreasing your chances of a good sale.
For the governing bodies, one of the best to look out for is the Property Ombudsman. This governing body places all of its online member agents under the scrutiny of the law. This will ensure you the highest safety and quality of service.
If you need to make sure that the agent is a valid member of the Property Ombudsman, then you should check their member list here. Simply enter the name, or the location or postal code of the agent whose membership you wish to confirm, and the website will confirm it for you.
Tip # 3: See Where Your Property Would be Advertised
The main benefit of using an online estate agent is that you get to list your property on the real estate portals most visited by buyers. Right now, the top portals in the United Kingdom are Rightmove, Zoopla, Primelocation and NeedAProperty, which garner over 95% of the online buyer traffic. Make sure that the internet estate agent you choose lists your property on these portals.
The Process of Selling a House Through an Online Estate Agent
The difference between the traditional agents and the internet estate agents is that the latter makes use of the internet to get you a good deal. Some online estate agents only offer online services, which mean that you will be responsible for the viewings, while some online agencies provide a hybrid service, which means that your property will be marketed online, and an agent will be sent over to conduct the viewings for you when needed.
Although the process of both types of agents is almost the same, you might wonder what the process of selling a house is, when you are using an online estate agent. Let us walk you through the process.
Step # 1: Fill the Valuation Form
The first step in receiving an online agent’s service is to fill an online valuation form. This form will evaluate how much your property is worth, taking into account the current market condition, and the site of your house, among other factors. This evaluation will bring up an approximate price of your house. Note that this online evaluation is up-to-date and the calculated result has a higher accuracy than the one estimated by your traditional estate agent.
In this valuation form, you need to insert all details about house, including the location, size, features etc. Make sure that all data that you enter is accurate, so that the estimate would be quite accurate.
Step # 2: Choose a Package of Your Choice
Online agents offer various packages for you to choose from. Depending on your needs, you can select the one that suits you best, and enjoy the benefits of hiring an online estate agent!
Step # 3: Your Property is Up on the Market
Once you have handed over this responsibility to the online agent of your choice, they will take care of all the details and market your house in the best possible way. If you have chosen an accredited agent who is a member of a professional governing body, you can rest assured that your house will be up on the most famous portals that serious buyers visit.
Step # 4: Viewings
Your online agent will shortlist the buyers taking a serious interest in your property, and will arrange a viewing. You will be able to conduct a personal viewing of your home, and show around the potential buyers on your terms.
Step # 5: Final Sale
Another factor that differentiates between a traditional estate agent and an online estate agent comes into stark view in this final step. When you close the deal with your buyer, your brick-and-mortar agent would find this time to demand a percentage of the sale. However, an online agency will demand no such thing. Since you have already paid the fees up front, all the profits of the sale will be entirely your property.
Tips for Selling Property Online
Selling your house in the UK can be a stressful process for many. However, there are some things that you can keep in mind to make this process easier for you to handle. Here are some of the best tips from our experts to help you sell your house without the hassle!
Tip # 1: Always Make a Budget
Some homeowners disregard the importance of making a budget when selling a house. They wrongly assume that selling a house would require no finances. The truth is that there are quite some expenses related to selling a house, such as the fees of the agent, the expense of improving the curb appeal of your house and making upgrades and renovations, the cost of moving out, etc.
Tip # 2: If the Package You Have Selected Does Not Provide You an EPC, Get One On Your Own
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of a house will list the details of the energy consumption of the house in a month and the typical cost of energy, and homeowners in the UK are legally bound to provide an EPC to the potential buyer. Generally, online agents will provide packages that include them taking care of the EPC so that you don’t have to. But, if you have chosen a package that does not include this service, then you should get one on your own.
Tip # 3: Set a Price of Your House and Consult Your Agent
Your agent will provide you an estimate, of course, but it is up to you to set a price. You can use the Zoopla Estimate to get a close approximation of the price of your house, and set a price that is suitable. Consult your agent in this process, as they will guide you best in this regard. Make sure you set the price a little higher, so that in the negotiation process, when the price is negotiated down, you don’t suffer any losses.
Tip # 4: Choose the Time to Sell Your House
Unless you are looking to sell your house urgently, you should time the selling of your house. This is a neat tip that experts give to their premium clients: Sell your house in mid-spring or in autumn.
Well, the real estate market in the UK has a specific pattern. In the summer, since most of the people are on vacation, the market becomes a buyer’s market, and it is likely that you will get a lower price on your deal. Similarly, in the winter, the incoming of Christmas makes people refrain from making buying decisions.
On the other hand, in spring, specifically after the end of the school year, the market becomes ripe for the sellers, as there is an influx of buyers looking for houses. Autumn, too, is a good time for the sellers to close a lucrative deal.
Tip # 5: Improve the Curb Appeal of Your House
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to improve the curb appeal of your house. Did you know that the simple task of replacing your front door drastically improves the value and saleability of your house?
We do not encourage you to waste money on expensive replacements and upgrades. Just make the changes that would improve the overall look of your house, such as replacing broken windows, and painting the exterior.
Tip # 6: Upgrade the Interior
The exterior of your house entices buyers to view the house, and the interior would make them seal the deal. Make sure that the interior of your home is free of any personalisation. What the buyer is looking for is a home they can imagine themselves in. The personalisation of your house will hinder them from Imagining your home as their own. This is why experts suggest that you paint neutral colours on the walls and remove all personal decors from the house.
