Leading London agent Lurot brand general manager James Robinson (pictured, right) has launched a scathing attack on the UK’s online agents describing them as a “property version of ebay with a helpline”.
In a head-on clash with online agents, Robinson says in an opinion piece in London’s City AM newspaper that too many vendors don’t realise that, although they are saving money on agent fees, an agent’s expertise and experience can help save them the “tens or even hundreds of thousands” lost by not having a negotiator on their side.
“This may sound far-fetched, but every estate agent has listened to dinner party boasts of the tens of thousands of pounds a guest has cleverly saved on estate agent fees this way,” he says.
Robinson goes on to say that because agents do the job of selling houses every day, they know only too well how important it is to have someone in the middle during negotiations.
“We also know that estate agents have databases of the best buyers relying on agents, rather than portals, to notify them of properties coming to the market in specific locations,” he says.
“Also, there’s greater accountability; if you get it badly wrong, you can’t exactly sue yourself.”
Robinson also says vendors who sell homes through online-only agents are like someone who represents themselves in court, whom US President Abraham Lincoln once described as having a “fool for a client” – i.e. themselves.
“Online agents will always be attractive to people who think cheap is best. But, unless you want to become one of Lincoln’s fools, employing a good estate agent to represent you will always be the best way to sell your property for the best price,” he says.