Property, Professionally

  • Whitchurch Road,
  • Cardiff, CF14

Our Blog

Stay up to date with the latest news on the property market.

by Nick Smith Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Online agents, since when did you deserve a second class service?

There has been much in the media of late about the Purplebricks mania sweeping the nation. From the extremely positive figures coming out of the city about their mammoth profits to the recent Watchdog appearance about misleading propaganda and poor customer service, it is hard to get to grips with it all.   About 5 years ago we launched a very similar “online only” product that quite frankly sank without trace, gaining no traction at all. We were “first to market” but the product went no-where, and yet a giant in the marketplace has taken on a very similar idea and made tens of millions in doing so. Was it bad timing, poor marketing or a huge launch budget that was the difference? Who knows, but what is clear was, we always offered the two options to give consumers a choice and in all but a miniscule % they opted for a full-service agency offering over the DIY options.   At the time, we put it down to a more educated vendor, who knew that in reality it would be better for a profession agent to use there years of experience and know how to sell the property. And that they understood the work that goes on pre, during and post-sale to ensure you get the right buyer for the right price, and that they would work hard to ensure the sale would not fall through, but now we are not so sure. Have we all become so online obsessed we have forgotten the old saying that “you pay for what you get” and “if you buy cheap you pay twice”.   Online agents do not offer the same service as a traditional agent but many traditional agents do offer a similar service to the online agents. Getting to know a good high street agent can have many positive spins offs. From using their existing database to extend you reach out to potential vendors to picking their brains about tips to sell the property.   Another big difference is the work we do in weeding out timewasters and people that are not in a position to buy the property in the first place, preventing you having to clean the house and get it ready for completely pointless viewings.   And then to cost because everyone knows that Estate Agents are expensive and online agents are cheap, right? You may or not know that Rightmove’s launch pattern is similar in to part the new Purplebricks story. Launch special offers for agents have steadily been replaced by significant cost increases and whilst these have gone hand in hand with significant audience growth for Rightmove meaning agents have got more bang for their buck, can the same really be said for the significant rises in the cost of an online agents offering?   We have seen the market leader’s prices go up by 100’s of percent yet they still do the same job as when they started. They market your property on the portals and give you a list of optional paid for extras to try to sell your home. So why the dramatic price hike and where will it end?   The price is currently only marginally more than a basic fixed fee agency offering and whether you call it “commisery”, fees or commission, ultimately it’s all the same, a sum of money you pay to sell your home, and to be blunt I would rather have an incentive for an Estate Agent to sell my house for the most they can, rather than no incentive meaning an agent gets paid regardless of the sale price.     Here is a handy guide to highlight some of the differences:  
Some Online Agents PM Premier
Featured on Watchdog for questionable practises We have been on TV but not Watchdog!
Use local experts* (not so local* according to Watchdog) We all live within a few miles of the office
Charge a fee (but never commission i.e. not incentivised based on final sale price) Charge commission* (alternatively known as a fee)
Get paid regardless of sold price* (not incentivised other than for professional pride!) Get paid more if your home sells for more (*incentivised)
Featured on Watchdog for questionable practises and incorrect advertising messages get paid up front whether you sell or not! Transparent about all fee’s up front and only get paid once house is sold and transaction is completed.
Charge for viewings We do viewings for free
Charge for extras like for sale boards, photography, video tours and floorplans Always free with us!
Charge extra for paid additional marketing on Rightmove, Facebook, and You Tube etc. We do this for free too
Charge extra for sales progression (post sale service) We do this for free and pride ourselves on getting deals done!
  And then to cost because everyone knows that Estate Agents are expensive and online agents are cheap, right? You may or not know that Rightmove’s launch pattern is similar in to part to the new Purplebricks story. Launch special offers for agents have steadily been replaced by significant cost increases and whilst these have gone hand in hand with significant audience growth for Rightmove meaning agents have got more bang for their buck, can the same really be said for the significant rises in the cost of an online agents offering?   We have seen the market leader’s prices go up by 100’s of percent yet they still do the same job as when they started. They market your property on the portals and give you a list of optional paid for extras to try to sell your home. So why the dramatic price hike and where will it end?   The price is currently only marginally more than a basic fixed fee agency offering and whether you call it “commisery”, fees or commission, ultimately it’s all the same, a sum of money you pay to sell your home, and to be blunt I would rather have an incentive for an Estate Agent to sell my house for the most they can, rather than no incentive meaning an agent gets paid regardless of the sale price.   It is worth remembering that most good Estate Agents are also great negotiators looking out for your best interests, so buyers beware that all that glitters, even in shiny purple is not always gold!