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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

Why you should never use an online estate agent

Why you should never use an online estate agent

Why you should never use an online estate agent

Online estate agents have been receiving a lot of publicity lately, but not for good reasons. There has already been one casualty, Doorsteps just disappeared and their clients were left high and dry. Upfront fees amounting to tens if not hundreds of thousands, paid in good faith by sellers, who have now lost their money.

The domain name is for sale _

At the other end of the scale, there is Purplebricks, who have also raised alarm bells recently, with several announcements, including a large laying-off of their team.

PURP GBX 13.38 (▲2.96%) Purplebricks Group PLC _ Google Finance

Meanwhile, their share price has absolutely collapsed this year, with several large investors, including a fund which has bought 5% of their stock, raising concerns.

When you instruct an online agent, you are not only paying a not insignificant fee in advance, but what are you actually paying for? In reality, you are paying for an advert and as many sellers have discovered at their cost, an advert on its own, doesn’t normally sell their home. This is why Purplebricks and for that matter, most online estate agents, do not reveal accurate figures of the sales agreed through their platform. On the contrary, what they do is take credit for sales that have been generated by high street estate agents, after their sellers tire of waiting and go on to instruct a traditional agent.

There is so much involved in the process of taking an enquiry through negotiation, to an offer and then through progression, the odds of making it to the finish line, without a professional chasing it up are a fraction of what they would be if you were to be represented. I would go so far as to say that you have reduced your chances of completing a sale by as much as 90%.


Whilst there may be many reasons in the mind of sellers why they do not want to pay an estate agent, I would urge you to consider that there are some very good estate agents, most of them do not work for the corporate national chains, but they do go above and beyond for their clients and most importantly of all, they only get paid on results, not on a promise.

Having said that, the same advice I have repeated time and time again, still applies:

Do not sign a ‘sole selling rights agreement’ and do not pay upfront fees.

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