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Online agents vs. High street agents – who should you let with?

30th January 2017

The lettings industry is going through an online revolution. It feels like new agencies are setting up shop every day – lean, mean property-renting machines churning out valuations in seconds and getting you a sale all through a screen. As we become more squeezed for time in the modern world - and the process of selling or letting a property being time-consuming enough - the client numbers for online-only agents grow and grow. But, are they really doing the best job for you?

There are many elements to the day-to-day operations of an online agency that are different to your usual agents on the high street, and not just the obvious ones you can think of. Let me take you through the key differences between online agents and high street agents, and you can decide whether to go for the new approach or stick to tradition:

Costs

A common feature for online agents is to offer their services in a neat, competitively priced package. A simple transaction has great appeal, but the terms of the offer more often than not excludes details of further costs you will probably incur further down the line. Hidden costs include sales boards, support at viewings, floorplans and more. It seems cheaper on the surface, but the value reflects the actual level of service.

Service

Full marketing options aren’t necessarily available to you online, and they can be crucial to helping you get your property let or sold. A cheap price and simple process seems tempting, but what are you actually investing in? Is it service you could operate yourself without even paying for it, or is it clearly guided by years of expertise and proper local knowledge?

Contact

Cutting out the middle man feels like you’re removing a lot of hassle. Less visits to a branch when you’re busy working full-time has merit and an online set-up has the advantage of being open all hours, but sometimes face-to-face contact and regular, dedicated support is important to make sure you aren’t making any mistakes. Exchanging a message here and there is good for minor problems, but not really ideal for a full consultation or if you need to negotiate with a potential tenant.

Speed

Getting a quick let is a win the for the agent, but you have to make sure it’s a win for you. Getting a tenant within a month is of course possible when you have a high-quality property at a competitive price – you just have to make sure your agent is sending the right tenants your way. Check that a support service is extended by your agent in case your tenant causes issues or the let falls through.

There’s no stopping the increasing dependence on online searches and purchases for all industries, including property. The convenience of an online agent can’t be beaten but a full service isn’t always delivered, or at least not without a greater expense. The main takeaway from this is to read the small print - the agent that covering all aspects of letting a property is the agent to choose.

As far as the online vs. high street debate goes, the savvy landlord would look for a hybrid agent - an agent that knows the online market but will offer the face-to-face support you need for the sealing the deal. At Concentric, we offer the best of both worlds, giving you the convenience of 24/7 online services alongside dedicated branch staff who can help you through every step. If you'd like to get started today, click HERE for an instant valuation online for free and get in contact with the team.

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