85% of homeowners are willing to consider using an online estate agent, according to research by netanagent.com
With the increased competition in the marketplace from online agents, the survey reveals that a staggering 96% of homeowners would compare estate agents’ fees and services online if they could, to help decide which agent to use when selling a property.
Despite this trend, there is still a clear appreciation for the services offered by traditional agents, with reasons to not use an online agent including a desire to 'speak to people face to face when dealing with big decisions' and for 'local people to sell my house in the local area'.
The survey findings also reveal the challenge that estate agents face when convincing UK homeowners of their value. Only 18% of homeowners view estate agents as ‘helpful’ and 20% view them as ‘knowledgeable’, with nearly a fifth (35%) thinking estate agents are ‘pushy’ and 30% perceiving them as ‘poor value for money’.
When choosing an agent, fee is the most important deciding factor (56%), with personal recommendation a close second and local knowledge and responsiveness also ranking highly. Crucially, however, findings show that homeowners expect a lot for their money with a quarter (25%) expecting to pay as little as 0.5 – 1.0% fee to cover all estate agency services, in comparison to the national average of 1.1%.
As part of the fee, consumers expect services such as photography (52%) and the listing of their property on property portals such as Rightmove (49%) to be covered, with 10% even expecting the running of open days, 6% video marketing services and 10% virtual tours to all be included as standard.
Interestingly, despite wanting to pay a low fee, 38% of consumers expect estate agents to provide support and guidance from valuation to completion as part of their service.
netanagent.com managing director, Alex Thorpe, commented: “Estate agents have often come under the cosh in the past and are an easy target for consumers who think they aren’t getting value for money as part of one of the biggest sales or purchasing decisions they will ever make. With more savvy consumers who are willing to shop around and the rise of online and hybrid estate agents enabling sellers to do more themselves, the pressure is really on to show people that they are getting value for money.
“What’s clear from our research is that homeowners don’t necessarily understand the sheer amount of work that goes into selling a property. From local knowledge and an understanding of the marketplace, to an awareness of what a target audience is looking for and an understanding of how best to promote property, estate agents work very hard for their fee to deliver the best price for a homeowner. There is a real need for estate agents to better promote the value they can bring consumers so sellers can truly understand the best estate agent for their needs.”