For decades homeowners have visited their local real estate agents to sell their properties; there were no other options. Now, a whole new method of property trading has been established in the online world. An influx of online estate agents have burst on to the real estate scene and as you can expect, the entire home selling process now takes place online. Aside from providing customers the comfort of not having to leave their sofa, most also offer a fixed price structure. Homeowner’s gripes with traditional agents usually lay with the percentage they would take from the transaction, this generally beginning at the 1.5% mark and working upwards. The fixed priced model used by online estate agents allows the homeowner to pay a single fee irrespective of the properties asking price. A fee that is usually a lot lower than the cost of a physical estate agent.
Despite the benefits the online estate agents bring to the table, the local estate agents hold a place dear to the people’s hearts, offering a personal touch that cannot be found behind a computer screen. Traditional agents are still at large and probably will be in the near future, but with the internet based agents recently finding their footing it begs the questions: “Which online estate agent is best?”
The success of these businesses can be measured in a number of ways. We’ll consider price to list, number of properties sold, and average length of time taken to sell a property as the general markers of comparative success. We will not consider the letting aspect of these businesses.
The new kid on the block in the real estate world has managed to make quite a splash. Launching their internet based agency a few short years ago, CastleSmart has been on the up and up, selling 475 properties in 2015 all within a 15 day average. Standing as one of the younger platforms in the line-up, the London based company has compensated in price, with their cheapest package at £495. If you’re interested, you can list your home here.
Created as ‘A fair way to sell your home’, HouseNetwork has seen serious growth in the past few years and for good reason. In 2015 this realty business sold 1000 homes, with each property gone within 36 days. Opting for the fixed price for all model, HouseNetwork charge all customers a price of £699 to list their property on the market.
The Queen Beeny of online estate agents has seen her entrepreneurial prosperity rise once again with the phenome that is, Tepilo. One of the leaders in the online world of real estate, owned by celebpreneur Sarah Beeny, Tepilo has seen major success and reported that a whopping 1300 properties were sold last year and all within the first 6 months of listing. Despite growing popularity, Tepilo’s reasonable prices have not faltered, with the smallest package costing £495.
The marketing gurus Purplebricks have slathered their unique brand in every nook and cranny of the United Kingdom. Billboards, TV, Radio, Internet, you name it they’ve done it. However, it’s not been in vain. PurpleBricks have managed to put thousands of properties on the market in the last year alone, with all successful properties being sold in a mere 17 days. Despite most online estate agent models being a low upfront fee, PurpleBricks have opted for the pay after the property has sold scheme and charge between £795 and £1,158 for it.
One of the pioneers in the online estate agent movement began with musings of a humble estate agent who thought of doing things differently. Since their launch nearly ten years ago, they have 4000 properties sold, 1500 coming from last year alone. Even with the financial success, Hatched have stayed competitive on pricing, offering their smallest package for £395.
eMoov are one of the leaders in bringing properties to the market, boasting thousands of listings since their launch and selling an enormous 2381 homes just in 2015. They have also reported that all these properties were sold in the space of 42 days. With great service comes a great price, eMoov’s ‘upfront’ package costs £595, with their ‘pay later’ deal coming close to a thousand.
HouseSimple recently saw its eighth year in business, which came with an investment from Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone. The promise Dunstone saw in HouseSimple has not been questioned; the company sold 942 properties in the previous year, all of which were sold under 22 days. Following suit on pricing, they offer a fixed fee for £495 and a pay later package for £1,295.
A veteran in the online estate agent game, Urban has been around for over a decade and have covered some major ground in that time. Selling well over one thousand properties since their launch. However, their annual figures do not quite stack up to the other competitors as they only sold 500 homes in 2015, all of which taking up to six weeks. While they lack the numbers, Urban have produced innovative pricing models, hosting a fixed fee for £418 and a split fee, which consists of an upfront fee of £118 and a remaining £838 when the property is sold.
Completely juxtaposed to Urban, House Tree is a young pup in the world of real estate who are now making a name for themselves. In spite of their lack of traction, House Tree has still done very well in sales, amassing over 200 sold properties for the year 2015 with each home sold in a few weeks. Out of the agents on the list, HouseTree offers the most variety in packages, ranging from £399 to a recurring £69 a month package.
All of the aforementioned companies are successful businesses in their own right and each would provide a great service to those looking sell or let a property. However, when asking the question “which is best?” it really comes down to preference. Are you looking for the cost effective option or the option which will have your house sold quickly? Do you pay more and go with an established brand or the cheaper up and coming business? It’s on the consumer to go out and research each agent further. The best online estate agent is the one that works for you.