When is an online estate agent not an online estate agent?

December 16, 2020

The difference between House Fox and online estate agents

We’ve often been tagged with the ‘online estate agent’ by those who haven’t experienced our services yet. The truth is, although our prices match, and sometimes beat, the fees of agents like Purple Bricks, Yopa or emoov, House Fox is not the same. We are not an online estate agent.

Online prices, real world service

At House Fox Estate agents, we offer a full estate agency service for fairer fees. Services that include professional photography, sales boards, brochures and accompanied viewings, and sales progression right through from listing to completion. And all at no extra cost. There are no add-ons, no hidden extras, and you won’t be tied in to using our conveyancers, or be obliged to arrange your mortgage through our mortgage advisors — although they are here to help should you choose to use them. You will be also free to take your house off the market at any point. And if you do, you won’t be charged any fees at all.

Local estate agency service vs online estate agents

As the bigger online estate agents operate from call centres they will have limited local knowledge, so valuing your house is often done using online data, which is fine for a guide price, but you really need people who know the area well to help you set an accurate asking price. Lack of specific knowledge can also be the case with “hybrid agents” using property “experts”. If the agent is covering a large area they won’t know the specifics of your local market.

It’s true that House Fox doesn’t have a high street presence—we don’t need one. In the twenty-first century 98% of house hunting starts online making window shopping for a new home something out of a by-gone era. We conduct everything from our two offices in Portishead and Weston-super-Mare. Each of our agents cover a small area, which they know inside-out, and when you need to see us an agent in person one of our twelve staff will come out to you.

All of our agents and support staff are locally based and the majority have lived and worked in North Somerset for decades. They keep abreast of the amenities, transport links, and the reputation of the local schools. And it’s this local knowledge that enables our agents to accurately price properties when they go on sale. Accurate pricing is vital to enable quick sales at near the asking price—something we pride ourselves on at House Fox. We won’t give an inflated valuation just to rope a seller in knowing that the price will have to be reduced and the property re-listed in order to get a sale.

Online, but not online

It’s only after we have visited a property and agreed a valuation with the vendor do we harness the power of the internet. Properties are listed on the major portals: Zoopla, Rightmove and Prime Location, as well as our own website and featured properties on Facebook and Instagram. But, like a traditional estate agent, we also use local press and have a list of waiting buyers ready to make purchases in North Somerset.

Unlike online estate agents, we see to everything personally. We manage everything through the sales progression from negotiating with the buyers to dealing with solicitors and ironing out any snags that may crop up.

Accompanied viewings included

In most cases, vendors need to conduct viewings personally when using an online estate agent. You can pay an additional fee for attended viewings, but you need to factor the cost in when comparing fees with other estate agents.

This chart from Homeowners Alliance shows how much extra you may need to pay:

Online agent Fees for accompanied viewings
easyproperty £300
Strike (formerly HouseSimple) £549
Sellmyhome £399
Yopa From £300
Purplebricks £300 (Outside London)
esale £325
99Home From £55
Doorsteps £400

Award winning customer service

In 2020 we were voted Best in County for Somerset (North and South) at the ESTA Customer Service awards sponsored by Zoopla, and achieved a silver award for The South West of England.

award winning estate agents

Winning means so much as the results are based purely on customer reviews from clients that have experienced a full service from their agent. ESTAS reviews can only be completed at the end of the transaction and a strict verification process ensures reviews are genuine.

So, if you are looking to save money on estate agents fees, but still want a full service from your agent you’ve come to the right place. Contact us now for a free, no-obligation valuation. If you like what you see and hear, we’ll take it from there.