High street agents achieve more viewings, more offers, and in almost three-quarters of cases a 5% better price than online-only firms.
The research, from The Advisory – an independent consumer advice group for house sellers – says that internet-only agents are very reliant on the portals to find buyers.
However, it says that while Rightmove generates 52% of viewings, it generates only 36% of offers and 27% of the best buyers.
High street agents generate 48% more viewings, 64% more offers, and in 73% of cases a 5% higher sale price.
On a £250,000 sale, that translates to a loss of £12,500, claims The Advisory, if an online-only firm has been used.
The firm clarified last night that its study was looking at passive intermediaries, versus local estate agents.
The Advisory says that the average UK high street estate agency fee is 1.18% plus VAT.
However, it adds that agents could be selling themselves short – and could be charging up to 4% commission plus VAT and still achieve a better result than an internet-only listing service charging £849.
A total of 202 sales were studied, and The Advisory says it makes no claim that its findings are definitive – just relevant.
It has not clarified the number of sales that went through online or high street agents, but yesterday evening stressed that the research was largely into ‘passive intermediary’ versus ‘proactive local estate agent’.
The research was very quietly published on its own website by The Advisory in August, and has so far not been picked up by any other media.
It is part of a series of ongoing guides, the result of research over two years.
An earlier section of it queries the wisdom of sellers using online agents on the basis that professional house sellers do not.
It says that professional sellers include builders offering part exchange, corporate asset managers, and banks disposing of repossessed properties.
The research says: “Interestingly, we don’t know of any that use cheap online estate agents.
“Instead, they choose to put their sales in the hands of local, no sale no fee, high street estate agents.”
The Advisory is run by Gavin Brazg, who says that he is also a professional seller, managing a team which buys and sells houses on behalf of corporate relocation companies and developers offering part exchange.
He says that what he pays annually in estate agent fees is “not insignificant”.
However, estate agent fees are not his primary concern.
Instead he focuses on a “walkaway figure – the amount of money received from a sale after the cost of selling has been deducted”.
He says that sellers who do sell through an internet agent could be “stepping over the pounds to pick up the pennies”.