High street agents get a 5% better price than onliners in almost three-quarters of cases, claim

High street agents achieve more viewings, more offers, and in almost three-quarters of cases a 5% better price than online-only firms.

The research, from The Advisory – an independent consumer advice group for house sellers – says that internet-only agents are very reliant on the portals to find buyers.

However, it says that while Rightmove generates 52% of viewings, it generates only 36% of offers and 27% of the best buyers.

High street agents generate 48% more viewings, 64% more offers, and in 73% of cases a 5% higher sale price.

On a £250,000 sale, that translates to a loss of £12,500, claims The Advisory, if an online-only firm has been used.

The firm clarified last night that its study was looking at passive intermediaries, versus local estate agents.

The Advisory says that the average UK high street estate agency fee is 1.18% plus VAT.

However, it adds that agents could be selling themselves short – and could be charging up to 4% commission plus VAT and still achieve a better result than an internet-only listing service charging £849.

A total of 202 sales were studied, and The Advisory says it makes no claim that its findings are definitive – just relevant.

It has not clarified the number of sales that went through online or high street agents, but  yesterday evening stressed that the research was largely into ‘passive intermediary’ versus ‘proactive local estate agent’.

The research was very quietly published on its own website by The Advisory in August, and has so far not been picked up by any other media.

It is part of a series of ongoing guides, the result of research over two years.

An earlier section of it queries the wisdom of sellers using online agents on the basis that professional house sellers do not.

It says that professional sellers include builders offering part exchange, corporate asset managers, and banks disposing of repossessed properties.

The research says: “Interestingly, we don’t know of any that use cheap online estate agents.

“Instead, they choose to put their sales in the hands of local, no sale no fee, high street estate agents.”

The Advisory is run by Gavin Brazg, who says that he is also a professional seller, managing a team which buys and sells houses on behalf of corporate relocation companies and developers offering part exchange.

He says that what he pays annually in estate agent fees is “not insignificant”.

However, estate agent fees are not his primary concern.

Instead he focuses on a “walkaway figure – the amount of money received from a sale after the cost of selling has been deducted”.

He says that sellers who do sell through an internet agent could be “stepping over the pounds to pick up the pennies”.

The latest guide is here:

https://www.theadvisory.co.uk/estate-agents/online-vs-high-street/

Its methodology is at: https://www.theadvisory.co.uk/estate-agents/online-vs-high-street/#anchor-7

EYE wants to be balanced in our coverage: we are neither nor against different agency models and simply report on the information made available to us, or that we find.

If readers can point us to wider or other information we will be very grateful.

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51 Comments

  1. Countrybumpkin

    Too many (including ourselves) rely on rightmove when it is becoming more and more apparent that the portals are just a vehicle to direct traffic. More often than not the viewer was first inspired from another advertising source ; whether that is Facebook, local rag, a board or glossy magazine, generally the interest will pursue their search for that property on a portal next. I am probably stating the obvious, but then again, perhaps not!

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    1. Robert May

      Negotiators up and down the land have delegated their primary  function to the portals. With no-one else to hand the work down to the portals provide  sales staff a convenient source of viewing and offer ready applicants.

      As the market hardens up for everyone it’s time  for agents to understand their own actual needs rather than their perceived needs

      Being on the portals is a perceived need that’s reinforced by staff who would have to work a bit harder without them.

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  2. Leespoon

    And the award for…. ‘the truth will out’ goes to…

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    1. PeeBee

      Or, as I’m trying to get the message over on Tw@tter, to put another, slightly more relevant way…

      #TRUTH_IS_COMING_HOME

      I’m hoping it will catch on.

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  3. Rich@redhomes

    Not true in my area.

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    1. Leespoon

      What area are you in…. catering?

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      1. surrey1

        Ha

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      2. sanctuary45

        Hahahahaha

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      3. agent orange

        That actually made me laugh out loud!

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        1. Mothers Ruin

          I nearly choked on my biscuit ha ha

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      4. Property Poke In The Eye

        Lol

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        1. Rich@redhomes

          I do like cooking….How many lemmings?

