|Photo Credit: Jamie Whiffen from Unsplash|
I am basing this post on Purple Bricks as that was the online company we chose to use last May. The concept is simple. You pay the estate agent to take photographs of your house and put them on Right Move. It is an upfront cost that you won't get back. You can pay extra if you would like the estate agent to do the viewings. Once your house is online then people that want to view can book an appointment with you through the website.
I would say that the valuation with Purple Bricks was realistic. They weren't trying to add on 25K like some of the standard agents that we had to value our property. The photographs were OK but not amazing. We chose to do the viewings ourself. One of the biggest problems we faced was that there were a lot of people wanting to view the house who weren't in a position to buy. This is annoying at the best of times but when you are trying to keep a family house "viewing ready" it is really hard. We had a big influx of viewings in the first few weeks and then a steady flow for the next month.
The fact that viewings can be whenever is convenient can be a good thing. However, you will find that some people will book a viewing at 10pm Friday evening, wanting to come the following morning. If you try and rearrange they often aren't interested which means they often aren't serious buyers in the first place.
We then had an offer which we accepted. Your estate agent with help with negotiating a price if you ask them to. All in all the process was simple and if the sale had gone through we could have saved thousands.
Unfortunately Brexit then happened. Our buyers lost their first time buyer. The chain broke. And the climate changed a lot. We put the house back on with Purple Bricks at the end of August. We had a couple of viewings from people that weren't in a position to buy and that was it. Tumbleweed. Whilst Purple Bricks had been fine to list with when the housing market was moving, it wasn't the right place for us post Brexit.
We eventually moved to a standard estate agent and although it was quiet, they did get people in a position to buy through the door and we are now SSTC again. Fingers crossed that this time it all goes through.
So would I recommend Purple Bricks? It's a hard one. If the housing market is moving, if your house is in reasonable condition and if you don't mind losing the fee then I guess it is worth a go. You could save thousands. However, if you want to sell quickly and if the housing market is slow then it is probably best not to.
Have you sold with an online estate agent? Would you recommend them?