Online estate agents have been a developing force in the UK property market ever since their inception. In the beginning, they were a fledgling operation, struggling to compete with the dominant high-street agents. Starting out from classified ads, and moving on to the institution that threatens to put conventional estate agents out of business, it has been quite the journey for online estate agents.
Today, online estate agents, despite commanding relatively less of the property market as compared to traditional estate agents, still occupy a hefty portion of the market. Especially in the current state of the property business in the UK, online estate agents are proving their merit and value by providing services above and beyond the quality standards of conventional, high-street agents.
But are they any good; is a question that is often asked by prospective sellers, when deciding between an online and a traditional estate agent.
The Online Estate Agent as a Concept
The concept of an estate agent that operates solely on the internet may have seemed absurd to the majority of home sellers in the UK, not long ago. In the past, when a person wished to sell their house or property, they used to approach an estate agent with virtually no presence anywhere, except for the office. The estate agent would then have the seller embark on a lengthy process which would be as time consuming as it was complicated.
Often it was observed that despite the best efforts of the estate agent to sell at a high profit, the property in question wouldn’t sell and the homeowner would be left with no choice but to sell the property short of its actual value. Yet despite the low selling price, the estate agents would still make a considerable profit. These profits would then add up as the selling price got higher, which basically meant that the more a seller got for their property, the bigger the estate agents’ profit.
Besides the issue of profit, there were the various complicated procedures that would often frustrate and confuse sellers. From the time of the property valuation, the seller would be bombarded with details upon details that would more often than not, be relevant only to the estate agent. This complication served a dual purpose. It could be used to set the seller up for a higher percentage of profit, as well as misinform the seller about the actual price of the property.
The online estate agent virtually eliminated any and all misinformation, misguidance and complexity from the property business. And this presented a significant advantage for sellers all over the UK. Suddenly, it was the seller who held the more important position in the sale process. And this got UK based property sellers all the more enthusiastic about online estate agents.
That is how the concept of the online estate agent came into the mainstream in the UK property business. And the credit for their popularity goes, in no small part, to the excellent services provided by them. Today, the top ten online estate agents close more sales than the entire UK property business combined, 20 years ago.
Online Estate Agents’ Reason for Success
This success has come as a result of a need for the specific range of services that online estate agents provide. When a homeowner in the UK decides to choose an online estate agent, chances are that they have already conducted a fair amount of research into the merits of such a decision. And the merits are what separate online property dealers from their traditional counterparts.
Standard merits such as a far more affordable pricing scheme which does not capitalise on how much the house sells for, are some of the main reasons. Incidentally, it has been the main driving factor behind online estate agents’ success as well.
Other reasons include almost absolute simplicity of service without any complication at all on the part of the client. This has made it easier for a wide variety of sellers to successfully sell their property, at a good price. The convenience that online estate agents provide in the process of selling your house is complimented by the accuracy of their assessment and evaluation of the price. An online estate agent will usually give a highly accurate valuation, instead of keeping the seller guessing as to how much their house will sell for.
Another reason for the success of online estate agents is their all-encompassing service plan. Most successful online estate agents take care of the entire process of selling a property, from start to finish. Usually, all that is required from the seller’s end is a filled form which provides details of the property in question, and the agents’ fee.
The online estate agent success rate has also been a contributing factor in their continued growth. So much so, that the top ten online estate agents can now boast a near-perfect success rate in property sales. This is something that was considered an ideal scenario, instead of an everyday occurrence in the old days.
It can safely be assumed that online estate agents are on a steady rise and it won’t be long before they hold the lion’s share in the UK property market.
Are Online Estate Agents Really That Good?
The answer to that is without a doubt, yes. Despite the fact that there are a multitude of factors that go into an online estate agent’s excellence, the pros of using an online estate agent outweigh the cons, by far.
One can argue that the significantly lower service fees alone are enough to declare online estate agents’ superiority over traditional property dealers. And to an extent, this argument would be sufficient, if not for the several other factors that make online estate agents better than high-street dealers.
