Frequently asked questions about online estate agents
How can SellingUp.com help me to find the best online estate agents?
At SellingUp we are best known for our exclusive, interactive fixed fee hybrid an online estate agent price comparison tool, but there is lots more here to help you be a successful online property seller. We have an online estate agent reviews section featuring Purplebricks, Tepilo, YOPA, HouseSimple, House Network and more, plus exclusive online estate agent voucher codes to help you save even more money.
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.
How can I compare online estate agents?
There are several factors to consider when comparing online estate agents:
1. Reputation. The customer satisfaction levels of online estate agents are a crucial point to consider when comparing agencies. The simplest and quickest way to assess customer satisfaction is to look at independent reviews and star ratings from reputable reviews websites such as Trustpilot.
2. Price. For many, price one of the most important considerations when seeking the right online estate agent. Prices usually depend on the level of service you require. For budget online agents the fees are lowest but you will probably receive a more hands off service and will be expected to do some of the work yourself, such as conducting viewings. At the higher end, so-called hybrid agents will seek to replicate a high street agency experience, but you will pay a little more.
3. Services. Not all online estate agents offer the same services. All proper online estate agents should have the ability to list your property for sale on the two leading portals; Rightmove and Zoopla as a minimum. Most will then be able to offer professional photography and floorplan creation. Some will also offer price negotation and sales progression support. Some will also be able to handle viewings for you but these are in the miniority so it is important that you check what services are available before you choose an online agent.
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.
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.
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.