Short on time here’s the bottom line

Have a clear understanding from the start how much of the work you want to do yourself. This will help you choose which package you need. But if you change your mind about that, no worries you can buy extras like ‘Viewing Packages’ or even Energy Saving Certificates [EPC’s]. 

Paying Commission or Fees work out to about the same sale price, when it’s all said and done. 

Yopa and Strike both tie for the top spot with both having a 4.7 TrustPilot rating. 

What is an online estate agent?

Online estate agents will help you sell your property, you’ve guessed it – online! So in essence they don’t operate like conventional estate agencies, they have no branches on the high street like say traditional estate agents such as Connells. After all, did you know 98% of buyers start their search online.

Not having all the overheads, online estate agents can operate very cheaply but more importantly pass those savings onto the customer – you! Yopa claims to actually save people on average £2,500. 

Online estate agents come in two clearly defined genres:

No. 1 – You the customer do most of the leg work, so that’s creating the listing, taking the photos, handling negotiations and conducting the viewings.

No. 2 – They are often called a ‘Hybrid’ estate agent, offering everything a traditional high street agency would. So that includes things like the valuation, photos, floorplan, viewings and negotiating the best price for you. The only difference is they aren’t on the high street they are online.

Which one you should choose isn’t entirely down to how much of the work you want to do yourself selling your property. Fees, valuations, reviews etc should all play a part, so we get into all that further down.

How online estate agents work?

  • Like all estate agents they start with a valuation, conducted by a local agent who knows the market. Valuations are free, so you’ve nothing to lose!
  • The next move [excuse the pun] is up to you. Decide whether or not to list your home for sale…
  • The agent [if you’ve chosen to have one] then creates your advert. When you are happy with it, they then place it onto Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation. 
  • Viewings – you can conduct them yourself or you can have the agent do it – it’s up to you.
  • Sold! Your online agent will negotiate the best price for you and if you approve your home is then sold!

Online Estate Agents Fees

Nearly all online estate agents charge a fixed fee [Emoov charge a small upfront fee and commission]. A fixed fee is in direct contrast to the high street agents who would all work on commission. Typically this commission is 1.5-2%. So on a £300,000 property sale a high street commission based agent would get £6,000 at 2% commission. 

Hardly surprising then online agents are so popular charging between £0-£1499 as standard.

Top 5 Online Estate Agent Fees Compared:

PurpleBricks charge £999

Yopa charge £999

Emoov £249 + 0.5% [of the sale price]

Doorsteps £99-£599

Strike [formerly HouseSimple] – Free [£0]

Commission vs Fixed Fees

The argument against online estate agents is that traditional high street agents earn commission which is a percentage of the sale price. So the better price they achieve for your property the more they earn. They are therefore incentivised to get the best possible price they can for your home. 

Whilst true in principle, a high street agent only then gets a fraction of that total commission themselves. Why would they potentially lose a sale over trying to push for more money and only ending up a few pounds themselves, compared to getting a sale for a good price and banking the commission for definite. The latter outweighs the former. Honestly – ask an agent yourself. 

Plus in this day and age, everyone knows which sold for what prices because it’s all on RightMove anyway! Any property sale has to be recorded by the Land Registry. On RightMove you can see the price of every home sold, going back decades. It pulls this data directly from the Land Registry. Infact the government, when compiling its house price index report each month actually uses Rightmoves own data, for itself! 

The point being made is, you can see online what your home is worth from other homes that have been sold. You can quickly flick through photos of other listings, assess the condition and then judge your property’s value accordingly. 

On the flip side buyers can see all that data too. Meaning today’s property sales are less about an ‘agent’s local knowledge’ and more about available data. That available data helps both sides.

Why pay more, if we don’t need expensive traditional high street agents anymore. Infact with the money saved in fees using an online estate agent you could actually drop the asking price slightly to achieve a quick sale and still walk away with the same money as you would have using an high street agent. Or don’t and pocket the savings yourself to use towards the deposit for your next home.   

Fees & Services for Online Estate Agents Broken Down

PurpleBricks

Founded in 2012 they have become the brand everyone thinks of when it comes to online estate agents. You can pay PurpleBricks fees upfront or 10 months later.

Services:

Agent valuation – Floorplan – Professional photos – ‘For Sale’ Board – RightMove, Zoopla & PrimeLocation Listings – PhotoBooks for Social Media – Local expert account manager – Viewings arranged – Offer Negotiation – Sales Progression

Fee: £999 [or £1499 in London] 

Extra: Want PurpleBricks to conduct ‘accompanied viewings’? It’s an extra £300 or £399 in London. 

Yopa.co.uk

Your Online Property Agency {Y.O.P.A} started in 2014 and was backed by estate agency Savills, since then it has quickly emerged as a market leader. They offer 3 payment types for there services which are ‘Pay Now’, ‘Pay Later’ & ‘No Sale – No Fee’

Services:

Agent valuation – Floorplan – Professional photos – ‘For Sale’ Board – RightMove, Zoopla & PrimeLocation Listings – PhotoBooks for Social Media – Local expert account manager – Viewings arranged – Offer Negotiation – Sales Progression – Personal Online Dashboard called ‘YopaHub’.

Fee: £999 [or £1499 in London]

Extra: Accompanied viewings are £300 or free if take the Yopa Premium Package.

