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Online DIY Agent vs Local Agent

The estate agency industry both for lettings and sales has experienced a lot of change over recent years, with new so called ‘DIY’ or ‘Online’ agents entering the market – they have brought a different dynamic to the industry. Choosing an agent should be a considered and well researched process.

To help you with the decision there are some factors which should be considered:


When you are comparing costs, the initial overall cost seems much higher with local estate agents, however, the additional costs with a DIY agent can build up, they often charge extra for:

  • Professional Photographs
  • Floorplans
  • Viewings

Overall you could end up paying more with a DIY agent than a local one, so do your research – also look out for clauses for extra payments if your house has not sold with a certain period of time.

Quality and Service Levels

When choosing an agent, you need to look closely at what you are getting for you money. Do you get a dedicated point of contact who you can speak to on a regular basis about your sale?

If you like to meet your agent in person, develop a relationship and build trust, you may want to consider whether a local agent is more suitable for you. With an online agent you will often be speaking to a call centre and more than likely it will be a different person each time you call, meaning they will be relying on computer notes to update you on your sale.

Once you have sold, some local high street chains will pass your file onto their call centre / head office to progress your sale, also known as ‘sales progression’, meaning you will be one of many and you will more than likely speak to a different member of staff each time you call.

A local agent will be more aware of local market trends and pricing levels for the area, this increases your chances of selling to the right person at the right time, and for the right price.
You should do your research and check reviews, both online and offline. Take a look at their company website and evaluate your options, the fee should not be the deciding factor it should be the service that you are going to receive.

Often an agent with a higher fee has the skill and approach to achieve and negotiate the best possible price for your home – meaning you could end up financially better off than choosing an agent with a ‘cheaper’ fee, who may only achieve x amount of the asking price.

DIY agents are, more often than not, paid upfront, therefore they have little incentive to see the process through from finding you a buyer to completion. – it is a decision on whether you are willing to do most of the work yourself and whether you are willing to risk listing your property with an agent who does not know the local area.

The below checklist illustrates the key differences between ‘Online’ and ‘Local’ estate agents:At On The Move Property Boutique you have the convenience of being able to call in and see us and talk to the same person face to face about your sale. Selling your home can be a stressful and emotional time, there can be many ups and downs and building a relationship with your agent is fundamental in ensuring the process goes as smoothly as possible. Talking to a call centre and quite possibly a different person each time is not ideal when you are buying and/or selling the biggest asset that you will probably ever own.

Here is a summary of the service we offer at On The Move

For more tips and advice on what you should be asking your agent see our blog ‘16 Questions to Ask your Estate Agent’.

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