Tips for Renting Property Online
Renting your property can be a great source of monthly income for you. Whether you are renting out the entire house, or a single floor or a spare room, renting your house is a profitable deal. Here are some of the most important things that you should keep in mind before renting your property in the UK.
Tip # 1: Know All Your Responsibilities as a Landlord
Because it is your house, you will be responsible for the regular maintenance and repairs. Some tenants may try to take advantage of this fact by not taking care of the house, causing it to need more repairs and upgrades than necessary. It will be your job to keep an eye on the tenants. It is important that you know all these details that come under your responsibility, and only decide to rent if you are able to handle it.
Tip # 2: Improve the Outlook of Your Home
Just like in the matter of selling, the curb appeal and the interior of the house matters a lot in renting, too. Since renting is easier than selling, and there are many people in the United States who rent out their property, the tenants have more choice in the houses they choose for rent. This makes the importance of upgrades even more significant in this case, as a better quality home will attract better tenants. First impression is important, so make it matter.
Tip # 3: Choose Tenants Carefully
This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are so many people who are screwed over by tenants-from-hell that the horror stories that makes people think twice about renting their homes. The option here is to choose an online estate agency that takes care of the screening of the tenants carefully (checking references and credit etc.), and ensures that only serious tenants view your house. Apart from this, you also need to conduct a personal interview with the potential tenant so can make a better choice in this respect.
Tip # 4: Get a Written Agreement
Do NOT trust a promise by word. Get it in writing. A written and signed agreement has a legal value and the tenant would have to think twice about breaking the agreement.
Tip # 5: Make a Proper System of Rent Collection
Unless you are renting a part of your house, it is a better option to get the rent collection via an electronic process like PayPal. Visiting the house every month to collect the rent is an outdated process, and it is better to be avoided.
However, in the case that you have to enter the property for a check-up, notify the tenant 24 hours ahead, taking into account their right to privacy.
Tip # 6: Take Care of Maintenance and Repairs
Maintenance and repairs of the house comes under your responsibility, so make sure that you do it right, and on time. Neglecting your duty to make regular repairs will lose you good tenants, and will create negative reviews about you.
Tip # 7: Prefer Not To Rent To Family or Friends
This may seem like a harsh strategy, but hear us out. Renting your property to family or friends will put you in a delicate position. Being close to you, they might expect special treatment, like giving rent whenever they feel like, or facing no repercussions after breaking rules of agreement. Being harsh with them would probably put a hamper on the relationship, while giving them a free rein would not be profitable for you.
If you really have to rent out to family or friends, then make it clear to them from day one that they will not be getting any special treatment.
Tip # 8: Create a Policy
Before renting your house, create a list of rules that your tenants would have to adhere to. Give this policy to your tenant and have them sign it, so that in a matter of dispute, you can refer to it.
What to include in a policy?
Here are some of the things that you should include in the written policy:
- The rental process: Make sure that the tenant understands the process of paying rent, and this policy should include the process to make sure that both you and the tenant are on the same page.
- Contact timings: Your tenants may have to contact you for some reason—repairs, maintenance, or a discussion about the neighbours. It will be quite burdensome to get calls late in the night or on a weekend when you are having a family get-together. Clearly set the hours when you will be available so that you only get the calls when your schedule is free.
- Roles and responsibilities: Make sure that both of you are clear on your roles and responsibilities.
Tip # 9: Charge Fees for Late Rent
Always charge late rent fees. Include this in the agreement and/ or policy if you have to. This is because the simple fact of having to pay extra in the case of not paying rent before the agreed date will be a strong incentive for the tenant to pay rent on time. With this tip, you will automatically ensure that paying the rent will be the number one priority of your tenant.
Tip # 10: Take Care of Disputes Professionally
Including all details in the agreement and the policy will generally reduce the chances of dispute, but it is not necessary that there would be no trouble at all. If the dispute is about a small issue such as noise, rent, repairs etc., then it is preferable that you discuss the problem with the tenant and settle on a solution that both of you agree upon. Take a professional approach and try to put yourself in the tenant’s shoes—would what is bothering the tenant have bothered you if you were in their place? If so, try to be reasonable. If not, try to settle on a middle-ground.
Things that Homeowners Should Keep in Mind while Renting Property
1. Provide A Great Customer Service
Renting your property is a business arrangement, and as all great businesspeople will tell you, customer service is vital for the business to flourish. Taking care of the needs of the tenant, respecting their privacy and not barging in the house any time you feel like, and being honest with the tenant goes a long way to making a great relationship. And, when the tenant leaves, you can be sure that they will put in a good word for you.
2. Stick To Your Word, But Be Flexible When Needed
There may be times when people get into a rough time financially. It can happen to you, and it can happen to your tenants. It may be that your tenant has a family tragedy, a financial or personal loss, or is hospitalised. Being compassionate at this point is highly important. You need to make a long-lasting relationship, and that means that you understand the struggles of the other party and try to help them through their difficult times.
3. Maintain Excellent Communication
Maintaining excellent communication with your tenants is a must. If you establish a good communication, it will make your job a lot easier as the tenants will be more open to discussing their problems and discussing a solution rather than dumping the entire responsibility on your shoulders.
If you are looking for a reliable online agency which is affiliated with a professional governing body, then iMoveEstates is a great option for you. You can browse their selling and renting packages and choose the package that best serves your needs.