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    2. Robert May

       Last saturday I was speaking to someone who has a property that needs selling in Honiton,  when asked who she was  considering you didn’t get a mention.
      You possibly do a fantastic job and get great results but if vendors aren’t aware of you, what can you do to change that?
       

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      1. Rich@redhomes

        Hi Rob, unfortunatley not everyone in Honiton has a brain….
        I am happy earning £100k working from home, if nots broken etc

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  4. Richard247

    Gave Rightmove 30 days notice last week, not one call from them ,only a email telling me not to show there logo after the 30 days going with OTM and Zoopla wait and see

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    1. Robert72

      Today’s Spartacus.  Welcome.

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    2. Property Poke In The Eye

      You will see no difference.  Well done.

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  5. JVSOZ

    I’d agree with that!

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  6. Chris Wood

    It’s a small sample but, it makes for interesting reading and Gavin has an excellent reputation. Watch this space.

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  7. davehedgehog

    Interesting that we achieve a higher sales price.

    I am currently producing a leaflet with these stats on it and will add this twitter link to the leaflet and post it through all the current properties using online agencies in my area.

    https://twitter.com/LouLou2109/status/1059507573949382656

     

    It’s a bit naughty I know but I’m just fighting fire with fire.

     

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    1. Gavin Brazg

      @davehedgehog Happy to provide you with a print & web friendly graphic. Email: info@theadvisory.co.uk (no cost).

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    2. PeeBee

      davehedgehog

      How’s about adding these to your flyer?

      uk.trustpilot.com/reviews/5be1df669d3780097ce0263d

      uk.trustpilot.com/reviews/5be302af9d3780056884f2b8

      You know it would be rude not to… ;o)

      (and I would suggest you take screenshots of them for later proof – before the #NUKE_SQUAD have their wicked way!)

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      1. davehedgehog

        Done – Going to need bigger envelopes!

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        1. PeeBee

          It’ll be worth the investment, matey!
           
          There’s more where they came from.  MUCH more.
           
          You could just put it all on a DVD…
           
          …or six.

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  8. Ric

    ARGH… “However, it says that while Rightmove generates 52% of viewings, it generates only 36% of offers and 27% of the best buyers.”

     

    RM may end up with the call coming via them, or a hit on a website, but how many of the 52%, actually noticed the “For Sale” sign and then went on Rightmove when they got home. Thus Rightmove was the way they wanted to see more info NOT the actual initial lead source.

    This is the frustrating thing, that often even our own For Sale signs still drive traffic to RM because they just automatically go to RM and RM take credit for a “lead”.

     

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    1. Robert72

      And that’s been a point I’ve made to vendors I’ve spoken to since leaving RM last week.  RM has become the default route for finding info for many.  We even had a vendor call yesterday who said he’d tried find our number on RM.  He’d had letter and email last week about us leaving but not registered it.  Completely fine when explained to him.  He’s been a vendor for months but still was using that to find our number.  We need to drive that bahaviour change and coming off is the only way.

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      1. ARC

        “He’s been a vendor for months” lucky him, let’s hope OTM works better for you!

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        1. Robert72

          There are always some properties that aren’t going to sell quickly because of what and where they are.  Sometimes its price and sometimes you need to work at it a while to find the right buyer.  I’m not running a factory I’m looking after clients, thats the joy of being an independant and not corporate where stats are everything.  They key is whether you are still looking after your clients months down the line as well as you did at the start.

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          1. ARC

            I might not sell your house but I will keep in touch to remind you of the fact that I haven’t   

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            1. Robert72

              Or I just keep telling them to drop the price.  Every property is different, some more than others and every client has different needs.  Some need to sell quickly and others prioritise the price they want or need to get. Our job is to tailor what we do to fit their requirments-or at least that’s how I see it.  The attitude you suggest is why many agents stop calling clients after a few weeks, they become embarrased and the service level and their reputation drops accordingly.  Thats when they fail.  If I know that I am doing everything I can and presenting a client with options and listening to their needs I have no problem picking up the phone and ringing them.  And thats how I do it, by phone not hiding behind some auto generated update.  To take a while to find the right buyer and get the right price isn’t failing, failing is putting my desire for a quick sale (and yes we all like those) ahead of whats right for the client. 
              You hang onto your cynicism ARC, I hope it keeps you warm at night, I’ll keep doing what I believe to be the right thing.

