The Verdict: High-street vs Online Estate Agents

The Verdict: High-Street vs Online Estate Agents


With the dramatic rise of technology, online Estate Agents have become considerably more common in the past decade. However, many people still remain dubious about their ability to compete with the tailored and professional approach of a high street agent. Here is our verdict on this debate…So you can make an educated and justified decision when it comes to selling your property…


Online agents will argue that the internet provides the best visibility to the public, when displaying a property on the market. They believe marketing a property in a shop window doesn’t provide the same amount of exposure as the internet does.

To some extent they are right, it doesn’t provide enough visibility. However, people still do look at shop window displays and in some cases this does entice them to view a property. The vital point, which is often played down by online agents is, ALL Estate Agents are online in today’s technology orientated society anyway.

All high-street Estate Agents have an online presence, whether it’s a company website, social media account (Facebook, Instagram), blogs or by featuring properties on property portals (i.e. Right Move, Zoopla). We at Direct Moves, for example, are present on all of these platforms.

So in reality we, as high-street agents’ Estate Agents, have all angles covered and are not just covering one marketing area.


A huge difference between online and high-street Estate Agents is the level and quality of service you will receive.

Online agents deal with many more clients and applicants, their stock is far greater than high-street companies. As a result of this, they tend to view their customers as little more than a number. Whereas, for high-street agents every customer is different, they recognise each individual requires different things and tailor their service to this. A relationship is formed between agents and client and the customer is always informed every step of the process.

Often, online agents argue their availability is superior, as they have 24 hour call centres. However, some people don’t realise that each time you call a random representative will take the call. This means that they won’t know you and your individual needs. So although the availability may be superior the may not be. It is sometimes overlooked that high-street Estate Agents also have great availability, for example at Direct Moves we are open 7 days a week, mainly at full hour days.


There is a lack of regulation in regards to who can be an estate agent, unless declared bankrupt or banned by the Office of fair trading virtually anyone can set up an estate agency. It’s partially because of this why a bunch of online estate agencies have sprung up in the past years.

Understandably, this issue of regulations can be problematic for many sellers when residing who to put their property on with. However, voluntary accreditation informs potential clients of agencies credibility. Here at Direct Moves we have chosen to be members of commitment bodies, such as the National Association of Estate Agents, so we can show you, the customer, that we are genuine and are committed to supplying the best service be can.

Estate agents which are not members of any commitment bodies cannot be held accountable to a standard of excellence like we can achieve with these memberships.


The majority of people are initially drawn to online agents because of their low and very competitive fees, in comparison to high-street agents.

Online estate agents offer a fixed fee with no commission, however you will pay this regardless of sheathed your home sells or not. In general, high street agents opt to charge 1-2% of the sale price.

Now the difference between the two can make choosing online agents over a high-street agent a no brainier. But remember you get what you pay for.

It is also important to note that high-street agents are adapting their selling fees to compete with online agents. For example, here at Direct Moves we offer 3 different selling packages. Our DIY service for example has a fixed fee, which competes with online estate agents.

Finally, it isn’t uncommon to find that although online agents aggressively market their “very low prices”, you can often end up paying significantly more than advertised. After additional costs for viewings, photography, premium listings etc your costs may be a lot greater, especially after VAT is added onto this.

The Facts

  • High street agents secure on average a 5% higher sale price, than online agents.
  • High street agents increase offers by up to 64% compared to online agents.
  • In a recent study, 73% of property sales achieved a better result when a high street agent was involved.
  • High street agents increase viewings by 43% compared to online agents.


We evidently have a pretty good idea as to where we stand in this debate, high street agents win! However, the online model definitely does work for certain people and this may be worth considering. Before, jumping onto the market with an agent really weigh up the positives and negatives. Remember if you have any questions or need advice please do not hesitate to give us a call