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Top 10 online estate agents for buying and selling property

Updated 30 March 2021

7min read

Nick Green
Financial Journalist

Best online estate agents

Is online the best way to buy and sell these days? When you're deciding on the best online estate agent, it's good to consider what they're actually offering. There's money to be saved, but how much of the house buying and selling process are you happy managing yourself? The key to success is choosing the right company – and the right package – to suit your needs.

The key difference between online estate agents and traditional high street operators is this: while high-street estate agents will usually charge you a percentage of your property's selling price, online estate agents generally charge fixed fees. This means that using an online agent can work out much cheaper, especially if your home is worth a lot of money. And, as online estate agents are run via websites and call centres, they're able to charge lower fees.

Most online estate agents give you the option of valuing and marketing your home and arranging property viewings. Many can negotiate and accept offers on your behalf and liaise with your conveyancer, other estate agents and buyers right through to completion. But buyer (and seller) beware. However tempting the 'basic package' cost looks, it's likely that these 'extras' (which usually come as standard as part of a traditional high street estate agent's service) won't be included and, if you want them, you'll need to pay more.

Here's a snapshot of 10 of the UK's leading online estate agents. Some have a flat fee payable upfront or the option to pay on completion (which usually costs up to twice as much). Others also require a percentage of the sale price. Most offer a range of packages that increase in cost as you add extra features. For example, a basic package may advertise your property online, but you'll have to do the rest. A mid-range package may require you to host viewings but will handle everything else. A top-of-the-range package means the agent will do everything on your behalf.

Doorsteps.co.uk

Basic package price: £99 includes listing within 72 hours, 24/7 customer service. Advanced and Premium packages feature Rightmove and Zoopla listings.

Trustpilot rating: 4.8

Example customer review: "I loved the aspect that I was able to book in my own viewings and arrange them around my schedule. I accepted an offer within 72 hours of it going live. I'm now going through the next stages of the process, but so far, everything is going smoothly. The money I have saved will go towards our new house."

emoov.co.uk

Basic package price: £249, plus 0.5% of the sale price, includes expert valuation, online dashboard, professional photography and advertising listed on all major platforms, including Rightmove and Zoopla.

Trustpilot rating: 4.5

Example customer review: "Emoov was my first online estate agent experience, and it has been such a good experience that I wouldn't go back to a high street estate agent again. I like being in control of things, and with emoov you write your own house descriptions and do your own viewings."

esaleuk.com

Basic package price: £595 one-off payment, with nothing to pay on completion, or £1,190 on completion, includes money-back guarantee and verification of all viewers.

Trustpilot rating: 4.7

Example customer review: "The team at esale were very professional. On the first day of viewing, we had six couples and four offers on the house, all above the asking price. The best person to sell a house is its owner, and by using esale as your agent, you filter out time-wasters."

I Am The Agent

Basic package price: £449 includes a dedicated sales assistant, free for sale board and advertising on Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation for 365 days.

Trustpilot rating: 4.7

Example customer review: "The service provided is excellent and has led to a successful 'sold subject to contract' position. The beauty of this system was the ability to market my property on major recognised sites, change photos myself and for them to be 'live' within minutes. One can work through the I Am The Agent site, or manage the interactions with interested parties directly, once validated by the site."

Purple Bricks

Basic package price: £999 (£1,499 for London and surrounding areas) includes a dedicated local property expert, professional photography and floor plans, listings on Rightmove, Zoopla and more.

Trustpilot rating: 4.6

Example customer review: "We are so impressed with the manner in which Purple Bricks have handled the sale of our property; we are now buying a new home through Purple Bricks – so easy using the app."

Sellmyhome.co.uk

Basic package price: £995 includes professional photos, video and virtual walkthrough, a dedicated sales assistant and advertising on Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation.

Trustpilot rating: 4.7

Example customer review: "One to one handling of the house sales. Fast super-efficient guaranteed sale. I fully trusted the team involved to make sure that the best deal between seller and buyer was quick and easy."

Strike

Basic package price: Free, includes valuation by a local expert, photos and floorplan, advertising on Rightmove and Zoopla, professional offer negotiation and dedicated support to completion. Strike gets paid by selected partners if you choose one of their optional services, such as free mortgage advice or removal services. Bear in mind that if you take their offer of free mortgage advice you probably won't get the best deal that you could achieve, since you'll be restricted to whichever providers will pay them commission.

Trustpilot rating: 4.7

Example customer review: "Great way to sell your house. The whole process has been excellent. From the initial contact to arrange valuation and advice on sales options, through to the simple to use website and app. My property went live on Tuesday, and I had my first appointment three hours later. By the following day, I had six viewings booked."

