The Haigh Report w/e 06FEB16

The Haigh Report appears each week in the Bristol Post and other related publications. Tomorrow’s Report will look like this:

There is much press coverage at the moment over the on-going battle between “High Street” and “online” estate agents. The war of words on social media between representatives from both sides of the fence has, at times, been surprisingly abusive.

So who does offer the best service? Is it the traditional agent who has an office that you can walk into, or the agent whose presence is solely on the internet?

High Street agents argue that they offer local knowledge, accompanied viewings, regular feedback, offer negotiation and sales progression services that effectively “hand-hold” the client from initial valuation through to final completion. And they only get paid on results.

Online agents say that many of those services are unnecessary, as their vendor clients are perfectly capable of showing viewers around their own homes, qualifying whether or not their buyers are able to proceed, negotiating sales, dealing with solicitors, etc. And you usually have to pay their fees up-front with no guarantee of success.

But the thing is; everyone’s rather missing the point. Basically, both styles of business aim to do the same job. They sell property for people. And both are in fact “online”. The fundamental difference between the two modi operandi is down to two things: what level of service does the client want, and how much are they prepared to pay for it.

If you are confident that you have priced your property correctly, if you are used to selling, if you fully understand all the legal implications of marketing your home (eg what certificates do you need, what is involved in complying with Consumer Protection Regulations legislation, etc), then you might relish paying a lower fee to sell your home.

Frankly, you might even decide to dispense with agents altogether and just put an advert in the local paper, or post office window!

If, though, you don’t live in the property so viewings could be awkward, or you don’t like the prospect of random strangers turning up on your doorstep, or you’re not confident about negotiating, or dealing with solicitors, I reckon you won’t mind paying extra to ask a seasoned professional to do all of those things for you.

And, you might just find they achieve a better price for your home too, which could more than make up for the extra fees they charge.

Here’s a thought: why not have a chat with a traditional High Street estate agent about how much they’d charge for the bits of their service you need. A local office offering an online-only presence at a lower cost could be a win-win for you.

I know it’s a conversation I’m always happy to have!<