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porca misèria

Online Agent? No Thanks!

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I've just had the experience for the first time of viewing somewhere through an online-only agent.

It wasn't too hard to contact the agent, but it was a lot of fuss arranging an actual viewing time: they were much less interested than a regular agent in accommodating my attempts to schedule a viewing (on a house that's empty - no "have to check with current occupant").

Then it turned out to be a landlord selling, and I was eventually shown around by her odd-job-man in the area. When I noticed a few things that wanted changing, he said he'd do them. Hmmm, no possible conflict of interest if I make an offer stipulating "includes such-and-such work".

But more interestingly, he kept talking to me like another prospective landlord, telling me how I could make the (tiny) dining room into another bedroom, and how much I could charge per room to prospective victims. It didn't look like an HMO house until he started talking like that, though it would be fine to rent out as a complete unit if one felt so inclined. Anyway, his talk of HMO-farming made me feel slightly soiled: I don't want to make an offer to this vendor, and if I did it'd be seriously below what I'd offer to an owner-occupier.

An old-fashioned agent wouldn't do that. They'd do more to make viewing convenient, and less to put someone off. Certainly can't imagine them talking HMO-farming unless I had introduced the subject! Seems like the cost of saving an agent's fee is a reduced prospect of any sale.

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One experience doesn't reflect them all, as your title implies.

My bricks agent is ship, they arent that felexible as they seem to run out of 5pm and Saturday time slots ages in advance. The latest they do viewings is 5:15.

I will soon be going to an online agent. All requests will go directly to me and I will do the viewings so it will allow much more people to view at convenient times.

will go from paying 3k commission on sale, to 500 upfront.

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One experience doesn't reflect them all, as your title implies.

Fairy nuff. Wasn't arguing that, even if the title was a little provocative.

Just food for thought, for a few HPCers who are both keenly anticipating the demise of the traditional agent and capable of thought.

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One experience doesn't reflect them all, as your title implies.

My bricks agent is ship, they arent that felexible as they seem to run out of 5pm and Saturday time slots ages in advance. The latest they do viewings is 5:15.

I will soon be going to an online agent. All requests will go directly to me and I will do the viewings so it will allow much more people to view at convenient times.

will go from paying 3k commission on sale, to 500 upfront.

Just don't use House Network.

I did. Cash buyer for my place, moving to rented. Five months. Seven different 'agents' who couldn't form coherent communications (only one was any help but she wasn't working on my move so couldn't actually do much).

In the end I emailed my buyer's solicitor direct and told them to get on with it or I'd stick it back on the market for £10k more. Within 5 days of that we'd exchanged.

Useless even in the most straight forward of move 'chains'.

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I sold mine through purple bricks and they were excellent, for an extra £200 they showed everyone round and there were a lot of viewings.

I bought through a high street agent and they were faster at communicating but just lied the whole way through and may as well given me no answers at all for what it was worth.

I think maybe what you refer to is a lazy agent not an inferior way of selling, rightmove sells the house these days not the agent, people know what they are prepared to pay because all the info is there for them online anyway.

The bottom line is they are all slugs and liars but the online ones are ,much cheaper.

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Erm.. Online agents are what is needed.

What do estate agents do? Stick your property on Rightmove and.. The vendor does the viewings nowadays, its quite easy to pass over solicitor details, buyer arranges survey etc done. Why would anyone warrant 5K fees to the estate agent that you can get for 200 quid online that will list your property on all the usual sites. Know a few who are doing this now and sold quite happily.

The sooner you cut out the middle man the better imo.

(Understandably from a buyers perspective an online *agent* may be a bit iffy but i'm referring to the seller just going through one in order to list on the usual sites and then doing the rest of the leg work themselves.)

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I spend ages on Rightmove looking at listings. As much as I want online EAs to hurry up and put their bricks-and-mortar equivalents out of business, there's still some way to go. The photos are awful. Often completely unnecessary to have 60 photos. Plus a lot of them are vastly overpriced and never sell. I'm never quite sure if Purplebricks comes up with the valuation themselves or just leave it to the vendor to 'chance it'. I suspect in many cases, the latter. After all they get paid regardless of whether it sells or not.

I'm not defending traditional EAs, but online ones aren't quite there yet imo.

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Odd that Money Frugality says vendors do viewings nowadays. I thought precisely the opposite. Maybe vendors were present in the past, but these days the agents almost insist on the vendor being out (e.g. Barnard Marcus say it prevents the vendor "opening up" when questioned: yes, the neighbours are terrible, drunk people walk past the house on the way home from the pub, lots of work needs doing, we're desperate to sell and bad at negotiating etc. Basically it allows the agents to lie by omission and commission and that could plausibly result in an offer a few per cent higher than otherwise). I think the vendors doing the viewings and being the intermediary for receiving offers is probably where the benefit lies for vendors.

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We were shown around a house like that (also by "the odd job" man) early last year. Can't remember the circumstances. it was in Milton Keynes.

Turns out that it was used as a HMO before. Seems like so many of the larger MK houses are being bought by LL's and then rented out in this way.

A house of that size is now well out of our price range now and that is why. The carpets were threadbare and everything needed repainting. Was in a very poor state and not at all like a family home.

Did you notice if all the rooms had locks on them?

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Do most or all of the online agents charge a fee regardless of whether you sell or not? That would put me off if I were considering listing for sale with an online agent.

But if I were going to viewings I might be put off going to viewings, thinking those who use online agents aren't really committed to selling. If they were they'd be prepared to pay fees of 1% or whatever rather than £500-700.

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We were shown around a house like that (also by "the odd job" man) early last year. Can't remember the circumstances. it was in Milton Keynes.

Turns out that it was used as a HMO before. Seems like so many of the larger MK houses are being bought by LL's and then rented out in this way.

A house of that size is now well out of our price range now and that is why. The carpets were threadbare and everything needed repainting. Was in a very poor state and not at all like a family home.

Did you notice if all the rooms had locks on them?

No, it wasn't a large house. The description of "cottage" (and the name of the row-of-four as "cottages") was entirely justified. Three bedrooms, no locks. But much nicer than I'd expect from an HMO, including walls and floors in pretty good nick yet without any of that newly-decorated look.

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Do most or all of the online agents charge a fee regardless of whether you sell or not? That would put me off if I were considering listing for sale with an online agent.

That would be strongly in their favour. Help weed out timewasters.

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I've noticed the houses which use online agents do go "under offer" or "SSTC" but have a habit of returning to sale 2 or 3 times until they eventually do sell (I have followed a few and seen them on Land registry eventually) or the sellers remove them from the market (to be seen on conventional agents listings shortly).

I'm guessing that the online agents don't follow through the process and encourage / check the new buyers or else buyers don't like the process?

Edited by Flopsy

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