Online estate agents are becoming more and more popular in the UK, with many people preferring to use them rather than traditional estate agents.
With so many online estate agents available, it can be difficult for most people to know which is the best one for their needs.
That's why we've compiled a list of what you should do when choosing online estate agents, what questions they need to ask before signing up with any company, and who our top companies are! Use this as a guide to find the best estate agent for your needs.
What is an Online Estate Agent?
An online agent is an estate agent that operates online without any offices. They have a completely different approach and fee structure to high street agents.
They work over the internet, through an online platform that you can access from your home or office at a time that suits you.
Many have their website, whereas some use existing sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla for advertising properties for sale rather than running their site.
Most online agents will usually have regional estate agents that will come to your home and have local expertise. Online estate agents have become so popular because they often charge a fixed fee as opposed to a percentage of your home sale like other estate agents.
With the property market operating more and more online potential buyers now tend to use sites like Right Move and Zoopla, so it makes sense online estate agents now exist.
Related article: How to Choose an Estate Agent
What Should I do Before Choosing an Online Estate Agent?
There are several things you should do before choosing an online estate agent. The first thing is not to rule out your local agent.
Just because online estate agents are popular doesn't mean they are always better than local agents. It's great to do thorough research before choosing an estate agent.
As a general rule, here are some steps you can take:
Best Online Estate Agents Revealed
When it comes down to choosing an online agent, there are three main things you need to consider: the fees they charge, the level of service, and customer satisfaction levels. We've done some research into all of the leading online estate agents.
All of these companies offer a good level of service, with high customer satisfaction levels. They all charge different fees, so it's essential to do your research before signing up.
Voted best online estate agent for its hybrid service offer at the 'Negotiator awards'.
Yopa is a great online estate agent that offers all of the services you would expect from an online or traditional estate agent. They have been established for many years, and they are one of the most prominent players in this sector.
Good to know:
- The fixed fee starts from £999, which is everything you need to get your property on the market.
- Option to pay later and no sale, no fee packages are also available.
- Find local offices with a dedicated local estate agent through their website; Yopa has found a good balance between online pricing with local property experts to help you with your sale.
- Rated as Excellent by Trust Pilot reviews, and Yopa has also received external awards.
- Yopa boost that they can sell your house 25 days faster than the average estate agent.
- Virtual viewings available
Strike is a fast-growing online estate agent. They are popular because they offer a no-fee basis and make money by the optional services you decide to take.
They are an excellent option for home movers who want to do most of the work involved in selling a home but need someone to help them list on sites like Rightmove or Zoopla.
Good to Know:
- Starts from free.
- It is perfect for people who feel confident selling their own home but need an estate agent to get it on sites like Rightmove and Zoopla.
- Optional packages include marketing boosts (£499) and hoasted viewings (£699)
Purplebricks is one of the most well-known online estate agents, and they offer an excellent service, according to Trustpilot and Feefo. They rate them as outstanding based on customer reviews.
Good to Know:
- Purplebricks charges £999 or £1499 for London.
- Local property experts
- Money-back guarantee if no offer is made on your property within ten months.
- Virtual viewings available
Emoov works on a percentage basis of your actual home, which is rare for the online agents we have viewed so far.
Good to Know:
- Option to sell your home to Emoov if you want a quick sale, although beware you will pay at least 3% in fees.
- Fees start from 0.5% of the home sale price.
- Host the viewings yourself; however, Emoov will vet any potential buyers before they are allowed to contact you.
- Manage viewings with an online app.
Doorsteps is an emerging online estate agent that has received awards and helps people sell their homes for prices starting from just £499. It's perfect for those who want to do it themselves but need help attracting potential local buyers.
Good to know:
- DIY packages start from £499
- If you want a top spot on Rightmove and professional photos, you will need their quick sale deal, which starts at £799
- Hosted viewings are another £749, so if you don't plan to do viewings yourself, you may find other estate agents that might be cheaper overall.
With esaleuk you can place an order online of how you want your property to be marketed. They can also give you a free online valuation.
Good to know:
- 30-day money-back guarantees are available on the upfront cost service. They say if you are not happy with the service, they will refund you in 30 days.
- If you pay upfront, it's £595 or £1190 if you decide to pay at the end of the sale.
- This is a trustworthy online estate agent, so they don't have readily available local estate agents in your areas like Yopa and Purplebricks.
I am the agent
I am the agent is an excellent agent for selling and letting your home out. The name is literally on the tin; if you want complete control over your home sale or letting, they are worth considering.
Good to Know:
- Fees start from £99 for a 60-day advertising package on Rightmove and Zoopla.
- If you want a bit more service, i.e. professional photos and a total property valuation, you will have to go for the following package, which starts at £449
Why use an Online Estate Agent?
There are many reasons why you might want to use an online estate agent:
- You don't have the time to visit an office: Many online estate agents will give you a portal where you can manage your property sale from saving you making phone calls.
You have had a bad experience with a traditional high street agent. Some people want to try a hybrid way to sell their homes. The main barrier with a high street agent is that there is no way to tailor your home sale package to suit you. You get everything whether you like it or not.
- You want more control over the sale of your property: Companies like Yopa when you decide to use them for your home sale, will give you access to an online portal where you can see who is viewing your home and any feedback viewers have.
- You want to save money on fees: It's reassuring to see your home for a set fee. It means you can budget the exact amount you need to move.
