Battle of the agents: top high street agents outperform online services
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Online agents might shift homes quicker but they lag behind high street agents when it comes to making good on asking prices - and providing vital local knowledge
New research by the Homeowners Alliance (HOA) has revealed that online estate agents are pipping bricks and mortar agents to the post when it comes to sales, but the top tier of high street agents still shine brighter when it comes to prices.
Online and high street agents were compared using the HOA’s EstateAgent4Me tool which revealed that online agents have achieved 95.85 per cent of their asking price. Nationally, the average price achieved is 95.69 per cent which, when added to a typical 1.3 per cent commission, adds up to a saving of around £2,500 for home sellers by going online.
Online agents also came top when it came to speed. On average online agents agreed a sale 40 per cent faster than in the high street in 43 days. Nationally the average home sits in the window for 60 days before a sale is agreed. Yopa performed best when it came to achieving asking prices (97.07 per cent) and fast sales (29 days) with PurpleBricks reaching a success rate of 61.5 per cent.
However, the top 1,000 high street agents reached above their asking price achieving an average of 100.35 per cent of their value. They also perform better when it comes to sales, shifting 82.42 per cent of homes listed, over 30 per cent more than online agents at 51.98 per cent.
Online agents have proven tough competition for the high street in recent years, with the proptech boom fundamentally changing the way in which people search for a property. 70 per cent of those aged between 25 and 34 now rely on reviews before selecting an agent whilst local knowledge is considered the most important factor by 42 per cent, which puts the ball firmly in the court of the high street agents.
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Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said: “The performance of Britain’s online agents is impressive, and it is little wonder that they are shaking up the market. However, EstateAgent4Me’s data shows that there are still higher-performing high street agents out there, if sellers are prepared to invest the time and effort in finding them. Opting for the agent who offers the lowest rates of commission will rarely pay off.
“Sellers who look carefully at their local market before listing their home for sale will probably still be better off instructing the best high street agent in their area. But for those looking for a quick, easy sale with surprisingly high rewards, online agents are an excellent and rapidly-improving option.”
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Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark, commented: “We live in a digital age, and online estate agents may suit some people’s lifestyles. The important thing is choice, as others will always prefer to use a high-street agent as they prefer the face-to-face interaction, so spending time researching the best option is crucial.”
High street agents are often privileged over online agents due to their local knowledge. Online agents operating from nationwide hubs might have limited know-how of the neighbourhood and will usually value the properties on their books using data-based machinery. Agents on the ground can help sellers to find the right price for their property.
Furthermore, since agents working for an online company don’t work on commission, there’s limited incentive to achieve the highest price. It’s the human touch of a bricks and mortar agent that gives them the edge.
Bambos Haralambous, chief operating officer for sales at Goldschmidt and Howland said: “You have asked us to comment on the Homeowners Alliance report which says that ‘top high street agents perform better than online agents when it comes to achieving asking prices’. It is not at all surprising to us that good high street agents perform better because of course we understand that property in non-homogeneous, that every property is different, that the needs of every buyer are more than merely square footage and price. Consequently there is a need for the kind of knowledge that top High Street agents have and which is not replicated by technology.
“Quite apart from knowing which properties are not listed on any database, in real terms, selling a property and the actual sales process only begins once a deal is agreed. Managing the sales process and the emotional rollercoaster succeeds when partnering with an experienced property professional, someone that can truthfully confirm whether that is the best price achievable, why the street is desirable and which schools they would send their own children too.”
So there you have it; if you’re in the market for a move, it’s the on the ground agents who command the upper hand when it comes to local knowledge and getting the best deal for your family.