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              1. ARC

                I didn’t say you were failing you said that. I find that an interesting turn of phrase for you to use.
                I also never expressed an opinion on whether you were doing a good job or not you have chosen to extract that.
                This is a cynical site so I understand that

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                1. Robert72

                  That comment combined with your first one and even the one below on RM leads (the number of leads we get where we get no response to our email and phone follow ups is significant-but we do chase them all) suggests a simplistic view of what it is we do.  Very few really understand it until they’ve given it a go.  All agents on here will have had starts ups in their patch who suggest that because they’ve bought and sold properties they know how fix the system and do it better, some of us may have even been one once upon a time.  The call centre lot are just the most shouty of them.  Its an imperfect system but if we do our job well it makes it that little be easier for the clients we act for and gets the result they want.  Many of us on here find it a  useful place to exchange views and pick up information, I’m sure that there are other forums where your cynicism and wit would would find a more welcome audience.  You obviously have some industry knowledge, ever been at the coalface?

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                  1. ARC

                    Yes thanks 16 years and counting so I have a little understanding and as it goes you sound a stand up proper agent doing a good job.   Sometimes I like a wind up.

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                    1. PeeBee

                      “Sometimes I like a wind up.”
                       
                      **BREAKING NEWS**

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    2. PeeBee

      EXACTLTY, Ric!
       
      When advertised in my local paper, property ‘clicks’ spiked by usually as much as 50% for the next couple of days.
       
      On the rare occasion that we put a board up some time after instruction, I noticed a similar spike.  Oh – and calls, via the RM site number… “I’ve just seen your board on such-and-such…”. 
       
      What always used to get me with those – is why didn’t they use the number on the bl00dy board?!!

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    3. AgentV

      Ric
       
      RM may end up with the call coming via them, or a hit on a website, but how many of the 52%, actually noticed the “For Sale” sign and then went on Rightmove when they got home. Thus Rightmove was the way they wanted to see more info NOT the actual initial lead source.
       

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      1. AgentV

        Ric  
         
        It appears my comment about using ‘For Sale’ boards that direct people to your own website appears to have been removed (possible because I put a contact email). For clarification, I wasn’t selling or promoting anything, I was just going to pass on an idea to help. Still happy to do so, so if you want to contact me tweet me….I should be easy to find.
         
        BSOS23PC 

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  9. cyberduck46

    Not sure it’s really an objective study. Looking at sales purely from the viewpoint of a traditional agent.

     

    Two categories:

     

    Category 1: Applicant requested to view the property directly from a portal listing
    Category 2: Estate agent suggested / encouraged the applicant to view the property

     

    What about those who don’t fit into either category? I imagine they go in category 2.

     

    When I was looking for properties I got into the habit of finding properties in RM and then phoning the Agent directly. I can’t remember why but there was something that put me off when I phoned the RM phone number.

     

    Also, how many people see a local property in RM or receive an email alert from them and then go and drive past? Then phone or go into the Agency.

     

    The logic that the lower quality leads come from the portal doesn’t necessarily relate to a property listed with an online agent either. Inverse logic is being applied. You can’t register with online agents so you just can’t draw conclusions from a study of sales that includes traditional agents only. For online agents, do all the high quality homebuyers become low quality just because they go through RM? Do high quality buyers limit themselves to properties listed with traditional agents? I don’t think so.

     

    Then throw into the equation the fact that 40% of High Street Agents ignore their emails. What effect does that have?

     

    If you’re an Agent keeping this type of data you really need to be sure you ask buyers what the route to you was. Even if they’re on your list, did they initially come to you via RM? I’ve never been asked when I phone up an Agent.

     

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    1. Robert May

      Well done on displaying the  big hole  in your understanding and your ability to think things through.  You have expressed an opinion and contradicted yourself in a single paragraph, good one!

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    2. MarkRowe

      40% of high streets ignore their emails!?

