Online agents have failed to sell up to 82% of every home that “they have taken money from this year”, a high street agent has claimed.Furthermore, one seller who “saved” on agents’ fees ...

Online agents have failed to sell up to 82% of every home that “they have taken money from this year”, a high street agent has claimed.

Furthermore, one seller who “saved” on agents' fees was actually worse off by around £21,000.

Their property was sold for £25,000 less than a very similar neighbouring property, so while the seller “saved” on estate agent fees, they actually lost money.

The claims come from Chris Wood, of PDQ Estates, and only relate to his neck of the woods – West Cornwall.

For his research, he used data from ZooplaPro* and data for one online agent active in the area, but who has a national presence, and whom he has called by the entirely fictional name of “EasyPeasy”. Wood makes it clear in his blog: “No inference of any actual estate agent trading with that name is implied or should be inferred.”

In the area, Zoopla shows a total of 5,105 new instructions since the start of the year. Of these, seven instructions went to EasyPeasy – a market share of 0.14%.

In a blog, Wood says that with such a market share, he is not spending sleepless nights. But what does it mean for consumers?

Well, online agents charge up-front he says: “This is payable whether you sell or not. So if you don't sell, you haven't saved … If you don't sell with my firm, we won't charge you a penny.”

Wood concludes that, in his area, EasyPeasy are more likely NOT to sell than to sell. Only 18% to 29% at best have actually sold through EasyPeasy.

That compares with the average agent's win in West Cornwall of 60% of all properties taken on.

On the face of it, says Wood, “using an online agent seems a bit of a no-brainer; the savings and speed of sale that many boast of sound like a great deal and, no doubt, in some parts of the UK and in certain niche markets, they may well live up to those claims.

“However, in the sample I have looked at, they fail on every count.”

It's entertaining stuff – and possibly food for thought, in case you were thinking of doing a similar type of blog in your area.

Nothing, of course, to stop the online agents doing some similar analysis.

You will also see from the link below that Wood has changed the name of his fictitious online agent to “hapless”.