Posted on Thursday, November 8, 2018

Sale prices through online estate agents are lower in 75 per cent of cases according to new research

One of the first independent studies into the performance of online property portals compared to high street estate agents has found that those using online services typically have fewer viewings, poorer offers and a lower final selling price.

The study by independent consumer advice group The Advisory has found that high street estate agents typically achieve a 5% higher sale price than online-only firms.

The research also looked at the way buyers use Rightmove and discovered that although the property site generates 52% of viewings, it is only responsible for 36% of offers and 27% of the best buyers.

In contrast, high street estate agents generate 48% more viewings and 64% more offers in addition to a higher selling price.

The Advisory says that on a £250,000 property, this equates to a loss of £12,500 from using an online-only firm.

Active estate agency versus passive online intermediaries:


Many people are attracted to online house selling services because they see it as a cost-effective way to sell a property. This study demonstrates that the money saved through the agent’s selling fee is more than wiped out by the low sale prices achieved by online services. In fact, The Advisory suggests that most high street agents could charge a commission of 4% and still earn their customers more money from their sale. 


Online selling services appeal to a new generation of movers who prefer to conduct as much of their communications as possible online. However, the research has demonstrated that the lack of personal contact between buyer, seller and agent actually results in fewer viewings and lower offers. This is a crucial point of difference. At FSS, for example, our level of customer service is award-winning. We were tested by mystery callers from the British Property Awards and our team was found to be helpful, informative and offer an outstanding level of service and personal attention that exceeded that of other high street estate agents in our region as well as online portals.


Many online portals are known for introducing sellers to legal and other house moving services once a sale has been agreed. They often earn a commission from such introductions, whereas high street agents tend to recommend local companies that they have worked with personally and can vouch for. Good, proactive high street estate agents will also liaise with solicitors, surveyors and other professionals, managing any issues that arise and undertaking further negotiation where necessary. At FSS, one of our most valued points of difference is the fact that we manage a sale right through to completion, not just until the sold board goes up.


The research carried out by The Advisory found that professional sellers such as property developers, builders offering part exchange, corporate asset managers and banks do not tend to use online estate agents.  They prefer to trust local, high street estate agents who have a sound knowledge of the local property market and can provide accurate valuations and expert negotiation to achieve the best price. At FSS we have almost decades of experience in the local market across residential sales, lettings, auctions and commercial. This gives us an unrivalled knowledge of the market and the expertise to be able to value accurately and secure the best possible selling price. We also have our own in-house survey department, making us the only estate agent in Harrogate to cover all five areas of property specialism. 

One other key point of difference between FSS and other agents is that we operate a no commission model which encourages staff to get the best price for a client rather than just doing a deal to earn their commission.

For a free no-obligation valuation of your property, for sale or rent, call FSS’s award-winning team on 01423 501211.

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