- You want to save money on estate agents fees in general: Online estate agents offer different packages meaning if you are willing to do some of the work in selling your home (i.e. show people around), then you will save money. This is a refreshing change from high street estate agents where you need to be
Online estate agents provide an excellent service, and we believe that they can help you sell your home at a much faster rate than if you go down the traditional route.
Online vs High Street Estate Agents
There are several reasons why you might want to choose an online estate agent over a traditional high street estate agent:
- They offer similar services and expertise as their counterparts on the high street.
- You can save money by using them (there's no expensive office rent), meaning they will be cheaper than many established, high street estate agents.
- They offer convenience services like online portals and the ability to text or email your agent (which can be very helpful when you are selling a house).
- You don't need an office, meaning that if you want to sell on your own without using estate agency professionals, then this is possible with most online estate agents.
- You can usually get a valuation for free.
High street agents have been around for many years, and they are well known, with an established customer base. However, online estate agents are becoming more popular as people become more aware of their services.
The choice between using an online or a high street agent depends on your circumstances.
Not all online estate agents have local representatives, so get a local high street agent in if you want local knowledge.
Pros and Cons of Online Estate Agents
If you're thinking about using an online estate agent, it's essential to weigh up all of the pros and cons before deciding. Do your research, ask around for recommendations and compare fees to find the best one for you.
Keep in mind that some of these agents offer additional services (like conveyancing or mortgage services) that other online estate agents might not provide.
7 Things to do Before Using any Online Estate Agent
Before you set any estate agent on you, you need to make sure they are suitable for your individual needs; here are six things to consider first to save yourself time and money.
1. Be Clear with your own needs
The ten online agents we have listed in this article vary a lot in what they offer; make sure to compare them and clarify what service you need on your sale.
You don't want to be paying for more than you need, and at the same time, you don't want to instruct an essential online agent and then find you need a better service.
To get an idea of what you need, it's best to get 3-4 estate agents out; first of all, you want to get an average evaluation so that you can get a realistic idea of what your property might sell for. Secondly, it's good to get an idea of all the services and have time to think about the best service for your needs.
I would also recommend getting a couple of local high street estate agents too, best to understand the entire offer, local agents. However, fee structures are more elevated and sometimes have more local knowledge and market ideas, and if you decide you want hosted visits, they can offer complete services.
2. Negotiate and save more
Just because you are choosing an online estate agent doesn't mean you should not negotiate. Once you are clear with your own needs, i.e. what specific services you need, then compare the prices.
Prices for hosted visits and extras such as EPC certificates can vary between online agents, so it's always good to quote them and see if they will beat your best price!
3. Compare the length of contract and property marketing
Most online estate agents offer a 12-month contract, whereas high street agents can provide anything from one month to an indefinite period.
Before committing to any length of the contract, you must understand all the services that are included as this might also vary depending on which agent you go with - some online-only include a listing on Rightmove and Zoopla, others might have additional services such as photography or even a For Sale board.
Understand the company's cancellation policy
As with anything in life, there is always a possibility that you might need to cancel an agreement with an online estate agent. Most companies have a 14-day cooling-off period, but it's always best to check this out before agreeing on a contract.
Companies are also different regarding their fees for cancelling; some might charge an administration fee, whereas others don't have any charges at all.
Make sure you know what services they will provide and the terms of cancellation well in advance so that there aren't any nasty surprises along the way.
4. Compare how the online agents conduct viewings
If you don't plan to do viewings yourself, you want an idea of how good the service will be for your home viewings.
Some agents will check the affordability of the potential buyer before letting them view in a bid to stop people from wasting your time; others will not.
Generally, the more expensive agents offer a better viewing service; they might have people who are specifically employed to do viewings and will be able to answer any questions that buyers might have.
However, this isn't always the case, so you must compare all online agents before deciding.
5. Compare when you need to pay commission
This is an essential factor to consider especially if you hurry to sell your home.
Commission fees can be paid either when the property sale completes or upon instruction of the agent - so it's always important to know what stage you need to be at before paying any fees.
Some online agents offer a no-commission policy if the property doesn't sell, but it's important to check this before signing up.
6. Compare Marketing Packs
When you're looking to compare online estate agents, it's essential that you also look at the marketing packs that they provide.
This will give you an idea of what kind of exposure your property will get and how much work the agent is willing to do for you.
Most online agents offer a basic package that includes listing on Rightmove and Zoopla. Still, some agents might have more features such as professional photography or even a For Sale board.
You must know what is included in each marketing pack to make an informed decision.
Have a look at local properties that each of your considered online agents have listed in your local area, is the description appealing? Are the photos professional?
Choosing an online estate agent that markets well could help you get more interest and money for your property - so it's worth taking the time to look!
7. Check Local Reviews
It's essential to do your research and check what local people think about each agent that you're considering - it can be a minefield out there, so always use Google reviews.
Not only will this help you understand which online agents are well-liked but also if they have any hidden charges or fees (this is especially important when looking at online estate agents that occur costs upon instruction)
Bottom Line: Should I use an Online Estate Agent?
When you're looking to sell your home, using an online agent can be a great way to get it done quickly and easily. They are a great way to save money when selling your home.
However, you must do your research before signing up with any company, as they can vary significantly in terms of their fees and services. By comparing all of the agents available, you'll be able to find one that is perfect for your needs.