Self Service Vs Full Service!
Helping people move home and simply selling houses are two different things. Sometimes it’s only when you have experienced the difficulties, that you truly appreciate the service.
I’d be shocked if there was an Estate Agent in the country who didn’t advertise their properties somewhere on the internet. Whether its Rightmove, OnTheMarket.com or Zoopla.com, it’s a fact that the way people search for homes has changed significantly in the past 10 years. In a market saturated with choices offering low cost alternative ways of selling, how can you be sure that you will receive the best service, attention to detail and overall assistance in what is still widely considered to be one of the most stressful life events?
I have never been keen on separating agents into two categories such as online or traditional, hybrid or high street. As all agents are ‘online’ and there really is no such thing as a ‘traditional’ estate agent! My personal view is that consumers have two choices, a ‘self-service’ agent or a ‘full service’ agent. Do you want to save some money and do most of the work yourself or would you prefer to pay slightly more and have an agent there for you from start to finish? As in all industries, there are many vessels that can get you from A to B but ultimately it comes down to how comfortable your journey is.
A self-service estate agent will often ask you to pay an upfront fee of anywhere between approximately £500 and £900. In some cases you can defer the payment, usually the higher figure until a later date. In either case the amount paid is non-refundable and will be payable whether you move or not. There are of course ‘add on’ services available at an extra cost, such as having a ‘property expert’ carry out viewings on your behalf.
Sounds like a ‘no brainer’, right? Especially if you know that houses in your street sell straight away. However, there is a massive difference in simply selling houses and helping someone with the enormous task of moving home.
With a full service agent you will pay a small percentage of the sale price. This is payable only when the sale completes and only when you move home. If the move doesn’t happen and your sale doesn’t go through for whatever reason then you don’t pay them. This often means that a full service agent works for free, until the job is complete. There is normally nothing to pay up front, with viewings and other services included in the price.
As an owner and Director of a Full Service agency, naturally I am going to be biased towards the kind of business I run; however I also believe that self-service estate agents have a place in the market. If you want to be more involved in every aspect of moving, from conducting your own viewings, negotiating your own offers and chasing your own sale then this option could be for you. But who really has the time nowadays and at what price do you value your precious time?
Do you want to spend it being heavily involved in selling your own home? What if your property doesn’t sell? What support will you receive from your property expert? Will he or she be liaising between your buyer’s solicitor and yourself? Will they go the extra mile for you? Remember, you pay them either way. Helping customers can be hard so what will motivate them? Sometimes customers need to find the answers to these questions out for themselves.
Full service agents will provide you with just that; a full service! Among other benefits they will often have good relationships with local law firms; this can be paramount for smoother transactions and faster moving times. If you are hoping to move locally, they will also be able to help you find your next home and will more than likely have properties on their books for you to look at. Problem solving is also a big part of what a full service agent offers. With their local knowledge and connections in the area, full service agents will often be able to achieve a higher price for your property that more than makes up for the small percentage fee that they charge.
Of course there are good agents and not so good agents across both full and self-service spectrums. At Ascot Estate Agents, we recognise that as ‘full service’ agents, charging a fair price for our work, we can offer the stand out service and moving experience that our customers expect. For us the price them low, stack them high model does not work and we won’t compromise on this.
Franco Ardani – Director