In recent years, we've seen a rise in the low-cost online national estate agents that may have local representatives, but are run from a central location and are not as much of a part of a local community as the traditional estate agents model.
By cutting costs, they can often offer competitive fees, but once signed up, many find that the ongoing communication lacks, with many not hearing from their estate agent once their house is on the market. There are clear benefits to using local agents, but does it matter to vendors?
We surveyed vendors in the Tameside area to find out whether they would go to a low cost national estate agent and whether they believed it to be important to use a local estate agent.
We asked whether vendors would consider using a national low cost online agent. 55% of respondents said that no they would not consider using a nationa low cost agent.
When asked why not (if not) responses included "I like to know my estate agent is local and accessible"; "Prefer personal communication"; "Local knowledge likely to be lacking"; "I like to speak to people face to face or telephone"; "Less support for house sale" and "Prefer direct contact with an agent, not just online."
One of the more in-depth and telling responses was "I considered it before I used Fraser St James but then I read a lot of stories on the internet about not being able to speak with the agent once the property was on the market and all communications being passed through a call centre."
The above shows the importants of ongoing communication and great customer service. Selling and buying a house can be a daunting experience, so dealing with an FAQ page or a non-personal call centre can cause unneccesary stress.
We also asked vendors whether they believe it is important to have a local estate agent. 71% said yes, it is important to have a local estate agent.
When asked why, the responses included "It's nice to know you could arrange a face to face visit to discuss things if it were needed"; "Local agents know the area"; and "To solve any problems quickly."
So, in conclusion, yes it is important to have a local estate agent. The local knowledge, combined with the communication makes the process of selling or buying a house less stressful and far less daunting.