League Table Shows Rise of Online Estate Agents

Online estate agents offer a number of cost benefits. But it can be hard to know which agencies have the established reach to sell your property.  House sales advice site SellingUp conducted useful research in 2015 to look at which agencies are listing the most properties, and which are displaying the most houses ‘under offer’.

The comparison was conducted via Zoopla, which is the biggest and most comprehensive property website in the UK, with millions of users visiting every month. It focuses purely on online agencies, as some high street agents now use the OnTheMarket portal, which limits whether they can also advertise via Zoopla or Rightmove, meaning the comparison would be inaccurate. 

Who are the biggest online estate agents

Although the data should be used as a guide rather than exact figures, it’s interesting to see how the top four agencies included each list thousands of homes. From Purplebricks with 1670 properties listed at the time of survey to Housesimple with 1195, there are emerging market leaders. Purplebricks has seen particular growth as eMoov was previously the online estate agent with the most properties available on Zoopla.

While it may seem to suggest just looking at the big four (Purplebricks, eMoov, House Network and Housesimple), there are reasons to consider other online estate agents. For example, Tepilo, owned by TV property expert Sarah Beeny, has seen considerable growth, and no one agent is dominant enough to control the market. And that’s great news for house sellers, as competition means better prices and deals. 

Which online estate agents are making sales?

The SellingUp data also looked at the percentage of homes recently added and ‘under offer’. And while some agents may remove properties as soon as they are likely to be sold, there are several smaller companies which have extremely high sales rates. While you shouldn’t base your decisions on one comparison, it’s certainly unwise to dismiss the agents that may have a small inventory at the moment, and therefore are able to devote more time to each property on their books. Various online agents both big and small were showing between 35-50% of properties under offer.

When compiling the data, the SellingUp team did focus on online estate agents with national reach, rather than regional specialists. Both Hatched and eMoov both use branch networks, whose figures were combined to present a realistic picture of their overall size and scale. 

How to choose the right online estate agent?

The key fact from the data is that more than 10,000 properties are being listed and sold via online estate agents rather than the traditional high street alternative. The main reason for that is likely to be the cost saving and ability to choose exactly which services are required, potentially saving a house seller thousands of pounds. With UK house prices reaching new highs, any estate agent basing their fees on the sales figure will make more money than ever for providing the same service. And using an online agent may be as simple as hosting a viewing yourself – the current demand for homes means it’s likely you won’t need more than a day or two of viewings to get the right offer.

It’s worth keeping up with the latest research from SellingUp – in addition to explaining the importance of the online homebuyer portals Zoopla, Rightmove and OnTheMarket.com, there are useful tips for buyers such as which problems are most likely to lose a sale and other ways to reduce costs.

And while online estate agents should be registered with the Property Ombudsman and offer the same legal protection as any high street agent, it can be hard to choose which deal is right for you without independent advice and comparison tools.

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