Cheap Online Estate Agents; ever get the feeling something is too good to be true? Then often it is….

holding-money

Online firms are failing sellers and charging them upfront for their failure, an agent has said.

Chris Wood, of PDQ Estates, said that online agents – some 15 of them – secured 49 new instructions in the first six months of this year in his area of operation.

Of these 49, just five now look to have gone to exchange –two more than when Wood posted his blog.

Wood has used Zoopla Pro statistics to measure activity across Truro postcodes in Cornwall.

He said he wondered if other EYE readers are doing similar research in their postcodes.

He said: “The online stats are compelling in my area, especially if repeated across the UK.”

In his blog Wood says most customers of online or non-geographic agents are simply “paying out for failure”.

He goes on: “Over 93% of customers who shelled out the average £600 or so up front so far this year to these firms to market their homes have failed to attract a buyer!

“Of the 49 new instructions, only three have exchanged contracts according to the data from Zoopla and Primelocation.

“This compares to the area average of over 50% success rate for traditional office-based local agents, with some agents achieving even better individual results for their clients.

“Like my own firm PDQ, almost all of these office-based agents have a ‘no sale, no fee’ policy, meaning we only get paid for a successful sale for a full estate agency service.”

Wood has launched his own budget offering – perhaps ironically, given his opposition to online agents which recently culminated in a partially successful complaint by him about eMoov to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Calling it a high street agent at online rates, it is offered in addition to the firm’s standard full services, and costs £575 including VAT, payable upfront.

The budget service offers almost everything that the full service does, including EPCs, floorplans, particulars, and listing on Rightmove and Zoopla.

It does not offer accompanied viewings or sales progression, but sellers can upgrade to these.

Wood said it looked as though he has gone over to the “dark side”, but that his new service looks to be working well as a concept, with one seller attracted by the low cost but subsequently deciding to upgrade to the full service.

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