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The Pros And Cons Of Using An Online Estate Agent

May 14, 2008
Increasingly those who are selling and buying property are enlisting the help of an online estate agent. For first timers this can be a daunting task as most people only really have experience with a high street branch. This is not to say that the high street agent is no longer a viable option, it is just as technology and more specifically the internet becomes and increasingly large part of our lives, people will naturally want to sell and buy homes over the internet.

The internet has allowed estate agents to improve their customer service by providing online applications. Fundamentally it has widened their horizons enabling them to increase the size of their audience and client base. This had led to the creation of the modern estate agent, who has the ability to utilise a variety of methods to get the job done. What will worry some however will be whether using an online estate agent is any harder than a high street one?

Well put simply the answer is no. Some customers have found using an online estate agent much easier and a whole lot less stressful. This is because an online agent puts you in charge of the sale of your home; it removes the middle man and the spiel of sales person making the process easier. Subsequently, online selling is becoming popular as many consider it smoother and faster than the old style estate agent.

That is not to say that the high street estate agent is completely obsolete. An estate agent can provide sellers, but especially buyers with unique and valuable information that online services cannot match. For instance, the local area, schools, neighbours and how house prices in that area are being affected by economic conditions. What is clear is that while an online estate agency service may well be easier for some, others will find the human interface of the high street agent better, and more useful.

The process of using an online estate agent is simple enough; the first step is to register your property with the site that you have chosen to use. This will pretty much be the same information taken by the high street agent although instead of verbally giving the information it is entered into an online form. This way it only takes a short time and your details can be submitted in full. Once again however, some people will always prefer the human element when giving the details because of trust issues.

Once you have submitted your details the usual practise is either to contact or be contacted by a local property advisor. Normally a number is provided or you are asked to supply a suitable time for them to ring. After this, it is the job of the online estate agent to put your house on all of the major property websites to ensure it receives enough exposure. The process when using a human agent is much the same, it purely requires slightly more legwork on the part of the property owner to find a suitable agency.

Searching online to buy homes is rapidly becoming a popular market trend. While originally many have used these sites purely to judge house prices and find properties like the ones they would eventually want to buy; today increasing amounts of people are going through the process of buying online. Once again however, having an estate agent at this stage can be important, the human element cannot be underestimated and while you may think it possible to find all there is about any particular area on the internet, the knowledge possessed by your agent is invaluable.

What must be considered is whether online agents really offer something different from their high street counterparts. Naturally the ease of online services will appeal to some but for many the process of buying or selling property is personal. Having an agent that is sympathetic of your needs and recognises your individuality will be far more preferable for some than purely being a name on a list.
About the Author
Property expert Thomas Pretty weighs the benefits of an online estate agent in comparison with high street agencies.
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