Why buyers and sellers still prefer traditional estate agents


A recent survey, carried out by telephone answering service Face for Business, revealed that 60% of people would rather buy or sell a home via a traditional estate agent.

By contrast, just 34% said they preferred an online service to help them through the process – and a further 6% were ‘don’t knows’.

The research found that the attributes most commonly associated with traditional agency were experience, local market knowledge and access to local buyers, all of which helps agents to make the absolute most of any given property’s unique selling points.

The survey, which polled 1,000 members of the British public, also found that older people tend to favour a more traditional approach. In addition, slightly more women (across all age groups) preferred traditional agents than men.

Strong communications, face-to-face meetings, local knowledge and experience were cited as the “swing factors” that would make people opt for an agent with a high street presence.

While we would have expected the number to be even higher, these findings go to show that people are nearly twice as likely to go down the traditional high street route than they are to use the services of an online agent.

As mentioned, the added personal touch and the ability of a traditional agent to meet face to face with clients helps to build trust and foster close relationships between a seller, buyer and agent. When it comes to house sales, mutual trust is (of course) all-important.

Furthermore, an excellent knowledge of the local area – something that is much more likely if you have branches on the high streets of the towns and cities you operate in – helps an agent to set an appropriate and realistic asking price, find suitable buyers and understand the mechanics and quirks of the local property market.

Experience, too, is vital when it comes to getting homes sold. An agent who has been working in the same sort of area for ten, twenty or even thirty years will have built good relationships with local solicitors, conveyancing firms and surveyors, will know the local market inside out and will know how to get things done in a fast, efficient, professional and hassle-free manner.

Experience also helps when it comes to conducting house viewings and dealing with stumbling blocks when they arise, which they invariably do in property sales.

Unfortunately, no matter how much we want it to be true, the process of buying or selling home is very rarely plain sailing. But this is where an experienced, reliable, knowledgeable agent comes into their own, taking away the pressure and hassle and conducting themselves in the right way throughout.

There was also some interesting research carried out by consumer watchdog Which? last month.

Readers were polled with the following question “would you use an online agent to sell your home?” 45% chose the “Maybe, it depends on what they’re offering” answer, 36% said “No, I’d rather use a traditional agent” and only 19% said “Yes, why not?”

So, although some people would be willing to listen to what online operators have to offer, they are not already clear about what their services entail.

Whereas people know what they are getting with a high street estate agent and trust the service they will receive.

It’s also interesting that of the explicit answers, “No, I’d rather use a traditional agent” was a comfortable winner, suggesting that people would still rather opt for a service they know rather than one they are unsure about.

The main appeal of online services to consumers is the lower fees, but there is always the age-old argument that you get what you pay for.

If you pay less, you can expect a less personal and thorough service. The number of things that the agent will do on your behalf invariably decreases.

At Mishon Mackay we offer a transparent, independent and honest service. Our dynamic team will work closely with you, getting the marketing material right, giving your property the widest possible reach and giving it excellent exposure through online and traditional means.

Our aim is always to market each new home with equal enthusiasm.

For more info about the services we offer in Brighton, Hove, Rottingdean and the surrounding areas, please get in contact with Marc Cox on: 01273 416732.

If you would like to know how much your property could be worth in the current marketplace, check out our free and instant online valuation tool.