When it comes to selling your home, it can be tempting (mainly due to the cost savings!) to do it online, but what does this actually involve? The answer is a little more complex than you might think, mainly because there are several ways to sell your home online.
Online estate agents are thriving
Since 2012, there has been an explosion in the number of online estate agents in the market, with these agents generally charging low up-front fees. Some are purely online, so everything happens through an online portal and as a consequence you likely won’t ever meet an agent on the ground. In some cases, you must write your own property descriptions, take your own photos and market the property yourself.
What these lower-cost options offer however is the opportunity to get on one or both of the major property portals, Zoopla and Rightmove. This gets your property seen by potentially millions of people.
They may also offer some form of negotiation with prospective buyers, but they rarely offer anything more.
However, there are also ‘hybrid’ estate agents, who offer much the same service as a high street estate agent but with the same fixed-fee structure. These hybrids charge a little more than purely online agents — but typically less than the average high street estate agent — which results in you keeping more money from each property sale.
This is perhaps the most practical way to sell your home online, but there are others.
‘We buy your property now’ sites
We buy your property now sites typically offer to buy your property fast. They may be suited to people who need to sell the home rapidly to avoid bankruptcy or repossession, but you will often pay a substantial fee to do so. Think around 10 to 25% of your home’s value.
Very few of these sites actually buy your property; instead they market your property to a selection of investors, who then make offers on the property. These offers might be similar to the offer originally made, or they might be substantially lower, and all of this process takes time. Some have reported being offered significantly lower-than-quoted values several weeks in when they have no other options.
Any site that offers an instant valuation cannot take into account other factors. A major infrastructure project nearby could raise or lower the value, or there may be issues with the property itself, resulting in a much lower value.
In addition, they may not be as fast as they promise. Much of the delay in the house buying process is down to the need to make mandated searches and get documents signed.
What about property portals?
We mentioned Rightmove and Zoopla earlier, but if you think that you can just upload your own property to one of these portals then think again! They also don’t sell your house directly; you need to go through an estate agent for that. There are other property portals, such as OnTheMarket, but they have significantly less market share than the big two — Zoopla and Rightmove combined have around 96% of the market share in the United Kingdom. Local property portals can be useful, however, especially s1homes in Scotland.
So which option is for you?
It really depends! If you’re desperately in need of selling your home quickly then you might want to consider a ‘We Buy Your Property’-type website, although be sure to read up on the pitfalls beforehand and make sure you know what you’re getting yourself in to.
For most other people, hybrid estate agents like Purplebricks and Yopa tend to be the best option since they mirror the same services as a traditional estate agent, but at much lower costs.