Online VS High Street Agents

Online VS High Street Agents


Back around 2009-10, the market was still reeling after the financial crash. Fewer people were selling their homes. A large proportion who were selling were in negative equity. Increasing amounts of developers were picking up properties for a low price and selling them on.

During this time, I owned an estate agency. I was struggling to stay in business. If you know me, you’ll know I like to think outside the box, and I thought of a solution that could reduce my risk of sellers not paying on completion (as they had no money left after paying off their mortgage) while doing more business with developers. I would reduce my fees but charge them upfront. Furthermore, by asking owners to carry out their own viewings and not getting too involved with sales progression, I could reduce the amount of staff.

Though my methods and user interface weren’t precisely ‘sleek’, it worked! Our ‘Internet Marketing Only’ package was so popular that we gained market share by nearly twice the second-placed agent.

Though we are not an Online Agency, I do agree that these types of agencies have a place in the industry.

I’ve written this guide to provide you with an insight into the various approaches. I hope you find it useful when selecting your agent/agency.


In my opinion, there’s no ‘better’ It’s whatever suits you. Here are some points to consider.

HIGH STREET AGENCY – Will have a High Street or Town Centre office. They may have a stock of local properties. You’re likely to liaise with different staff. You’ll communicate by face-to-face meetings, phone, and/or email. You’ll pay a fee from the proceeds of the sale on a no-sale-no-fee basis. They may charge an upfront marketing fee.

ONLINE AGENTS – In contrast to the above. They won’t have a local office, and their stock type will vary. You’ll liaise with limited staff, maybe just one. Communication will be via an internal system and/or emails. You’ll pay a small fee upfront, whether the property sells or not. You’ll most likely have options to bolt on to the service, though at a cost.

HYBRID AGENCIES – Positioned between a High Street and Online Agent. They may have an office, though not on your high street. You’re likely to liaise with the same person until you achieve a sale. After that, you may deal with someone else. You’ll have a choice of either paying upfront (cheaper, but it’s non-refundable) or more, on a no-sale-no-fee basis, payable from the proceeds of the sale.

TIP: Advertising on Rightmove & Zoopla; High-Quality Photography; Floorplans. These are the BASIC marketing essentials. You shouldn’t be considering using an agent, irrelevant of type, who doesn’t offer this.



Do you believe buyers (not browsers) use local estate agent offices to transact, in your area? If so, consider a High Street Agent.

Do you believe all/any agents would get you the same price with minimum effort? If so, an Online Agent may be suitable.

Would you prefer to communicate with your agent? If so, consider a High Street or Hybrid. If not, consider an Online Agent.



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