The different types of estate agent in Herne Bay
In this blog post I explain and discuss the three principal types of estate agents you will find in Herne Bay. Full disclosure: I am a Local Property Expert for 99home.
I actually want to help people understand their options so that they can make an informed decision when selling or letting their home. Some of what I discuss in this article is fairly basic, but if you're new to home buying and selling then it will be useful.
What are the different types of estate agents in Herne Bay?
Over the past couple of years the estate agency industry has changed dramatically. This is mainly because of increased competition and the impact of the internet and technology.
About 20 years ago, photos of properties were taken and then developed, collected and stuck to sheets of paper and put into brochures. The only way you could look at lots of properties all at once, was to buy a newspaper or look in an agents window. Brochures were typed up on typewriters and potential buyers were matched to properties by sorting through a box of Rolodex cards.
Computers were introduced and agents started to use databases. Digital cameras allowed agents to take photos and add them to property details quickly and easily. Then came the internet and estate agents started uploading property details to portals like Rightmove. House buyers could then see and search for properties from the comfort of their sofa.
The Different Types of Estate Agent
The three main types of estate agents in Herne Bay are:
These are the main types or categories but there is a lot of overlap. Lets look at the different types in more depth.
Traditional high street estate agent
These are the estate agent businesses you will find in most towns and cities, often with big glass frontages, fancy decor and suited sales people sitting behind desks trying to look busy.
Many of the larger estate agents fall into this category. National chains, regional chains, franchises and smaller family owned businesses are usually regarded as "high street estate agents".
High street agents will have a number of business overheads that they have to pay. They'll have to pay for things such as business rates for their premises, staffing costs and will often have new sign-written cars.
Online Estate Agents
Online estate agents are companies or individuals who provide their property selling services via the internet.
When the first online estate agents started up they provided basic services and operated from websites and call centres. Their main service was to list the property on one or more of the online property portals (e.g. Rightmove, Zoopla).
Because an online estate agent has lower overheads, e.g. no high street offices and fewer sales staff they are usually able to charge lower fees.
Hybrid Estate Agent
What is a hybrid estate agent?
Hybrid estate agents are online estate agents who also provide services that would normally only be available through a traditional high street agent. e.g. professional photography, a local expert and property viewings.
Hybrid agents developed out of the online agent business model. Online agents who started to offer service more akin to traditional agents. This was because many sellers want, more of a hands on approach and want to meet and talk to an expert who knows the neighbourhood/town/city/area.
A hybrid estate agent could be said to be the best of both worlds because you get all the services at a reduced cost.
Main differences between these estate agents
The principal differences between traditional estate agents and online/hybrid agents:
- Tailored Service
- Physical Presence / Office
- List of Potential Buyers
- Staffing Levels and Opening Hours
- Experience and Local Knowledge
- Modern Marketing
Let's look at each in more detail;
Aside from cost, I think one of the big differences is the ability to customise the service you receive. Most high street agents provide just one "service package" in exchange for a percentage fee of the sale price. You have to have them provide and do everything e.g. the photography and the viewings etc.
With online and hybrid estate agents you can typically choose which elements of the home marketing/sales process you want to carry out yourself, and in return you pay a reduced fee.
Myself and 99Home can create a tailor made estate agency service just for you. You can opt to do it all yourself, engage me and the team to carry out everything, or we can provide something in between.
Physical presence / office
A traditional agent will have premises in the high street area. This is great if you like to speak face to face with your estate agent and enjoy finding and paying for a car space near their office.
An online agent won't have a physical office and therefore has lower overheads. So, you won't be able to visit and talk to someone face-to-face.
Hybrid agents have local property experts, who usually work from home. Like online agents, they have lower overheads that they can pass onto customers. Local Property Experts will visit you in the comfort of your own home.
As a Local Property Expert for 99Home, I work from home and am happy to meet clients at their property, in a nearby coffee shop or at my own home by appointment.
List of potential buyers
The high street agents put a lot of emphasis on having a large database of potential buyers, but the area representative of an online/hybrid, with a true local expert, will also have a list of potential buyers and contacts.
Staffing Levels & Opening Hours
High street agents will normally be open 9 - 5, if you're lucky 8.30 - 6. Some forward thinking high street agents will have a call answering service or an online chat facility outside office hours. This is a service that is often farmed out to a third party company, who will know little about your specific property. As such they are just a message taking service.
Online agents by their very nature are available online 24 hours. This is normally achievable as they operate from a central location and have a telephone call centre. This means you can contact your agent outside of standard office hours and discuss your case, but they might not have that vital area knowledge to hand.
A hybrid agent, will also have a central office and a Local Property Expert - they share information about your property/case. The Local Property Expert will usually work from home and is quite often contactable out of normal office hours. This will clearly depend on the specific Local Property Expert. However, if he/she is unavailable you still have the benefit of being able to contact the central office of the hybrid agent.
I'm normally available most weekends and in the evenings till about 7pm. This is helpful if you work normal office hours and don't get home till 6. If I'm not available you can always contact the 99Home head office by phone or online who are open 24-7.
Experience & Local Knowledge
A high street agent who has been trading in their area for a long time will obviously have a lot of experience. Equally the representative of a hybrid agent, if they are local will know a lot about the neighbourhood.
I've lived in Herne Bay for the past 20 years and in East Kent all my life so I know the area very well. The 99Home team of real estate professionals have more than 10 year’s experience and are readily available to provide you with all the necessary support.
People search online first for most things now. Some high street agents have upped their game in this area, but few really understand and utilise online marketing. By their very nature, online/hybrid agents will be using the internet to market your property.
I'm a specialist at marketing online. I've lectured thousands of students, spoken at various conferences and on BBC Radio about Internet Marketing.
The biggie. I have to generalise a little here, but using an online or hybrid agent will usually be cheaper than using a traditional high street agent. Why? Because most high street agents charge a percentage fee of the sale price whereas online/hybrid charge a flat fee.
There is nothing worse than realising you could have saved yourself a lot of money. Please shop around - it is possible to get outstanding service and pay less. Look at the customer reviews of 99Home at Trustpilot.
Selling your most expensive asset can be daunting, but I'm here to help you make the process as easy and stress free as possible.