Date Published 14 January 2016
It's the New Year and you've decided to finally take the plunge and sell your home. It was hard enough to choose between all the high street agents vying for your attention. Now, however, you also have to contend with the persistent marketing from the online agents who are telling you that they can do everything a high street agent can for a fraction of the cost. Seems a no brainer, after all why should you part with more of your property proceeds when they all offer the same service?
Don't be fooled by the low cost fixed fees promised by the slick advertising campaigns, online agents simply do not and cannot offer the same service. An agent with local knowledge and expertise is invaluable and should not be underestimated.
As Rightmove so eloquently put it, 'Nothing can replace the skills of a local agent to establish the best price, attract the most interest in your property and achieve a quicker sale.'
Properties valued accurately sell faster and High Street agents combine the comparable sales information available online with their local knowledge to give you accurate and well informed pricing advice. Online ‘local' agents don't and they also have to cover many areas within their remit thereby diluting any potential to gain that informed advice. A saving on selling fees may well mean a loss on sale proceeds if the online agent undervalues your home.
Having the ability to walk into your agent's office and talk to them or pick up the phone and chat to that agent whatever time or day of the week is crucial to the level of service you need and deserve when selling your home. A call center approach where you are bounced between shift work phone operators clearly will not deliver the same level of personal service.
Handing your own viewing may well be a necessity if you instruct an online agent but as we all know, buyers do not like to be shown around by the owners as it makes them feel uncomfortable, speeds up the viewing and denies them the ability to ask direct questions. Local agents know how to read the buyers and sense what style of viewing is needed to leave them with a positive feeling about your house whilst emphasising its key selling points.
Local marketing is yet another tool that is overlooked by the online agents who underestimate the power of the local newspaper that is either dropped through letter boxes or picked up at stations for the long commute home. It is also important to remember that an office front is always a draw as local residents stop on their way to collect their loaf of bread to idly check what properties are coming onto the market.
At Flying Fish we are proud of the service we provide and the feedback we receive. In comparison, I will leave you with a friend's recent experience of a ‘local' online agent. When they politely asked the price of the property they were viewing the online ‘local' agent became irritated and replied, 'I have no idea. You should know, you wanted to view it!'. I am sure that when that property's owner was seduced by the low fixed fee they had no idea that the service level would be so low too.
So you see, it's not such a no brainer after all …