One offers a fast, direct and hassle-free method of selling a property, the other can be a more drawn out process, but with potential savings at the end of it. So, which is the best way to sell a house: through an online estate agent or a property cash buyer?
Let’s look at the pros and cons of both, and see which method comes up trumps.
Selling your property online
Mirroring the emergence of online banks, online estate agents have come to rival traditional high-street agents in providing a service in marketing and arranging the sale of properties. They use online property portals to advertise your property, and some can even help arrange viewings in the same way high street agents do. Online estate agents are able to value properties, but their estimations might be less accurate than those of localised agents.
Many property owners will opt to sell through an online estate agents because of the savings they offer. In terms of commission, they typically offer much lower rates than their rivals on the high street. While a high-street agent can charge between one and two per cent commission – meaning a sum of between £3,000 and £6,000 for a property sale of £300,000, for example – online estate agents can offer packages from around the £500 mark, making them a tempting option.
They use professional photos for their advertisements, in the same way that high-street agents do, and many portals used by online estate agents also offer the option of implementing 360° virtual tours in order to help woo prospective buyers.
Opting for an online estate agent can put more power in the hands of the seller, but the biggest advantage for many will be the potential savings detailed above.
It is, in theory, possible for anybody to become an online estate agent. While they must have registered with one of the three grievance bodies – the Ombudsman Services Property, the Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme – in order to process complaints, the power of these bodies is limited, so caution must certainly be taken when choosing an online property agent.
Some agents do not offer negotiations on your behalf, leaving it up to the seller to ‘haggle’ over the best price. This might be seen as a benefit by some sellers, but others prefer the support when it comes to bargaining. As with any sale through an agent, there is the possibility that sales through online estate agents could be drawn out, meaning a relatively long wait until payments are made.
Using a property cash buyer
For those who need a quick sale, property cash buyers offer a speedy process including valuation, sale processing and payment. After the acceptance of a cash offer, payments are typically processed within a few days.
A quick cash injection is the benefit which many sellers welcome from using a ‘we buy any house‘ style of operator. If cash flow is a priority, property cash buyers can cut down the waiting time attached to selling a property through an online estate agent and deliver funds sooner.
There are also a number of reasons why selling a property through an estate agent can go wrong, including the buyer getting cold feet or pulling out at the last moment, or a problem with a property being discovered during a survey.
Selling through agents often involves a large ‘chain’ of parties involved in the transaction – from solicitors to agents and mortgage lenders. Buyers may have difficulty securing finance due to tighter lending criteria. Negating a large chain through choosing to facilitate a quick house sale decreases the risk of it breaking down and delaying or even scuppering a sale.
Property cash buyers do not typically offer as much for homes as buyers found through an agent, meaning owners may not realise the full potential of their property’s value.
While sellers are free to weigh up fast house sale offers from several property cash buyers, they might not have as much room to negotiate on price as they would when dealing with a buyer through an online property agent.
Both online estate agents and property cash buyers have their advantages for sellers, and ultimately, much will come down to the personal priorities of the seller themselves.
However, the long list of advantages associated with selling to a property cash buyer, from negating a drawn out process to benefiting from rapid payment and minimising risk, seem to give it the edge over dealing with online estate agents. The hassle and time involved with arranging a sale through an online estate agent mean that, for many, the option to sell a house quickly to a property cash buyer represents the most sensible.
To find out how we can help you make a fast house sale, contact us at Mark King Properties today.