Selling A House Online: Is It Possible?
When it comes to selling your house, choosing to sell it online may not be an option you consider. After all, how do you know if you can trust this method?
Well, over the past year, selling a house online has become increasingly popular, with online estate agents’ market share starting to grow.
But what are the ‘sell house online’ options and are they any easier than using a high-street estate agent? And is it possible to sell your house online for free?
We’re going to answer these questions for you, detailing everything you need to know about selling your house online and what all of the selling a house online options are.
Selling a house online – what you need to know
Selling a property online is something that is fairly new to the property industry, but it has taken off, mainly due to the ease of selling. TwentyCI reported online and hybrid estate agents have seen a rise in their market share of 1.3% to reach a total market share of 8.3% year on year.
The growing market share demonstrates the further trust which is being put into online estate agents, such as Purplebricks, and how selling a property online is becoming increasingly popular.
Having said this, selling a house online won’t necessarily be the right option for everyone, so it’s important you consider all your options instead of jumping straight in.
Before we break down each of your options, there are a few things you will need to consider:
What are the fees and what are the payment options available?
How the property is being valued
How you property will be marketed
Who will need to conduct viewings?
Who will be negotiating offers?
How the property chain and the conveyancing process is being managed
What is the best website to sell your house?
If you’re wanting to sell your house online using a property portal, the best ones for you to use are PrimeLocation, Rightmove and Zoopla. These three websites have been used by 47% of the UK population in the past year and 98% of potential buyers look on these sites when looking for somewhere to buy.
This means using one of these sites will give you a higher chance of selling your property to a buyer, but there are no guarantees.
Any good estate agent should be listing your property on any, or all, of these websites but with some online and hybrid estate agents, there will be an extra charge for this service.
However, the good news is not all ‘sell house online’ options come at a cost and there is one that doesn’t involve having to list your house on a property portal – skip to the end to find out more!
Selling a house online – online estate agents
An online estate agent has the same aim as a traditional high street estate agent (to sell your house for as much as they can) but is run through websites and call centres, with no physical office.
As a result of them being completely remote, they offer a more basic service and lower fees than a high street agent. Depending on which online estate agent you choose to sell with, some will offer a more complete service than others, with the ability for you to customise what you want the agent to do and what you’re happy to do.
A major advantage to choosing an online estate agent is that they tend to work out far cheaper than traditional estate agents, as they charge a fixed fee instead of taking a commission of the sold price. Some will have a calculator on their website, so you’re able to see how much money you will be saving by using an online agent.
Most online estate agents also tend to offer a few different payment options – paying upfront, pay later or no sale no fee. Having said this, the payment options aren’t always as straightforward as they seem, with the ‘no sale no fee’ option not always being exactly as it sounds.
Online estate agents are also easy to track, with them often having an online dashboard, so you can see the number of viewings booked in, when they’re in for, if you have an offer put forward and where you are with negotiations.
However, whilst ‘on paper’ online estate agents sound like a great idea, they do come with downsides…
As the majority take payment upfront, from this point there is a low incentive to sell your property. A report from TwentyCI showed that Purplebricks saw 17,035 vendors withdraw their properties from the market after using Purplebricks’ service, but this still boosted their revenue by £17 million, due to them taking payment upfront.
This study demonstrates why online estate agents tend to be unmotivated to sell your house, meaning you could waste MONTHS using their service to not get anywhere.
Also, due to the nature of the estate agents being completely remote and online, they will have little knowledge of your local area, meaning they won’t be able to give an accurate valuation of your property.
Another downside of their completely online service is that you will need to make time to be able to conduct viewings – something you would normally expect your estate agent to handle.
Some online estate agents will give you the option for them to handle viewings for you, but this comes at an extra cost and there tends to be a limit on the number of viewings they will handle for you.
If you’re not on board with any of the above, then an online estate agent isn’t going to be the right option to sell your house online.
