Online estate agents are popping up all over the place. Whilst they sell themselves on being commission free, whatever the result of the sale, you are committed to paying the fee you agreed to. If the sale falls through or you end up not moving, this can leave you drastically out of pocket, so are they worth it?
In my opinion no, but it really is personal preference. The reason I went with a high street estate agent is that I felt I had a named person to contact, and even a named office to pop into if I ever had any concerns. They knew that all the viewings and marketings in the world wasn’t going to get them any money unless they got me a sale so they had to work hard to get it. With commission free agents, are they really going to keep trying? They have nothing further to gain from you once you have signed with them.
I understand that if your sale goes through quickly and with no issues, an online agent can save you a small fortune, but is it worth it? I know that the vast majority of people find their new homes by looking online first, but the agent helps you through the whole process – there is so much more to it than that. If you end up having to instruct another agent as well due to lack of service then it will end up costing you more. I also know of one person who tried to pay their online estate agent bill, but whenever she called the relevant team were not available. Next thing she knew she received a letter from a debt collection agency. Perhaps this was just one instance, and I’m not saying my estate agent was particular good (far from it) but I believe what I paid reflected the service I received and there were no unpleasant surprises along the way.
In theory I like the idea and model of online estate agents, but I think a lot more work needs to be done to refine the process.