Michael Hardy Blog, News & Updates

Full-Service High Street Estate Agents vs Online Estate Agents – Part One

25 July, 2018

In years gone by the only way to sell your property was by using a high street agent, but these days, with more options available on how to sell your property, it can be a daunting prospect. In reality though it needn’t be that complicated. Unless you have already chosen to buy a new-build house, and are going down the part exchange route, you have a choice of selling through a high street agent or using an online agent. There are also companies out there that will instruct an agent on your behalf, but why add this extra layer of expense and complication into the equation when you can deal directly with the agent?

Typically, the big dilemma for most people looking at the alternatives is: Do I use a full- service agent or try an online agent? In the first of our two-part blog, we are going to look at the high street agent.

What is a high street estate agent?

A high street estate agent, like Michael Hardy, will offer you a full range of services, and will go far beyond listing your home on the property portals and expecting to be paid once the job is done and completion has taken place. High street agents have a physical office that you can visit and pop into to discuss how the marketing of your property is progressing and once it is sold subject to contract, or under offer as it’s also referred to, how the sale is coming along.

At Michael Hardy we pride ourselves on the expertise and professionalism of our agents. All of us have lived and worked in the area for a number of years, so our local knowledge is excellent, and having bought and sold many houses ourselves, our team understands the process from the perspective of both the agent and the client!

Estate agents near you often have the best local knowledge

The familiarity a high street agent has with the local area is important not only in terms of the market appraisal of the house in the first instance, but also when we are proactively calling our database of clients about your property. This in itself is a major difference to the approach of a reactive online agent who only lists your property for sale. We talk to our clients on a regular basis so that we can fully grasp what sort of property they are looking for, and that’s when our understanding of the neighbourhood, the schools and amenities works in our favour. It allows us to match buyers with the houses we have available and discuss properties they may otherwise have missed or discounted. Having the expertise of a high street estate agent to identify the benefits of a property and match it with the needs of a registered buyer is invaluable. This is especially important in a market, in our area for example, where we have nearly three times the number of properties available for buyers to choose from than the same time last year.

Viewings made easier

 

Like most high street agents, Michael Hardy accompany viewings. This has many benefits. For the sellers it means that you can go about your normal day-to-day routine without having to be home to conduct the viewings, and we will always try to be sensitive to your home and work life to make sure we are inconveniencing you as little as possible. It also helps to separate your personal feelings about your home from the business transaction of selling your property. From a buyer’s perspective, they tend to be more relaxed when looking round a property with an agent and can speak more freely about any potential alterations that they would make without worrying about offending the owners. It also means that if an applicant shows any buying signals we can start discussing potential offers immediately.

One of the more frustrating parts of this process for sellers is receiving the feedback from the viewings. We understand how important it is to hear how a viewing went on your property and that’s why we chase all our viewers up to three times by phone and email. If a viewing doesn’t result in an offer, this feedback can help indicate if buyers feel your property is priced incorrectly in the current market or if they feel it is not presented as well as it could be. Having that personal relationship with your agent means that we can then have an open conversation with you and provide you with tips or suggestions on how to make your property more saleable, especially in light of other similar properties available for buyers to choose from.

Completing a sale in safe hands

When an offer is made on a property, the experience and negotiation skills of an agent are really put to the test, after all, for most people their house is their biggest asset and they want to get as much for their property as possible. This is where sellers who choose to just list a property for sale online can come unstuck. It’s so important you put this asset into the hands of an agent with a reputation and proven track record for not only negotiating sales on houses but more importantly seeing those sales all the way through to completion. Negotiating an offer is not only about getting the best price for a property, but about getting the best price for a property from a credible buyer who is in a position to proceed. Remember, a high street agent doesn’t get paid until a property completes, so it’s in their interest to do their homework and thoroughly check out a buyer’s ability to proceed. In other words, do they have a property to sell? Is that property under offer? Have they got the financial ability to purchase the property and have they evidence to substantiate that?

In many cases our negotiations don’t just stop there. For a sale to progress the ‘chain’ needs to end somewhere. For those sellers not linking in a purchase, they become the top of the chain – but often our sellers need to find a property to move into. We are always on hand to help and advice on your next onward purchase, and we will happily do the negotiating on your purchase, on your behalf.

 

Always at your side

For many people, moving to a new house happens once every 7-10 years, so it’s easy to forget the stress and complications the ensuing process can bring. Feedback from most of our clients is that having an agent on hand to be able to talk through the process once a sale has been agreed and who is proactively keeping a check on the sales progression and pushing it forward, is worth the extra fee alone. This is especially true these days when well over 30% of house sales fall through. At Michael Hardy we personally carry out all our sales progression in-house in our own high street offices, and as a result we have a high percentage of sales that complete. Acting as mediator between buyer, seller, other agents and solicitors, we are better placed to smooth out complications when emotions are running high and patience wearing thin!

At any stage during the sales progression you can pop into our office for an update, pick our brains for local recommendations for solicitors, surveyors or removal companies or simply pop in for a chat! A good high street agent will be in regular contact anyway, bringing you up to speed on how the sale is going and working with sellers and buyers towards a mutually agreeable completion date.

Once completion day arrives there is a get sense of achievement when confirming to our clients that completion has taken place and when handing over the keys to a new owner. It is a very rewarding job to know you have helped people with that next chapter. Contact us on Wokingham 0118 977 6776 or Crowthorne 01344 779 999 to see how we can help you with your next move.