Choosing your Estate Agent – The High Street Shop vs The Online Agent


During the 1980s there was no such thing as the “World Wide Web.” If you were looking to sell your house thirty years ago you would have either telephoned or walked into an estate agency to get your home valued. You would have put your complete trust into your chosen agent that he was truthful, honest and telling you the best price that you could get for your home. Unless you had a sign board outside your home, your neighbours wouldn’t necessarily know that you were on the move.

Plus when you were looking to purchase your next house and get a mortgage, you would walk into your trusted bank or building society and speak directly to the “Bank Manager” and he would size you up, look at your figures, credit history and make a calculated decision on whether to lend you the money and if you were “good for it” regarding your repayments.

Ohhh how times have changed!

The introduction to what the public now calls the “internet” has drastically changed the estate agency industry and how a member of the public goes about selling their most prized asset! The banking sector is now very much online, submitting credit checks, mortgage applications and allowing a computer to make a calculated decision on how much you are allowed to borrow in this time.

Rightmove Property Advertising has had the biggest effect on the Estate Agency industry on how you go about viewing, deciding and even to a certain extent valuing your own home. We Estate Agents are mere marketing gurus now when it comes to selling your home.

Your opinion of us Estate Agents is noted – “We are just all the same!”. Well I am here to play devil’s advocate and tell you that we are NOT! Around the marketing, the spiel, the technology and online advertising it still comes down to human beings that you are dealing with whether you are buying or selling your home.

Which brings me to my next point…

What are the Pros and Cons of using an online agency vs. a high street agency?

Well… we market your property in similar ways using the tools that are available to us online. The number one property portal being Rightmove! It’s true it yields the best results.

The only difference is a high street shop has a window display and bigger overheads which in turn means they have to charge the consumer more.

With the downturn of stock available on the market you can see how this has changed the business strategies of some of the countries high street agencies with large overheads.

For example, selling your home via “Sale By Tender” as a tactic for the agent to increase their commission without doing anymore work and charging their client “the vendor” less. They then forward the commission they make onto the buyer at a 2% + VAT fee! On a property worth £500,000 – The agent is making £10,000 plus VAT (£12,000) – Ask yourself who this benefits? It is certainly not the Vendor!

If we are marketing your property online and both agencies (high street and online) are using the same web portals then we both advertise on all the same places. We both get the same clients calling in as well as having our existing database of buyers on our books.

Photography – Online vs High Street – Whoever has the best camera and photographer wins!

Negotiation – Whoever has the best negotiators wins!

Walk In Trade – Yes the high street wins here, obviously they will get more walk in traffic as opposed to online agents, however, are you telling me that people who walk in off of the street are not looking through their smart phones, internet and tablets on Rightmove?? Of course they are! It saves time!

The only differences separating the two agencies are; Ego and High Costs. Having a shop front I have found in the past stops me from getting on with my day and generating business because I have more distractions such as apprasing the publicas to whether they are serious or not, setting up window displays and looking good. There is the argument that a shop front can build trust that an agency is visible.

I setup my agency to break the middle ground. Working out of serviced offices we are still local, clients can visit us (as they regularly do) and we can keep our costs low without having to forward our high expenses onto our clients.

Keystones Property have proven to themselves and the public that you do not have to be in a local area to Sell and Rent houses. We have sold and let properties in Ilford, Beckton, Leytonstone and even as far out as Purfleet! This is power of the online market and the present creating the future of the property industry.

Therefore, my conclusion is this – You actually get better value for money dealing with an Online Agency as opposed to a High Street Shop Agency. You receive the same service, the same level of advertising and we at Keystones believe that we have better negotiators dealing with your case with the knowledge and expertise that we provide. We are still local to the community with our ears and eyes on the local market. This is the sole reason we have had multiple clients using us, repeat business and recommendations every single week. We are good at what we do and also offer free advice.

So if you are looking to Sell or Rent your property, please contact myself or one of the staff in our office for a FREE VALUATION.

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