East Grinstead Office

East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 1EP

Crawley Office

Boscobel House, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 1DD

Sales & Lettings:

01293 561188

Are The Days Of The Traditional High Street Estate Agent Really Over?

Are The Days Of The Traditional High Street Estate Agent Really Over?

As technology changes so does the marketing messages given out by companies wanting to find easier ways to get their hands on the general public’s money.  This is especially evident within the Estate Agency industry.  In the early to mid 1990’s there were several challenges posed to the traditional Estate Agent by the likes of the Loot Magazine.  Back then a Vendor (seller) could pay Loot an upfront fee with the promise of saving thousands of pounds of Estate Agent’s fees.  For a modest fee an advert could be placed in the Loot magazine and the Vendor would receive a ‘For Sale’ sign through the post which they would then need to erect.  To some Vendors this was an appealing option and in a few cases they were successful.  But for many the reality was that not only had they paid an upfront non-refundable fee, but it also meant they were chasing the market which often meant achieving less for their property.


Fast forward two decades with the explosion of and advancements in technology, we have the same message under a different banner offered by a whole myriad of online ‘modern’ Estate Agents.  The message ‘save thousands of pounds off your Estate Agents fees’ by paying an upfront fee is often cleverly hidden behind a slogan of ‘no commissary’.  Furthermore, usually to qualify for the fee you must use their solicitor, and there are various other bolted-on fees for additional services such as accompanied viewings.  However the very same issues as back in the 1990’s are still evident in the background, poor marketing, not enough staff to manage the sale and promote the property effectively, no face to face contact and more often the case not enough experience or local knowledge to accurately value a property.


In a recent report conducted by the Stockbrokers, Jeffries, their findings were that the market leader Purplebricks sales success rate was just over 51%.  This is in contrast to a report conducted by the HomeOwners Alliance which reported the traditional Estate Agents success rate is 84%.  One of the biggest reasons for the gulf between the success of the Online Estate Agency and the traditional Estate Agents is the lack of resources an Online Agency has to look after the customer after an offer has been agreed.  These results show there is significantly more stress and higher chances of a sale falling through which can then cost a Vendor even more money having paid out for conveyancing costs, searches, mortgage application and survey fees for instance.


There is often an ongoing problem during negotiations for not only the Vendor who has used an Online Estate agency but also potentially a whole chain.  Once an offer has been made an experienced professional Estate Agent will check the whole chain (where applicable) to see where each link of the chain is and if there is any potential problems.  It is becoming more and more evident that where there is an online Estate Agency involved, there is a higher risk of the sale falling through.  Therefore a Vendor trying to purchase a property with a chain like this may have to offer higher to achieve the same result as a buyer with a more solid chain.


So, although an unproven bold claim can often be made of ’save you thousands of pounds’ the painful reality can often be more stress, poor service, paying more fees to achieve a lower market figure whilst having to participate in negotiations for the onward purchase.


At Greenaway Residential Estate Agents in East Grinstead and Crawley our beliefs form two cornerstones; to get the best possible price a Vendor must receive the best possible marketing otherwise all that it being relied upon is luck.  The second is the difference between a good Estate Agent and a bad Estate Agent is that a good one is free as they will pay for themselves.  For a free, no obligation market appraisal of your property, visit the property experts at www.greenawayresidential.com for a reassuringly traditional service.


Phoebe Skinner

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