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Selling Your House Online

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It’s no secret that most people begin their property search online. But selling your home using an online estate agent is becoming increasingly popular, too. Selling online is cheaper than using a high street estate agent, but are there any drawbacks?

This article will look at what to consider when choosing an online estate agent, why people go for them, and the seven steps involved in selling your house online.

Table of Contents

Selling your home through a purely online estate agent

If you’re looking to sell your home, an online estate agent might be a good option. These agents come in different varieties, with some offering only basic listing services, while others provide more comprehensive services such as professional photos, floor plans and even EPCs.

Whether you go for a basic or a more comprehensive option, most will provide an online valuation of your house, advertise it online, arrange viewings (though not necessarily conduct them), and some may even help you negotiate during the offer stage.

The main advantage of online estate agents is that they can be very affordable, sometimes costing just £100 or £200. However, it’s difficult to accurately value a property without seeing it in person.

For instance, an agent over the phone may not be aware that one end of the street may be more desirable than the other or that your property backs onto a pub garden. These are just a few of the many factors that can affect property values.

Selling Your House Online
The main advantage of online estate agents is that they can be very affordable, sometimes costing just £100 or £200.

Step 1: Find an online or hybrid estate agent

Choosing an online estate agent can feel overwhelming; there are YOPA, Strike, and PurpleBricks to name a few. To help you make a decision, we compared the packages, pricing, and ratings of the leading agents in our comparison table. We’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to!

What to check and compare when choosing an online agent:

  • Fees are often the biggest draw of online estate agents compared to high street agents. Our estate agent fees calculator can help you compare prices. Many online estate agents offer starter packages ranging from £0 to £1000 including VAT. Paying upfront can save you the most money, but you can also pay later – though it’s more expensive. 
  • No sale no fee packages are available, but they are usually pricier. Some estate agents also offer deferred payment options, though you’ll have to pay at the 10 or 12-month mark whether your property has sold or not. Often, these payment plans involve a third-party credit or loan agreement.
  • Packages vary from ‘standard’ to ‘enhanced’ or ‘premium’, so it’s important to compare online estate agent prices and packages to get the right package for you. Make sure basic services such as photography, floor plans, advertising on Rightmove and Zoopla, and a For Sale board are included in the package. Any additional services will come at an extra cost, so make sure you’re only paying for what you need.
  • Be aware that ‘extras’ like Energy Performance Certificates, premium listings, social media campaigns, and accompanied viewings can incur extra fees – sometimes expensive ones.
  • Additionally, always ask if the marketing period is fixed or unlimited, as some packages last six months, others a year.

Step 2: Get the right valuation

Getting a good estimate of your home’s value is important. It can impact how quickly you sell your house, and at what price. To get the best understanding of your property’s worth, consider getting three local high street estate agents to come and value it.

Online agents can provide detailed valuation reports, or you could go with a local property expert or agent.

Your local high street agent is probably the best placed to give you an accurate appraisal of the local housing market. Invite them around to assess your property and discuss marketing. You may even be persuaded not to go with an online agent.

It’s essential to get the right valuation. This will ensure that you get the best possible price for your home, and potentially secure a speedy sale.

How to market your property
Depending on the services offered by your chosen online estate agent, they should typically send out an agent to take photos, create floor plans, and generate your Energy Performance Certificate.

Step 3: Start marketing your property

Depending on the services offered by your chosen online estate agent, they should typically send out an agent to take photos, create floor plans, and generate your Energy Performance Certificate.

They can either write up the details of your property for you to review, or you can do it yourself with their online system. Generally, online agents are quite efficient in doing this (normally within a week) and are usually quick to get your property listed on the major portals.

Step 4: Conduct viewings and seek feedback

Usually, you’ll be asked about your availability for property viewings. Online estate agents will use a secure system so that only you and the agent have access to book potential buyers.

The typical approach with online estate agents is that you show people around the property yourself. With the increasing popularity of PurpleBricks and Yopa, hybrid agents that offer an online service accompanied by local property experts to do viewings, other online estate agents are following suit by offering add-on options.

Talk to the agent to find out how many viewings come at an extra cost, who will do them, and how it will work in reality. These packages can get pricey quickly.

