How can you do all that for that price?

As an internet-only estate agent, we’re often asked questions by either would-be clients or even friends down the pub about how we make such a large transaction as selling your home work online. Of course, in this profession, we get the usual leg-pulling but there are some recurring questions we hear quite often – so we thought, why not answer them in a blog?

Pull up a chair, imagine you have your favourite tipple in your hand and we’re perched on the bar stool next to you, and the conversation might go something like this:

Why don’t you have an office on the High Street?

First of all, it costs more – and the more it costs, the more we have to charge our clients in order to stay in business. Also, town centre buildings are often not ideal as they were not originally designed as offices and can be cramped and difficult to adapt.

Lastly, we don’t believe anywhere near as many people browse estate agents’ windows for property these days. Why would they when they can do exactly the same on their laptop at home or even on their smartphone on the train?

Why don’t you advertise in the local press

Again, it’s a matter of cost versus potential result. Since the advent of the internet, fewer people read local papers and, although many will mourn them, it isn’t a trend we see reversing.

The first generation to have never known life without the world wide web left school two or three years ago and, in ten years’ time, will probably be in middle management and looking for property of their own. They won’t be scouring the printed media for the home they want. They’ll be looking online.

If you’re selling property, we’re convinced that’s where your home needs to be.

Why can’t I usually speak to you face-to-face?

Erm … you can. Just because we’re not on the high street it doesn’t mean you can’t drop in to see us if that’s what you would prefer. Okay, as online estate agents, we may not be just around the corner but we are real people with real lives, families and homes of our own. We’re not robots. Promise.

In that case, why won’t you help me with viewings?

Actually, we can, no matter where you are. If you’d prefer to have someone with you when someone comes to have a look at your home, we can arrange that. We’ll make sure they’re fully-briefed and ready to highlight your home’s best selling points.

We’ll contact you afterwards with any feedback from potential buyers, let you know if any offers are being considered and, if you’d like us to, we’ll deal with any negotiations too.

Why do I have to pay you up-front?

Again, you don’t. If you’re on a budget we do offer an up-front package where you pay us £595 in advance and we take care of everything else.

However, if you prefer, we also offer an on-completion deal, where you pay us £1195 once your home is sold. If it doesn’t, you pay us nothing. Simples, as a certain Russian meerkat might say.

But how can you sell my property if you don’t come to see it?

First of all, the person who knows your property best is you. Some estate agents like to pretend there’s some mystical dark art to selling a house – largely to justify a hefty commission – but, to be honest, you will always know more about your home then they do.

Of course, an estate agent needs to have a good feel for what property is selling for in your area and what constitutes a reasonable asking price. They need to know what the majority of buyers like to find – decent broadband, a modern kitchen, gardens with decking and a shed, a good school nearby and so on. Equally, they can advise you on things you can do to enhance your home’s “buyability”.

But, these days, even a quick search on Google will provide you with similar tips. Estate agents’ jargon can sound impressive and thoughtful pauses in response to your questions can give an impression of profound knowledge – but don’t forget you are by no means powerless or ignorant. Be confident in what you know to be the good selling points about your home, practice talking about them and, to be honest, you won’t go far wrong.

When it comes to selling property, there’s no denying instructing an estate agent can make your life easier – especially if you lead a busy life to begin with and don’t want to be bothered with the added stress of arranging viewings, haggling with potential buyers or chasing up solicitors. But don’t forget, if an estate agent is to do a good job, the most important input comes from you; it makes no difference if they’re based on the high street or online.

You pays your money and you makes your choice, as the saying goes. The only thing you need to be sure of is that it is the right one for you.

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