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  1. Blog
  2. GetAgent do not compare online agents: Why?
Online Estate Agents Reviews
28 March 2022

GetAgent do not compare online agents: Why?

Sam Edwards
Senior Writer & Researcher
Why GetAgent do not compare online estate agents

Table of contents

  1. 1. Why we compare high street agents and not online agents
  2. 2. Types of estate agents and their differences
  3. 3. High street agents
  4. 4. Online agents
  5. 5. Hybrid agents
  6. 6. High street agents vs online agents
  7. 7. Why we compare high street agents
  8. 8. Discover the best local agents by comparing with data

Here at GetAgent, our mission is simple. To provide homesellers with a clear path in finding the best estate agent to sell their home.

Thanks to their ever growing marketing budgets and increasing visibility, online agents have developed a big niche for themselves in the real estate market. As a result, homeowners who use our free Estate Agent Comparison Tool often ask why we compare high street and not online agents?

Why we compare high street agents and not online agents

We believe that reliable high street agents offer homesellers a better service than online agents. You can expect to receive a more well-rounded service from a high street agent, as well as some fantastic extras like chain management and ‘no sale no fee’ contracts.

On the other hand, the success of online agents does suggest a demand for their services. Many vendors have reported happy experiences selling with Purplebricks, Strike and Yopa. In terms of the average homeseller however, we believe a high-performing local agent will get you the best home sale possible.

Don’t take our word for it though. Let’s take a look at some of the main differences between these agents.

Types of estate agents and their differences

There are three main types of estate agent:

  1. Traditional high street agents
  2. Online agents
  3. Hybrid agents

The most conspicuous distinction between these is that high street agents have an office or premises in your local area, whereas online and hybrid agents don’t. However, while online agents feature solely online, hybrid agents may have call centres and offices.

Perhaps more importantly, high street agents charge a commission fee for their service at the end of your home sale (usually between 0.75 - 3%), whereas online agents charge an up-front fee before they start marketing your home.

A high street agent’s services include full agent responsibilities, such as valuation reports, marketing, and offer negotiation. Online agents, on the other hand, usually provide a valuation, market your home, and then leave the rest of the work to you.

There’s definitely a lot to take in! If you’re still with us, let’s take a look at the different types of services these agents offer in more detail.

High street agents

As mentioned earlier, the high street agents that you can find with our Agent Comparison Tool have a local branch office that you can walk into. Naturally, this makes them well-informed about the market conditions of your local area.

Most high street agents offer a ‘full’ service with a ‘no sale no fee’ contract, which means that if they’re unable to sell your property, you don’t have to pay them anything. If they do sell your home, they will charge a percentage commission, usually between 0.75 and 3% of the final sale price.

So what’s included in this ‘full’ service?

  • They provide a free report of your property’s market value and can determine the best asking price dependent on the agreed selling strategy.
  • They create a floor plan and take pictures of your home to market online, as well as provide advice on how to best present your property during viewings.
  • They also write a highly detailed sales blurb that positively describes your home’s best features.
  • They upload your property advert to Zoopla, Rightmove and other property portal websites.
  • They arrange and lead viewings of your property with potential buyers.
  • They negotiate a reasonable offer with potential buyers on your behalf.
  • They help encourage and manage the property chain. If the chain breaks, a local agent can prove invaluable.
  • They meet the buyer on the day of completion to provide them with your house keys.

Online agents

Online agents don’t have local branch offices. They, as the name suggests, are completely online. Homeowners with enough free time to lead viewings and field offers, tend to choose an online agent to sell their property.

Online agents provide a tiered service, meaning that the more money you pay, the more your agent will handle.

  • Valuations are usually free. Online agents tend to carry out valuations from over the internet, but can pay experts to visit your property and carry it out in person.
  • Floorplans, pictures and ‘for sale’ signs are usually part of lower tier payment plans, meaning they aren’t classed as additional payments. However, this varies from agent to agent.
  • Again, as part of the lower payment plan, online agents will upload your property advert to either Zoopla or Rightmove. You will probably have to pay more to upload to both, or have a featured listing.
  • Having an agent lead and arrange house viewings is an additional service provided by online agents that you’ll have to pay extra for. Should you choose not to pay for it, you’ll have to arrange viewings yourself.
  • You, the seller must negotiate directly with potential buyers on a final selling price. This can be slightly unnerving for those who are inexperienced with sales - in particular, property sales.

Hybrid agents

Hybrid agents have only really emerged in the last five years, so their role in the industry is still being explored. As a result, they don’t have an official definition. What we can say is that hybrid agents are agencies that offer a blend of high street and online services. To what extent, varies considerably across the industry.

