If you are thinking of selling your home, you may be considering a DIY online agent. The prices are good, in fact pretty cheap and it is easy to see why some people are drawn to them.
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. The reduced fees certainly seem appealing but when you dig a bit deeper and get under the skin of online agents or DIY agents (as we like to call them), you will see that there is much more to consider. We have pulled together a list of points to consider when selling with a DIY agent.
- Online agents are DIY agents
Generally people know companies such as Purple Bricks and Yopa as online agents, we like to refer to them as DIY agents. This is because they offer a very basic service and many jobs that a traditional estate agent would take care of are left to the seller.
The main reason why someone would choose a DIY agent is because of the attractive fees. Most traditional agents or ‘full service’ agents charge around 1-2% plus VAT for their services. Purple bricks and others alike charge between £500 – £850 plus VAT. On a higher value house, you will save more. It is this reduced fee that sellers are drawn to.
But what do you get for this?
Online agents tend to give you a basic price for a basic service. For instance, most will not include accompanied viewings in this cost. You will either have to pay extra or do the viewings yourself. Many people are not at home during the day so the chance of missing a potential offer because you cannot conduct viewings during the day is a risk. Whereas, a full-service agent will be available to accompany a viewing during all hours of the day, weekends and possibly evenings.
The reason why DIY agents are cheap, is because as a seller you will have to do a lot of the work yourself.
- Lacklustre marketing means fewer viewings.
Take a look at Rightmove and have a nosey at the houses that are up for sale with DIY agents. Their marketing is usually not very inspiring. Take a look at the property images, description and online brochure (if they have one). DIY agents tend to have very basic marketing and usually no brochure at all.
We at Alexander Taylor take pride in our marketing. We know that, to sell a unique, higher end home, it is not simply good enough to stick it on Rightmove and hope for the best. We live and breathe property marketing and only produce images, photography and descriptions that are of the highest standards. It is this unique approach to marketing that grabs viewers’ attention and is why our properties stand out.
Basic marketing will blend into the background and is less likely to attract viewers.
- Basic property photography will not command your viewers’ attention
A DIY agent will usually have a ‘local property expert’ that will take photographs of your home or they will ask you to provide your own. In most cases neither the property expert or the homeowner is a trained photographer.
Property photography is so important in drawing attention to your online property listing. It is your shop window. If it is below standard then you are less likely to get interest in your home.
Here at Alexander Taylor we commission a professional photographer for all of our properties. We use a style called lifestyle photography. Its aim is to capture the attention and the imagination of the viewer. This style of photography is a key ingredient to our success.
- You will have to conduct your own viewings, unless you pay extra
If you choose to go with a DIY agent, you will have to conduct your own viewings. Even if you are available to do your own viewings, showing a potential buyer around a home is a fine art. An estate agent will know how to engage the buyer, build a relationship with them and sell your home to them. They will know what the buyer is looking for and show them how your home can give them the lifestyle that they want.
An estate agent will encourage the viewer to be open with their feedback and they will know what to do with this feedback. Either using it to advise on where improvements can be made to the home (within reason of course) or to overcome any objections the viewer may have.
If a home owner shows the viewer around, the viewer is less likely to feedback honestly and be as open. They may also be a little uncomfortable asking certain questions or having a good look around.
- Is the ‘local property expert’ really local?
While a DIY agent maybe called a local expert, some live miles away from the property’s location. They will have pulled together an idea of what a home is worth by looking at online information. However, you cannot beat the inside, truly local knowledge that a full-service agent will have gained working and usually living in the area for years. It is this inside knowledge that can help guide you and help you achieve a successful sale.
- Hidden costs
There is no denying that DIY agent fees are very appealing. However, whilst you may not pay as much up front, long term it can cost you more.
Check to see what extra costs there are. Usually you have to pay extra for a for sale board, accompanied viewings and floor plan. Where as a full-service agent will include this in their fee. Some DIY agents such as Purple Bricks expect you to pay upfront. If you don’t, and instead defer the payment, then you are signed up to a credit agreement from a lender. This could have an impact on your credit history and rating so ensure that you read their contact very carefully.
Some also state a maximum marketing time for your home. If your house takes longer to sell and exceeds this, you will have to pay an additional fee (upfront) to extend the contact.
- Sales progression
You have not sold your home until contracts are exchanged and signed. This is usually weeks after an offer has been accepted. Many DIY agents do not deal with your sale after the point of offer accepted (unless you want to pay more). Most of them require upfront payment. If they already have their money, where is their incentive to ensure that a sale does not fall through?
The last part of the process, after the offer has been made and the sale is progressing through the conveyancing process, is one of the most sensitive times. There are many agencies – lenders, surveyors and solicitors involved at this point and communication throughout the chain is essential. Most DIY agents have wiped their hands of your sale by this point and any chasing, any communication between parties is down to the seller.
Full service agents are experts at handling this process. Excellent negotiation skills are often needed at this point and estate agents can really come into their own. Managing the process skilfully to ensure the sale progresses as smoothly as possible and any hurdles are overcome is key to getting through the sale.
If you are thinking of selling your home and would like to know more about the service we offer, then get in touch with us today. Call us on 01324 811 233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to talk you through the full service offer we have and about our unique approach to property marketing.
Did you know that Alexander Taylor achieved a level of excellence at this year’s EA Masters Awards? This is the highest level achievable and means that we are in the top 5% of quality estate agents in the UK. If you need some help and advice to sell your home, Alexander Taylor would be glad to assist.