One in three would ‘seriously consider’ an online estate agent – YouGov/SellingUp

One third of property owners in the UK would “seriously consider” hiring an online agent if selling tomorrow, according to exclusive YouGov research for The polling company asked 1300 about their willingness to use an online fixed fee estate agent charging £300-£800 instead of paying a high street agency’s commission.

surveyThe purpose of the survey was to get a better understanding of sellers’ attitudes to the online estate agency sector and assess the potential size of the market.

The YouGov poll revealed that 32% would “seriously consider” using an online based company like Purplebricks, Tepilo or HouseSimple if selling tomorrow, while a further 4% were already sold on the idea and would “definitely” do so.

An additional 27% wouldn’t rule out an online agent, although their first instinct would be to choose the traditional route.

A cost conscious 5% seemed determined to pay no agency fees whatsoever by opting to find a buyer privately. Finally, a non-committal 14% said they didn’t know what they would be likely to do.

YouGov/SellingUp survey question and answers

yougov 2 results table


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Comments from

Oliver Lewis, Research Director:

“These findings will come as a shock for traditional estate agents who are hoping to keep their online competitors’ market share at around 5%, where we believe it currently is. Our survey suggests there is enormous potential for that figure to increase greatly.

“If one third of possible property sellers already say they would seriously consider using an online estate agent then we could be close to the tipping point where this market really takes off and becomes fully mainstream.

“Where it will be in a few years is impossible to say but our findings suggest that there is long term potential for the online share of all residential property sales to end up at around 50% or even more.

“This growth would probably depend on companies like Purplebricks, easyProperty and Tepilo continuing to promote themselves heavily to attract new customers, and deliver good customer experiences for word of mouth referrals and repeat business.

“In the short term the big question is how good the online estate agents will be at converting this massive group of ‘maybes’ into customers.

“At SellingUp we believe that the online agents that will be the strongest at convincing property owners will be the ones that present a credible personal approach at the vendor’s front door combined with their price benefits online.

“Agencies with genuine property experts based in or near to the seller’s local area that have the experience to value properties accurately and handle sales progression personally will be the most persuasive, because they will reduce the perceived risk of selling without a traditional agent.”

Survey notes and demographics

Full survey question:

A new set of companies called ‘online estate agents’ have emerged in recent years, charging a fixed fee of around GBP 300-GBP 800 to sell your property on your behalf, provided you do some of the work yourself (e.g. showing buyers around).

Which of the following statements best describes your view on using an online estate agent if you were selling a property tomorrow?

  • I would definitely use an online estate agent
  • I would look into it properly and seriously consider using an online estate agent
  • I almost certainly would use a traditional local estate agent but I wouldn’t completely rule out using an online estate agent
  • I would definitely use a traditional local estate agent
  • I would try to sell privately and use neither a traditional nor an online estate agent
  • Don’t know


Gender: Male 45%, Female 54%

Age range: 18-24 2%, 25-34 11%, 35-44 17%, 45-54 23%, 55+ 48%

Social grade: ABC1 65%, C2DE 35%

Region: North 27%, Midlands 16%, East 9%, London 10%, South 23%, Wales 5%, Scotland 8%

Working status: Work full time 47%, Work part time 14%, Retired 29%, Unemployed 2%, Other 8%

The survey question above was part of a wider research exercise into the UK property market by The results reported above were first published on March 22, 2016, from data gathered in December 2015.