Emoov

Pronounced ‘E move’ they started in 2010 but went bust only reopening their doors in January 2019, with a fresh new management team. Not just limited to buying and selling they also handle lettings too. 

Services:

Dedicated Agent – ‘For Sale’ board – 24/7 Customer Support – Professional photos – Floorplan – Online Dashboard – Listing on RightMove, Zoopla & PrimeLocation. 

Upfront Fee: £249 

Paid on Completion: 0.5% of the Sale Price [inc VAT]

Doorsteps.co.uk

Founded in late 2015 by a teenage school boy, they pitch themselves as the fastest growing estate agents. 

Services: 

Online valuation & Verification Visit – Listing on RightMove, Zoopla & PrimeLocation – 24/7 Account Manager – Viewings Arranged – Offer Negotiation – Sales Progression 

Fee: Upfront £99/£199/£599 packages

Extras: ‘For Sale’ board £60, Hosted Viewings £400, Virtual Tour £162

Strike

Formerly called ‘HouseSimple’ they claim to sell your house for free only getting paid if you decide to take on additional services like mortgage advice, hosted viewings or upgraded adverts. 

Services:

Agent Valuation – Professional Photos – Floorplan – ‘For Sale’ Board – Listing on RightMove, Zoopla & PrimeLocation – Viewings Arranged – Offer Negotiation – Sales Progression – Personal Online Dashboard.

Fee: None [£0]

Online Estate Agent Reviews

Selling your home and moving is said to be one of the most stressful things we can do. Sure online estate agent fees are a massive factor when deciding who to go with but they shouldn’t be the only thing to consider. 

Low fees but a rubbish service will mean you could be missing out on potential buyers and or not achieving your sale price. If that happens suddenly then the low fees just got very expensive indeed.

Communication should be another deciding factor, an agency who takes days or even a week to respond shouldn’t be touched with a barge pole. Moving house can take long enough without the agent making matters worse.

The best way to compare online estate agents services is with reviews and probably the best review site is Trustpilot. TrustPilot rate out of 5 and also has 5 categories. Those are Excellent, Great, Average, Poor & Bad. 

Ok, yes the overall rating is the key bit to pay attention to but what we like to do is dig into the ‘Bad’ reviews and state that percentage too.  

Below are the TrustPilot ratings:

PurpleBricks 4.6 [over 75,000 reviews total] with 4% ‘Bad’

Yopa.co.uk 4.7 [over 10,000 reviews total] with 4% ‘Bad’

Emoov 4.4 [under 3,000 reviews total] with 6% ‘Bad’

Doorstep 4.8 [under 5,000 reviews total] with 3% ‘Bad’

Strike 4.7 [under 10,000 reviews total] 4% ‘Bad’

Best Online Estate Agent? 

[Spoiler: IT’S A TIE]

Well every online agent mentioned above lists on RightMove, Zoopla & PrimeLocation and that’s exactly what you want. The BIG 3 as we call them [RightMove, Zoopla & PrimeLocation], have become the dominant force in property sales. If your home isn’t on those 3 sites and is just pinned up in a high street agents shop window it will probably take months and months to sell, if at all.

Question: But if they all list your home on the Big 3, then how do you split them apart? 

Answer: Well this comes down to fees, reviews and ease of use. 

Whilst doorstep had great overall reviews they only had a few thousand of them versus Yopa and PurpleBricks who have considerably more. PurpleBricks actually has over 10x more! 

PurpleBricks and Yopa both have the same fee structure, weirdly exactly the same. But PurpleBricks do charge slightly more than Yopa for viewings. If you don’t want viewings, discount that last point. 

Yopa has the YopaHub which is their online dashboard which Doorsteps doesn’t have, making it so easy to communicate with buyers, negotiate prices and talk to the agent directly. Communication is key, you don’t want to find out with only 10 minutes warning that you have a viewing or miss the fact you had an offer and didn’t respond in time. 

No fees from Strike was always going to get them near the top spot. They offer all the same service as everyone else. Plus they are transparent about their no fee policy, they openly say they get paid an affiliate commission if you use them and take out any further services. If you arranged a mortgage through them for instance Strike would get paid commission directly from that lender. Again this costs you nothing, not a penny but it keeps Strike in business so they can continue to sell homes for free. Free is good – we like that business model!

But free at the cost of a rubbish service – well no one likes that. Great news then Strike actually has the same TrustPilot reviews and rating as Yopa, meaning they are rated as ‘Excellent’. 

For this reason it’s a tie between Strike and Yopa for first place. 

Strike are highly recommended if you have sold a property yourself online before and therefore know the drill. But Award winning estate agents Yopa claim to achieve 96% of asking prices [same percentage as the high street] but sell houses on average 25 days quicker. They also offer something no one else does, No Sale – No Fee. That should be fairly self explanatory but if they don’t sell your home you pay them nothing. 

With free valuations and no fees if they don’t sell your home, Yopa are a no brainer in our book. Backed by upmarket estate agency Savills with a higher TrustPilot review score than PurpleBricks with Yopa you can look forward to a stress free sale. A well deserved tied first place. 

Summary

Perhaps you take a slightly longer sale process with Strike but pay no fees or you pay a fixed upfront fee with Yopa for a quicker sale: The choice is yours…