Some hybrid agents were online originally, but have been forced to adapt to homeseller’s wants and needs. Purplebricks, for instance, adopted a Money Back Guarantee back in 2021 in order to compete with the ‘no sale no fee’ contracts that high street agents have always offered. Now, under certain conditions, Purplebricks users can claim their money back (in our review of their Money Back Guarantee, we highlighted that customers must choose Purplebricks’ most expensive service package and allow Purplebricks to market their property for at least 10 months in order to claim money back).

It’s changes like this that blur the lines between online agencies and hybrids.

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High street agents vs online agents

Now we’ve taken a deeper look at some of the key differences between high street and online agents, let’s look at them diametrically. How do they compare to one another?

High street agentOnline agent
Have a physical presence on the high street meaning you have somewhere to call or drop in and meet agents in person.Completely online with everything done over the internet.
‘No sale no fee’ contract at 0.75 - 3% of the property’s final sale price.Tiered service with inexpensive one-off fees for marketing, but little else.
Free in-person valuation report of your property using knowledge of local market conditions and comparable properties.Free online or in-person valuation report of your property. Experts may have local knowledge of the area but may have to do further research.
Floorplans, pictures of your property, ‘For sale’ signs are provided.Floorplans, pictures of your property, ‘For sale’ signs may be included within the first tier of payment, or may require further payment.
Market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla and other property portals.As part of the first tier of payment, online agencies will market your property on either Rightmove or Zoopla. You’ll usually have to pay for one or the other.
Market your property offline to potential buyers who have registered interest in a property like yours.Not included.
Organise and lead house viewings.You usually have to pay an extra upfront fee to get a property expert or agent to lead or organise viewings.
Offer negotiation and progression.Most online agencies leave offers to you to negotiate and progress. Some may take care of the negotiation - but without a stake in the outcome (they’ve already been paid), you might not get the offer you need.
Encouragement and chain communication throughout the transaction. If things go wrong in the property chain, a reliable agent can prove invaluable.Not included.
Delivery of house keys to homebuyer.Not included.

Why we compare high street agents

As you can see from the table above, homesellers can expect to receive a more well-rounded service from high street agents, as well as some useful extras like chain management. Here’s some key takeaways:

  1. High street agents are actively incentivised to sell your property

Courtesy of their ‘no sale no fee’ contracts, high street agents are actively incentivised to sell the property for the highest price possible. If they don’t, they don’t get paid.

Online agents on the other hand, are paid no matter whether the property sells or not. Though many hybrid agents have implemented money back guarantees, these can have particular dependencies, and can easily be violated. If you do choose one, read the small print on their money back guarantee carefully!

  1. They take care of the whole marketing and negotiation process

Some homesellers underestimate how much work marketing and offer negotiation is until it's too late. Organising and advertising open-house viewings, dealing with consequential fall-outs, managing offer negotiations, and fielding buyer queries - these are mammoth tasks that are well deserving of a decent wage.

  1. If the property chain collapses, a high street agent can go a long way

Paying an expert to actively sell your property can prove invaluable should the property chain collapse. After all, you’re not the only one who has a stake in the property. As a result, a high street agent will try their hardest to help you mend the broken property chain and save the sale.

  1. They have valuable offline resources

Thanks to their high street presence, estate agents may have the details of interested buyers who are looking for properties like yours. They could have the contact details of a buyer who missed out on a property like yours just a few weeks earlier. Online agents however, don’t always have the correct channels or establishments for this type of offline marketing.

Discover the best local agents by comparing with data

Though high street agents can offer you a better homeselling experience, that doesn’t mean you should pick any old branch. Like any product or service, you should compare using factual data.

Our free Agent Comparison Tool draws on the latest data from the HMC Land Registry and property portals to compare local agents based on:

  • Most experience selling properties like yours in your area
  • Most likely to achieve your asking price
  • Fastest to sell

Once you’ve compared agents in your area, we’ll give you a shortlist of the six highest-performing agents. Book a free, no obligation valuation with at least three agents to get the best choice possible. When you’ve received your valuation reports, all that’s left to do is to instruct your favourite agent.

How much
is your home worth?

It’s always worth knowing the value of your home. Discover the price of your property with an instant valuation. GetAgent tracks the figures, so you don’t have to.

How much
is your home worth?

It’s always worth knowing the value of your home. Discover the price of your property with an instant valuation. GetAgent tracks the figures, so you don’t have to.

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