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Mr G, Great Sankey

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Mr B, Burnley, Lancashire

Traditional estate agents no longer the automatic choice to sell homes

Many people are now keen to find easier and more cost-effective ways to sell their houses, meaning that the popularity of online estate agents is on the rise – along with other alternative routes.

High street estate agents usually charge around 1.5% of the selling price plus VAT, but some charge up to 3.5% for a premium service, meaning a hefty bill for the vendor when the sale completes.

By comparison, online estate agents such as Purplebricks and HouseSimple charge a much lower flat fee (often under £500) which is unaffected by the selling price. They also offer round-the-clock services, which many house sellers find much more convenient than struggling to reach traditional agents during office hours (as the sellers are often at work themselves).

It is estimated that around 4% of all UK homes are now sold using  online estate agents. Purplebricks launched in 2014 and already sells around 1500 properties every month, while eMoov is also climbing fast, with 1322 sales in the last year. There are around 40 different companies to choose from, including Tepilo, which is run by TV presenter and property expert Sarah Beeny.

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Online estate agents offer many of the same services as high street agents, such as valuing your home, writing sales descriptions and taking photos – and with websites such as Rightmove making it easy for buyers to browse properties, the need for traditional marketing has reduced. Furthermore, sellers often feel overcharged and poorly assisted by bricks-and-mortar-based agents.

“Online estate agents are fast becoming mainstream and they are only going to become more popular,” said Paula Higgins, chief executive of campaign group HomeOwners Alliance, quoted by This Is Money.

“And this is the High Street estate agents’ own fault. They do nothing to instil trust in their customers and are not transparent about how much they charge. And, as property prices continue to rise, fees will just keep going up.”

Other alternatives to traditional estate agents include property auctions and professional property buying companies, which are particularly useful if you’re keen for a quick house sale. If your home is less appealing than others on the market – due to location, external appearance or quality of decor – it may struggle to attract buyers online or in agency windows and brochures, so a cash offer may be very welcome after months of trying to sell via the usual methods.

Would you like to sell your house without using a traditional estate agent? Ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.

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