Online Estate Agents Or High Street Agents?


You may have noticed, as you search for new homes to buy or rent, that some estate agencies can only be contacted online whereas others have office bases. What is the difference between the two styles of agency?

Online agents often attract clients with low fees in exchange for minimal agency management. This, on paper, sounds great, but in fact, signing up on this basis is often a false economy. The expertise and local knowledge of high street agents often get properties sold and rented more quickly and for better prices. It’s well worth considering the following advantages of the high street agency while you’re making comparisons.

1) High street agents will cover every step of the sale or rental process, meaning you don’t have to do unnecessary work or compromise your schedule.

2) In many ways, with a high street agent, you are more in control than with an online platform; you’re able to communicate your requirements more fully and services are more likely to be bespoke. Tick boxes usually have nothing on the conversation.

3) High street agents usually have a strong web presence on Rightmove and Zoopla; signing up to a high street agent does not mean compromising on online reach. In fact, with competition fierce in the Capital, high street agents such as James Pendleton are more likely to put real thought into their advertising, social media and website.

4) High street agents have optimised the way they operate. They know how to work efficiently and effectively. Signing up with a high street agent will invariably save you time as they have had time and space to create strategies that work.

5) When you sign up with a high street agent you are part of a conversation rather than a process; you sign up to the services of a team with multiple contact points and multiple areas of expertise. If you have a question or if you’d like to change the way things are being done you can discuss your service with your team and make changes to it.

6) High street agents are likely to have been operating for longer. This means they will have a firm understanding of not only the current property market landscape but also its historical context. Local independents such as London estate agents James Pendleton are particularly worth looking out for as they will know their area better than national franchises.

7) It’s easy to pop into a high street agent whenever needed. Your search need not feel like a job if all you need to do is step in and take a seat. Many agents intentionally set up offices near to transport hubs and high streets, meaning you can stop by during a shopping trip or commute.

8) You always know where to find your high street agent; it’s easy within working hours to pick up the phone and hear a human voice on the other end. In fact good high street agents make it a priority to spend as much time with you as you need. This service is non-existent with online agencies.

If you do decide to try online, make sure your chosen agency is registered with the Property Ombudsman or a similar governing body; but whatever your eventual choice it’s always worth testing both agency styles before making your move.