Make sure the estate agent asks for feedback from each viewing and passes it on to you. Don’t be afraid to contact your online agent regularly to stay on top of things, particularly if you’re not getting many viewings.

Step 5: Offer negotiation

When making an offer, the online agent should vet the applicant to ensure they have the necessary funds to purchase the property and are in a position to do so.

The agent should provide all of this information and guide you through the negotiation and acceptance process. If you’d prefer to handle this yourself, you can always talk to the buyer directly to negotiate. Selling online should provide you with the flexibility to do so.

How to manage the chain property
You may prefer to handle the process yourself, or you may want the estate agent to take care of everything, including keeping in touch with both sets of solicitors and estate agents down the chain.

Step 6: Manage the chain

Good estate agents should help with sales progression through to completion. But the success of this depends on the quality of the estate agent.

You may prefer to handle the process yourself, or you may want the estate agent to take care of everything, including keeping in touch with both sets of solicitors and estate agents down the chain.

Think about what’s important to you when selecting an online estate agent. Make sure that if you want to stay out of it, they can take the lead and move things along.

Step 7: Exchange and completion

Exchanging contracts is the moment when the sale becomes legally binding and is normally taken care of by your conveyancing solicitor.

You and the buyer should arrange the date of completion – the day the money is transferred and your house is sold – before the day arrives. As most online estate agent packages require an initial payment for marketing, there are no huge commission fees at this point. So it’s time to get the champagne flowing!

We’ve provided the table below to give you a quick overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using an estate agent or selling your home on your own.

Estate agent

Do-it-yourself

Cost

Online Agent: From around £99
Hybrid Agent: From around £599
High Street Agent: Usually around 1.3% + VAT commission

Potentially £0, although you do have to factor in your time.

Advertising

Advertising should be included in the price, and will likely include a listing on Rightmove and Zoopla. In addition, you should also get high-quality photos and a good description of the property.

You cannot advertise on Rightmove and Zoopla as an individual. However, you can advertise on various social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Gumtree and so on. However these could never hope to have the same reach as the biggest two property websites in the UK.

Floor plans

Most will include a floor plan, and accurate dimensions, which can help people understand exactly what they are getting.

You will have to produce the floor plan yourself.

EPC

EPCs are not included in the cost, but you can either get one yourself or arrange one through an estate agent.

You will have to arrange the EPC and ensure it is up to date – you will have to pay for this.

Fielding calls and offers

The estate agent will field all calls and offers and then relay them to you. Also, many online and hybrid agents will have systems allowing you to review buyer offers and more.

You must ensure that buyers can contact you and in many cases, publicly list your phone number.

Chasing up the chain

The estate agent will deal with buyers and sellers in the chain.

You will have to find out where your buyers are in the chain, if there is one, and chase up on a regular basis to ensure the chain doesn’t fall through.

Online options

Online estate agents offer various packages that can fit different budgets. In comparison to high street estate agents who usually charge between 1% and 3%+VAT commission on the selling price, conventional online estate agents usually charge a flat fee ranging from £100 to £2,000.

It is important to pick the right package for you, as some of the cheaper options do not include services such as photography, floorplans and advertising on the major property listing websites.

Some conventional online estate agents offer an option if you pay the fee upfront. However, this carries a risk as there is no guarantee that your property will be sold.

If you need to switch to another estate agency, additional costs will be incurred. Other estate agents provide a no-sale no-fee package, which eliminates this risk but is usually more expensive.

Who should you be advertising your house with online?

The answer is simple: Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation. Why? An overwhelming 98% of buyers use these websites as their first step in finding their next home. Almost everyone who is buying a house will look at one of these property portals at some point in the process.

Rightmove is by far the biggest of the three, with an average of 141 million visits per month. Zoopla comes in second, with 32.4 million, and PrimeLocation is the third largest and is also owned by Zoopla.

Cash buying options

There are many cash-buying companies online that will purchase property for a price below the asking price, usually by 25%. This could be a great option for people who need quick access to cash or are looking to avoid their home being repossessed.

Before deciding on a cash-buying company, it is important to do research on them. Companies House can be used to check their filing history – if it contains ‘registration of charge’ and ‘satisfaction of charge’ entries, they are likely to be legit.

It is worth keeping in mind that the initial valuation may change once the house has been surveyed, so the first price offered may not be the final one.

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