Using an online estate agent can help you sell your home without having to approach a high-street agent. You will still pay fees, but because the service operates via websites and call centres your eventual outlay should be significantly less.
As this sector of the market has evolved, two distinct kinds of online agency services have become available: online-only facilities and hybrid agents. With an online-only estate agent, the seller is left to handle most of the functional work. This includes supplying photos of the property, providing advertising text, fielding enquiries from potential buyers, as well as arranging viewings and negotiating sale offers. However, a number of former online-only agencies have now become hybrid agencies working through a local property expert who is employed to deal with matters such enquiries and viewings and handle offer negotiations.
Below is a quick run-through of what the four largest online estate agents have to offer.
Founded in 2012, Purplebricks are a hybrid estate agency supported by an extensive TV advertising campaign used to characterise the brand’s ‘no commission’ approach. The Purplebricks fees start from £899, except in London and certain neighbouring areas where the basic rate increases to £1,399. The all-inclusive elements of the package include a valuation conducted by a local agent, the provision of a ‘for sale’ board, the preparation of a floorplan and a set of professional photographs as well as the creation of photobooks used to promote the property on social media platforms. The package also features a local property expert who acts as an account manager, arranges viewings, oversees the progression of the sale, and handles the negotiation of offers. Property listings appear on PrimeLocation, Rightmove, Zoopla and other listing sites, though there’s a further fee to pay for ‘premium’ or ‘featured’ listing of your property details, and a fee is also charged for any accompanied viewings.
Yopa began trading nationwide in January 2016 and will sell your property for a flat fee of £839, which rises to £1,399 in certain London boroughs. According to Yopa, their services have gained a customer rating of 9.5/10 on Trust Pilot, and 98% of their clients save more than £3,000 and sell in less than 30 days. All their packages include a free valuation (via a third-party agent); professional photos of your home with a floorplan and ‘for sale’ board; listings placed on Zoopla, Rightmove and PrimeLocation; plus handling of sales progression, viewing arrangements and offer negotiation. As is common practice with hybrid services, Zoopla and Rightmove ‘premium’ listings attract an additional fee, as does arranging accompanied viewings and completing an EPC. Yopa also offer more expensive packages with improved features which include the option to pay on completion – the basic package requires either payment upfront or within 10 months.
Trading in the property market since 2016, Doorsteps.co.uk received a top-five rating from Trust Pilot as recently as February 2019. Up-front selling costs vary from £99 through to £599 according to which of their three service packages you choose. All homeowners will receive an online valuation plus a formal verification visit. Your home details will be uploaded within 24 hours and listed 24/7 on platforms such as Zoopla, Rightmove, PrimeLocation and more. Each Doorsteps.co.uk package incorporates a dedicated Property Account Manager whose job is to progress sales, coordinate viewings and negotiate offers. According to company statistics, they achieve an average of 99% of the listed asking price, and 31 days is the average offer time.
Beyond the basic packages, further payments can add extras and enhanced services. These include elements such as: professional valuations; a comprehensive property description with a 2D floorplan and a set of professional photos; ‘premium listings’ on major platforms; ‘for sale’ signs, hosted viewings, virtual tours and EPC certification.
First launched back in 2007, Housesimple has the backing of Sir Charles Dunstone, founder of Carphone Warehouse, as one of its major investors. Until recently, Housesimple offered a ‘no sale, no fee’ deal which cost £995 and was payable on completion. But since June 2019 the company have switched to a new model which effectively allows homeowners to sell their property for free. However, while Housesimple services were once available nationwide, they are now restricted to just the north of England.
So what’s available in the new Housesimple deal? The basic package offers free property listings, which also includes listings appearing on the Zoopla and Rightmove platforms. In addition, there’s a sale board and a nominated agent to manage the process – which comprises a viewing schedule centrally managed online, together with a comprehensive sales progression facility and the ability to communicate directly with your buyers.
The key to Housesimple’s offering is that they hope to generate an income from their chargeable extras. These include features such as EPCs, a package rate for hosted viewings, and conveyancing referrals.