SALES NEWS: New reports show the problems of using online estate agents


Online estate agents are popping up but two reports show the potential disadvantages they carry for sellers and buyers alike.

Comparison website GetAgents has surveyed the entire stock of homes on sale in the UK and shows that all the online agents combined carry a mere 2.7 per cent of them. This means any one online agent will only carry a tiny number of homes, drawing in relatively few buyers and offering very little choice compared to agents with High Street offices.

A report by Which?, run by the Consumers’ Association, also lists disadvantages.

It says sellers almost always handle viewings so must be comfortable with strangers in their home. Sellers may also have to value their own property – even if an online agent visits, he may not have local knowledge because he may operate across a large region.

If a seller gets an offer there is time-consuming work negotiating with the buyer, and while the fees for online agents may appear small they often have ‘add-on’ extras. In any case, these fees have to be paid by the seller even if the property remains unsold months later.

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