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The Pros and Cons of Using an Online Estate Agent When Buying

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

Whilst there are plenty of pros and cons to using online estate agents as a seller of property, there is generally less consideration for property buyers.

When trying to find their next home, should property buyers be seeking the best estate agents online? Does using an internet-based estate agent make it easier as a property buyer, or does it cause more problems than it’s worth?

We examine the pros and cons of looking to buy a house using an online estate agent.

The pros of online estate agents

There are plenty of reasons for buyers to consider online markets when seeking a new property. From convenience to choice, it’s easy to see why many turn to the digital world for their browsing.

Specific and immediate access

Just like traditional high street agents, most online agencies list their properties on the mainstream, massive property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.

You can search in exact locations using a variety of filters, any of which can range from garden, swimming pool, garage, attic, new build, detached, etc. It’s quick and easy to find the exact properties you want to shortlist and narrow down your selection quickly.

Cutting out the middle man

If the seller has used an online estate agent to sell a property, it’s standard procedure for them to show you around the house when you go to view it. This means you can get the information you require straight from the horse’s mouth, with no need for a middle man.

Make sure you use this closer connection to your advantage, especially if you’re seriously interested in a property. Having a relationship with the seller could help you significantly when it comes to negotiating, or if you find yourself in a gazumping situation.

Instant notifications of new properties

Due to stating your exact criteria, you won’t have to wait for the agency to call you or to tell you a property has been listed that matches your specifications.

Due to the algorithms of online estate agents, any properties that match your demands are instantly sent to you as soon as they’re listed. This means a higher likelihood of being first in the queue for a dream property.

The cons of online estate agents

While there are definite benefits to the online estate agent market, there are definite cons that you should be wary of before venturing into property choices.

Potentially unclear sellers

When looking around a property you found online, always assume that it will be the seller who shows you around. You’re likely to experience hovering over the shoulder and an eagerness to ‘help’ in any way possible.

Expect them to ask your opinion on their home, to make excuses for things that are wrong, and attempts to try and divert your attention away from any problem areas.

Having a professional estate agent show you the property can be a much more calming experience.

Relying on your own searches

When you have questions you need answering, you won’t have a dedicated local agent who knows the area.

Without that intimate knowledge of the market, and without someone to direct your queries to, you’ll need to rely on your own searches and local research.

Online estate agents won’t help you

Sellers are typically charged a set fee by online estate agencies. The services that are included in this fee can vary widely.

So, if the seller is trying to do things on the cheap, expect to have to work harder as the buyer to purchase the property. The online estate agency won’t have the financial or commissioned incentive to provide you with extra help.

Irrespective of who you buy through, ensure you arm yourself with unbiased facts about the property BEFORE you make an offer. Phil Spencer's Property Report contains vital information and guidance on how to use it. Get your property report now.

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