Online estate agencies have steadily built a positive reputation among their clients and property sellers in the UK for tailoring service plans specifically to the needs of the latter.
When you first apply for a free property valuation with an online estate agency, you are asked to fill in a form that will have you providing all the necessary required details at once. This part of the procedure, which can be completed in a mere 5 minutes with an online estate agent, might require anywhere from an hour to several visits, with a traditional estate agent. This, coupled with a drastic cutting of costs, made online estate agents the go-to for anyone looking to sell their property within the UK.
Another aspect of the online property business is their wide repertoire of services, all of which improve upon what traditional estate agents offer. Additionally, selling with an online estate agency has the advantage of greater exposure for your property.
An online estate agent, once hired to represent you, will feature your property on their website as well as several classified sites. This will make your property visible to a much larger number of prospective buyers, as compared to the traditional newspaper and shop window approach of a classic high-street property dealer. With the added visibility, come a greater number of qualified sales.
As mentioned earlier, the online estate agent success rate is already beyond that of traditional estate agents, one of the biggest reasons why you should choose an online estate agent when selling your property.
Reviewing Online Estate Agents
The UK property market has come a long way since the internet revolution came about, which changed the industry itself forever. Gone are the days when you had to wait anywhere from a day to a month to even have a consultation meeting with a high-street agent. Now, there are quite literally dozens of online estate agents to choose from and none of them make you wait any longer than the time it takes to click on a link.
However, with a rise in number of available options, comes some stiff competition. And this competition has prompted online estate agents to start offering incentives to their prospective clients. These incentives range from a reduction in service charges to other value added services such as added online visibility of their property. Even the most affordable online estate agent can bring in enormous profits for the seller.
Some of the biggest online estate agencies are now offering money-back guarantees, based on timely agreements. These are just the basic ways that online estate agents are competing for their prospective clients’ attention.
Fortunately, there is a way to determine who the most successful online estate agents, when it comes to quality of service.
There are several websites which provide reviews on the biggest online estate agents. You can use these online estate agent reviews to judge which online estate agents fit the bill, with respect to your specific property.
Following are some of the aspects on which you can judge which online estate agent or agency is the best for you:
Most attractive fee plan: Online estate agents already charge a mere fraction of what traditional estate agents do. Even then, the fee an online estate agent charges, compared to the quality and number of services that they offer, is usually a good indicator of overall superiority, when looking through a list of online agents.
However, that does not mean that the most affordable online estate agent will also be the most successful online estate agent. A list of online agents will often compare one from the other based on an overall score of quality of service. It could be that the top ten online estate agents are not the most affordable. But their quality of service is what would set them apart from the rest in the business.
Active market presence: The best online estate agents reviews feature property dealers with the strongest market presence. This means that the online property dealer who is first seen on search results, or first recommended by websites and independent sources through word of mouth, will most likely be the best in the industry.
You can safely assume that such an online estate agency is famous for good reason. They got there by offering the best and most accurate valuation and sales service to their clients. And this resulted in them being recommended to other prospective clients, which in time, led to their popularity in the online estate business.
Effective and long-term marketing strategy: Online estate agencies usually have a marketing plan that can run for up to 12 months. In some cases, a client can even have a customised marketing plan, where they get to choose how long their property stays visible on the internet.
The more effective the marketing strategy of an online estate agency, the more sales they generate in the shortest time.
As a seller, you can observe their unique marketing strategies and analyse which would suit you the best. The best online estate agent reviews often feature agencies that market their clients’ properties most effectively, for as long a period of time as necessary.
Noteworthy Online Estate Agents
The best way to discover the most effective online estate agents is through an estate agent review and comparison, many of which can easily be seen online. The best online estate agency by the latest standards however, is iMoveEstates. They offer a free property valuation service that generates an extremely accurate estimate price of the client’s property. Not only that, iMoveEstates has the best marketing strategy in the business, which makes a property visible on multiple forums simultaneously, ensuring a qualified sale in no time.