Research – Comparison of Online Estate Agents

| October 27, 2010 | 2 Comments

I’m happy to report that James Cole from The Big Property List has today published the full report on his research comparing 22 online estate agents.

The team at The Big Property List have spent considerable time and effort in researching and compiling this data and are very keen to have an open debate as to what it tells us about the success of this new breed in terms of online visibility.

(For an explanation of how they defined an “online estate agent” please see yesterdays guest blog post)

To view the full report click here (PDF)

They highlight their key findings and observations as follows:-

Key Findings

Only 1/3 of ‘online estate agents’ are members of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)

Ex-For Sale by Owner (FSBO) websites top the list of Online Estate Agents’ websites for many measures

The Tesco isold.com website receives the second highest website traffic of online EAs (according to Alexa)

Traditional Agents are staying on the High street – only 3 of the 22 online agents are part of a traditional agency

Online Estate Agents generally charge a fixed fee as opposed to commission as a percentage of the house sale

General Observations

Online estate agents don’t usually undertake viewings

Desktop or report based valuations often replace a visit, there is an emphasis on sellers setting the price themselves. (some advise getting quotes from local agents!)

Most online estate agents are members of the Industry Ombudsman scheme but not the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)

It is not always clear on their websites what is included and what the seller is expected to do – especially negotiations once an offer is received.

Many Online Estate Agents’ websites are not very ‘findable’ from search engines and are not well optimised for Search Engines (SEO) – we assume this is because they rely on portals such as Rightmove to market their properties.

Given the above, online estate agents commonly use Pay Per Click to attract new sellers as their websites do not always attract organic search traffic.

There are four subsets of online Estate Agent:

  1. Ex- For Sale By Owner Websites
  2. Ex-HIP providers/ EPC providers
  3. Ex-Traditional Estate Agents
  4. Traditional Estate Agents trading online as a different brand

It is very difficult to compare price like for like, but the general range is £295 to £1000 as a fixed fee or with a component of commission. This could be subject of further study.

There are few ‘Traditional’ High street agents working in this space.

Online EAs generally have less restrictive contracts with their clients – i.e. no sole selling/ agency clauses or minimum term and sometimes no contract at all!

What are your views on this research?

Do you think this type of agent can succeed?

Do they rely too heavily on the portals?

Will more “traditional” agents move to this model?

Are these alternative models what the consumer wants?

Please post your responses below

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Category: Estate Agents, Letting Agents, Marketing, online, Property Search, Uncategorized

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Comments (2)

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  1. The popularity of online estate agents has certainly increased in the last few years. There are now many online estate agents to choose from in what is becoming quite a competitive space.

    Online estate agents do rely heavily on the portals such as Rightmove, but given that Rightmove generates far more sales than a traditional estate agent is able to, does it really matter?

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