      Where did you get that figure from?

      Just to add a constructive comment rather than waffle on like ducky above…

      The key to this is holding the property off Rightmove for 24/48 hours, use your customer databases effectively by calling and matching them with your branding and your message before it hits the portals. It will encourage negotiators to pick up the phone and also stop buyers being directed to Rightmove first.

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      1. ARC

        It’s a well known fact from Rightmove’s own annual mystery shop that circa 40% of the email enquires that get sent out get absolutely no response at all from the agent.

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        1. MarkRowe

          Remember that will include online only agents who are WELL KNOWN for not getting back to people. 

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          1. ARC

            Don’t disagree with that.
            Though most have an automated email response allowing you to book your viewing on the website so would get dealt with. 
            Not my preference though  it must be said.

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      2. AgencyInsider

        RM has been telling us for years (long before ‘online agents’ got popular) that there are a huge amount of enquiries unanswered by agents. It really isn’t a new phenomenon and in my view it stems from agents employing staff who think the world exists only on a computer screen and who are then never trained in what proper agency is all about. Bad management, not bad staff. ‘Customer Service’ is the most over-used and least understood expression in Agency. Too many agents say it but don’t deliver it.

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      3. ringi

        The last time I brought a property most agents ignored emails, or phone me up without first finding the information I was asking for in my email.

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        1. Woodentop

          Agree but you did get a phone call.

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    3. Ostrich17

      Not sure it’s really an objective study. Looking at sales purely from the viewpoint of a traditional agent.
       
      I am sure you have anecdotal evidence based on your own sale using PB, and purchase through a traditional agent –
       
      What % of your original sales price did PB achieve?
      Answer: Less than 90% 🙁  
       
      What % of your purchase price did the TA achieve?
      Answer: More than 100% 🙂  
       
      Did you do your own negotiation – or did you rely on your LocalPropertyExpert?      

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    4. Woodentop

      This has to be the best jibberish todate … I don’t know what I am talking about, I clearly don’t understand how estate agents work, I presume and will have my say, I have a biased dislike for agents and no matter what, I want to keep supporting my sinking ships on the internet because i’m going to loose all my share value. Talk about head in the sand.
       
      Cyberduck, what is a hot box? A clue, you won’t find it on the internet.

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  10. Woodentop

    However, it adds that agents could be selling themselves short – and could be charging up to 4% commission plus VAT and still achieve a better result than an internet-only listing service charging £849.

     

    All in the mind, but who’s? If you know your own market and strategy, you will knock the spots off any on-line agent. Do you think you will always gain every instruction? No, never ever happened, the same principle applies to on-liners. They have tried with their cheap fees and what percentage of the market after all their media campaigns achieved. What this article does raise, as many people seem to have forgotten, internet-only agents are very reliant on the portals to find buyers and re-active, not proactive. How many sales have you made before a property has even gone onto the internet and how you were able to do it? Would you ever achieve 4% commission…. good luck on that! Agents who went hybrid will never be forgiven by vendors or agents when they try to put their fees up, they will be the next casualty.

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  11. Rollo

    Really

    it depends how you define online agents !

    all agents have websites, so all agents are online.

    i aggree that upfront fee budget agents like PB have no incentive in achieving the best price for their clients but they are not alone.

    A lot of the big names in high street chain agents often use the power of their brand to win instructions without trying to challenge the market or get the best price for their client .

    We recently sold a property on Cleveland square in W2 london for £200k more than the big brand international agent with a green and red logo sold an indentical one for at the same time .

    The difference: we charged our client 1% they charged their client 2%.

    We worked extra hard getting the best out of the buyer, they just opened doors and convinced their client that their bid was the best on the table or would get in this market.

    online does not always = with discount .

    LINK REMOVED – PROPERTY INDUSTRY EYE TERMS & CONDITIONS #6. Users posting comments on the site may not post direct hyperlinks to other websites and especially may not do so by use of their username. Users may not use comments to promote a service or business.

     

     

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  12. Derek4049

    A sample-size of 200 has an error margin of +/- of 7% as standard.

    The headline is really misleading with this news article and you’d expect better from the trade press

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