Online versus High Street estate agent: a henshaws' case study

Moving house is an expensive business. The costs associated with the move, such as estate agents’ fees, solicitors’ charges, stamp duty on the purchase property and removal companies, can really add up. It is understandable that home owners might seek to contain moving expenses.

Also, for most people, their home is their biggest asset and of course they seek to maximise the potential value in that asset. 

In this digital age, the opportunities to save costs by using online agents are tempting for some as, on face value, the service offered appears similar to that of the High Street agent.  

The main reason vendors opt for an online agency is that they are cheaper than high street estate agencies. Pure and simple.  

What is not clear, is whether they get value for money.  

According to our recent clients, Mr and Mrs A from Effingham Junction, “You get what you pay for”

Mr and Mrs A had decided to go down the online agent route to sell their £925,000 home.

They paid upfront fees to the agent and waited. And waited. In fact they waited for 3 months with the agent they now describe as ‘disinterested’. No joy on the sale of their property.

Disillusioned and frustrated they came to see us at henshaws, deciding to remarket their home in the traditional way, at the same asking price.

Thirteen days later a sale had been agreed at close to the asking price, and proceeded to exchange and completion.

With fees already in their pocket what incentive did the online agent have to sell the property?

Estimates vary as to the actual percentage of online estate agent instructions ending in sale amidst calls for greater transparency.

As a local independent agent with offices in Bookham and Horsley, our reputation is paramount. We cover only a relatively small area of Surrey, with the benefit that we have built up a depth of knowledge about the area over the years.

It is this local knowledge that enables us to pick up the phone to potentially interested buyers, knowing where we might make a match.

Of course we also email out details and we use the online tools, displaying the property on our website and the property portals, such as Rightmove and Onthemarket, as well as maintaining a presence on social media. But we don’t rely on any this to get the viewings alone. It is the personal touch that makes the difference. 

Once an offer has been made and accepted, the team are proactive in liaising with all parties - vendor, applicant and both solicitors - to keep the sale on track to exchange and completion. The vendor can clearly see what they are getting for their money. 

Of course we would say this wouldn’t we? But don’t take our word for it. 

In the words of Mr and Mrs A: 

“henshaws’ local knowledge was invaluable in closing our sale and seeing it through to completion.”