Yopa

Basic package price: £999 includes a dedicated local estate agent, a professional advert on Rightmove and Zoopla with floor plans and photos, a for sale board, an online control centre and sales progression.

Trustpilot rating: 4.7

Example customer review: "Totally happy with all aspects of the service provided by Yopa. The whole process was straightforward, and I would highly recommend it. We took advantage of using the conveyancing service, which also went very smoothly and amazing value."

Visum

Basic package price: This pay-as-you-go starts from £49 for a renewable one month listing with Zoopla and OnTheMarket, and 20 other sites, and you can manage your listing from your phone.

Trustpilot rating: 4.7

Example customer review: "A really intuitive user-friendly web portal that enables a property to be listed quickly. Managing enquiries through the portal is particularly good as it's at a glance and straightforward to use. It's difficult to see how high street agents could provide a better service for such a reasonable price."

99home

Basic package price: £99 includes a free virtual tour, dedicated account manager and advertising on more than 700 websites.

Trustpilot rating: 4.9

Example customer review: "Speedy, professional, helpful and available, and by far the best value for money. One can have a little or as much input into the sale as is comfortable, with differing packages available. We particularly like the direct communication with potential buyers (an option to suit). This saves both time and potential miscommunication."

What's better, an online estate agent or high street estate agents?

There's no doubt that online estate agents can be a great money-saving option, but it's worth considering all the pros and cons before you sign up.

The benefits of using an online estate agent include:

  • Lower fees: in most cases, using an online estate agent will be a whole lot cheaper than doing business with a high-street agent. And, if they charge a flat fee (rather than a percentage of the sale), the more expensive your home is, the more you'll save. For example, choosing a £1,499 package from emoov on a £250,000 house could save you up to £4,731 (compared to a traditional estate agent fee of between £3,750 and £6,250).
     
  • Convenience: As online estate agents use call centres that are often open during evenings and weekends, it can be easier to get hold of them. And, as they're online, you have 24/7/365 website access to keep tabs on progress. Some agents also have apps that allow you to update your listing in minutes.
     
  • Flexibility: Many online estate agents offer a range of packages so you can choose what best meets your specific requirements.
     
  • Freedom of choice: Generally, there's no contract period, which means you are free to instruct other estate agents if you wish to.
     
  • Transparency: Thanks to review sites such as Trustpilot, you can read feedback from customers of their experiences – both good and not so good – to help you make an informed choice about which agent to go with.

Things to consider when using an online estate agent

  • Lack of local knowledge: Even online agents with regional representatives may find it difficult to compete with a high-street agent who knows your local area and its property market inside out.
     
  • Valuation: An online-only agent may use online data to value your home, rather than sending around a 'local expert' to provide a valuation.
     
  • How much work you'll have to do: Some online estate agents won't negotiate offers or act as a middleman to progress your sale to completion. Having to manage all the communications with buyers and solicitors can be time-consuming and stressful.
     
  • Viewings: Generally, you'll have to conduct viewings yourself, so you'll need to feel OK about showing strangers around your home and be available when they are – most likely during the evenings and at weekends.
     
  • Vetting: Some (but not all) online estate agents will vet buyers, typically getting details of names, finances and whether potential buyers are already part of a chain. Always ask your online agent about this as some companies use third parties to carry out vetting checks.
     
  • Paying up front: if you opt for this type of package because it's cheaper, you won't be paying on results. In fact, you may even pay only for the company to end up not selling your house unless they specify a money-back guarantee.

Do I need a mortgage in principle for my house hunt?

Whether you choose the high street or the information superhighway as your route to buying or selling a house, the first rule for homebuyers and sellers is simple: be prepared. And, one of the best ways to be ready to move when you've found the right property is a MIP – a Mortgage in Principle. This is a written indication from a bank or building society (the lender) stating how much it might be prepared to lend you. It's not binding (they could still refuse you a mortgage on those terms), but it's a very useful indicator of what you can probably borrow, and estate agents – both high street and online – take them seriously.

The beauty of a MIP is that you can often get one sorted in under an hour if there are no hitches, and at most, it should take only a few days. You can then focus on your hunt for a house, knowing that you're in a position to make a firm offer once you've found a home you like the look of.

Although you can apply for a MIP direct from a bank or building society, it's generally better to do this via a mortgage broker since he or she will have access to a greater range of mortgages than you can find either on the high street or online. You can also save time as your broker can find you the best potential mortgage deal straightaway. This means that as soon as your offer is accepted, you can give your broker a call and ask them to proceed with the full application instead of having to shop around some more.

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About the author
Nick Green is a financial journalist writing for Unbiased.co.uk, the site that has helped over 10 million people find financial, business and legal advice. Nick has been writing professionally on money and business topics for over 15 years, and has previously written for leading accountancy firms PKF and BDO.