Selling a house online – hybrid estate agents
Another one of your options when selling a property online is to use a hybrid estate agent. These are a crossover between a fully online estate agent and a traditional high street agent.
Whilst they won’t have a physical office and are run mainly through a website and a call centre, they have ‘local property experts’ who will come out to visit your property for valuation and they will offer to take photographs, complete a floorplan and EPC and to conduct viewings for you.
Hybrid estate agents are easier to contact when compared to a traditional estate agent, as they have more staff to work beyond the normal ‘9-5’, allowing you to contact them at any time of day.
The advantage to hybrid estate agents having local property experts come out and value your property is that you’re able to feel more confident that your property has been valued accurately.
Hybrid estate agents are also cheaper than traditional estate agents, with them also having various payment options with a pay now, pay later or no sale no fee option.
However, just like an online estate agent, most hybrid agents take their payment upfront, meaning the incentive and urgency to sell your property is very low.
Also, whilst they say they have local property experts with a wealth of local knowledge, this isn’t entirely true…
The local property experts will each cover a wide area range, meaning they’re not as ‘local’ as they make out, and will have limited knowledge of your area. This will mean the valuation you’re given won’t be as accurate as they initially make out.
On top of this, with there being no physical office, you will never get to have a face-to-face conversation with any of the team members who will be trying to sell your property for you.
Whilst some may say this isn’t as much of a drawback as it once was, with the high street slightly losing its appeal, there are a lot of buyers who still like to go into their local estate agent and ask about what’s currently on the market.
Some high-street estate agents will have good relationships with their clients and supply them with properties before they go on the open market – this is something no buyer would be able to get from a hybrid estate agent.
Selling a house online – online auction
An online auction, also known as the modern method of auction, is another option for selling a property online. The modern method of auction works in the same way as a traditional auction, with buyers bidding against each other and the seller setting a reserve price and end date for the auction.
The modern auction has longer timescales than the traditional method of auction. When the ‘virtual hammer’ comes down on a deal, the winning bidder must pay a non-refundable reservation fee, providing them with a 4-week period of exclusivity.
During this period, the buyer must exchange contracts and hand over their deposit. After the 4 weeks, the buyer then has a further 28 days to complete the sale, where the remainder of the sold price will be paid over.
Unlike a traditional auction, with the modern method of auction, your property can be immediately listed and due to the nature of the auction being online, bidding is open to both domestic and international buyers.
Also, with a majority of people now shopping online, the modern method of auction feels the most natural for buyers when they’re paying over reservation fees and deposits.
However, with the modern method of auction, sellers will need to expect to receive a lower amount for their property. This is because buyers are subject to more stamp duty when they buy through auction, as they pay stamp duty on the cost of the sold price and reservation fee combined.
As a result of this, buyers try to get a property at a reduced-price deal. Also, modern auctions tend to overvalue your property as a way of getting your business, similar to what an estate agent does. This can lead to your reserve price not being met, and therefore your property not selling.
With the modern method of auction, it can be quite common for your property to be advertised on their own website rather than on popular property portals, leading to your property getting less exposure and reducing your chances of finding a buyer.
You will also need to make time for viewings and open days to allow potential buyers to take a look around. This will cause a fair amount of disruption to you.
How can I sell my house online for free?
So, we hinted at this earlier, but there is actually a way of selling a house online that also allows you to sell completely free of charge and it’s fast!
Sell to a cash house buying company, just like ourselves. We will buy your house off you for cash in a fast timescale of your choice, all whilst covering all the fees, so you don’t need to pay a penny.
We will handle the whole process from start to finish, making it a stress-free transaction for you. We only require one quick viewing of your property, just to ensure our cash offer is accurate, meaning very little disruption to you.
We’re members of the National Association of Property Buyers and The Property Ombudsman and are also rated excellent on Trustpilot with over 1,000 reviews – with us you’re in safe hands!
Ready to sell your house online for free? Fill in our online form, or give us a call, to receive a no-obligation cash offer, which we could have in your bank by next week…