Frequently asked questions about online estate agents
Online estate agents are a relatively new service and as such many people will have questions about how they work and the differences between the companies themselves.
At SellingUp we speak to a lot of customers and do exclusive research so we come across many of the most common questions property sellers have about using online estate agents.
Will online estate agents offer the same service as a high street estate agent?
That depends on the agents you are comparing and what services you require. Some online estate agents offer a service level that is just the same as a traditional high street agent and some offer a very basic no frills alternative while others offer something in-between.
Services that most online agents provide include as standard are: photos, floorplans, negotiating with buyers and sales progression (e.g. chasing up solicitors and buyers). Some online agents will offer to conduct the viewings for you too - but usually for an additional fee. Our filter box next to the comparison table above allows you to select the specific services you require and then see which online agents actually offer them and how much they will charge.
Are there any hidden costs with online estate agents?
Usually the headline price quoted is all you will pay and online agent. You may have to pay more if you choose add-on services like hosted viewings where the agent shows people around, or EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates). Also some online agents have partnered up with solicitors' firms to offer a conveyancing service too but usually this is an optional extra. Just be sure to check that you are only signing up for the packages you want and untick any boxes that presume you are interested in extras that you may not actually want.
Do online estate agents charge VAT?
Yes, most will charge VAT but unlike the majority of high street estate agents, online agencies tend to be upfront about it. High street agents will usually just quote you a percentage figure for selling your property which does not include VAT so many people feel stung when they get a bill from a traditional agent which is typically in the thousands of pounds and then has an additional 20% VAT on top. In contrast, it's worth remembering that the majority of trustworthy online estate agents these days include VAT in the price they quote (see also the comparison table above that shows the VAT and non-VAT amounts) which is important because most sellers cannot claim VAT back. However if you are a professional investor and are selling a property owned by a company you run that is VAT registered you will be able to make that extra saving.
Who are the best online estate agents?
The idea of a best agent is subjective and it depends on what you are judging them on. Certainly one measure is how highly other customers have rated them, which is why SellingUp features star ratings and reviews of online estate agents from the popular website Trustpilot. A good starting pointing in working out which the best online estate agents are would be to look at the star ratings and reviews above and see which one feels like it is going to offer the kind of service that you are expecting.
How will the online estate agent find me a buyer?
All of the online estate agents featured on SellingUp will advertise your property on the two largest property portals in the UK: Rightmove and Zoopla. This means that the majority of potential buyers are likey to be able to find your property for sale and can get in touch via the website to arrange a viewing. Due to their national reach, most online agents probably will not have a very large database of 'local buyers' but as most serious property buyers are active on the portals they are highly likely to find your listing themselves and will get in touch if interested so in marketing terms you should be very well covered.
Who are the cheapest online estate agents?
Again, like most services the price you pay is linked to the package that you sign up for. If you leave every option unticked on the green filter box above and then order the results by price (low-high) you will see which online agent is the cheapest among those that are featured by SellingUp - which we are pleased to confirm is a carefully chosen selection of the very best online estate agents in the UK.
Do you have a question about online estate agents? If so, you are welcome to contact SellingUp and we will feature some of the best questions - along with our answer - here on this page.