Online estate agents
An investigation into online-only estate agents and whether their cut-price, up-front fees really do offer value for money.
An investigation into online-only estate agents and whether their cut price, up-front fees really do offer value for money. The online-only property business has gone from strength to strength since it emerged just a few years ago and it's now threatening the very survival of traditional agents on the high street. But are sales exaggerated and is advertising misleading? 5 Live Investigates hears from the companies and their customers about how this expanding sector of the market is performing.
Before these companies arrived on the scene, estate agents typically charged a commission of 1-2% on a house price once the sale goes through. Online-only agents have changed all that. They list your house on property portals like Rightmove or Zoopla and charge you a fixed fee which customers usually pay upfront. For most properties that fee is a lot lower than what you would pay a traditional agent - but the big difference is with the online-only agents you pay whether you sell or not, so it's a gamble.
The programme examines new research from investment bank Jefferies which suggests that statistically around half of customers who use the online-only agents could be wasting their money.
And it hears from the leading online-only estate agency Purplebricks which disputes the research saying that 78% of customers successfully sell their home with the company.