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The importance of online property portals in selling your home

Choosing a trusted local estate agent to help you sell your home is all very well but how effective is their advertising? Back in the day, your local paper’s property listings were the only way to showcase your property for sale, apart from the estate agent’s own window. But the internet changed everything.

These days, even properties listed on your estate agent’s nicely designed website no longer attract sufficient volumes of potential buyers. Their reach has to go much, much further, simply because the way people search for property has experienced a dramatic shift over the last 20 years or so. A staggering 98% of people now start their property search online.

This is where property portals come in. The majority of UK homes listed for sale and to let can now be found on one of these portals, regardless of who the instructed agent may be. Together, they can reach literally millions of interested house hunters and renters every day who demand instant access and a fast, efficient way to search for their next home.

For you as the seller, this is welcome news. Whatever criteria you use to choose the best agent, do make absolutely sure that they are listed on one of the major portals. That way, you will give your home the best opportunity to be seen and sold quickly.

There are many property websites in the UK, with the biggest online property portals being Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation.

  • Rightmove has deservedly captured the top spot. With 1.1 million properties to view, the site offers the most extensive inventory of properties for sale and to let, and has he most engaged property audience. 127 million people visit the site every month – that’s around 4 million visits per day. That kind of traffic volume puts Rightmove in the top 10 of UK websites overall.

The company has recently developed powerful tools aimed at surveyors seeking additional evidence for their valuations. As one surveyor points out, “for some owners, understanding the current value of your home before putting it on the market is essential – and an estate agent’s market appraisal may not be enough,” Brian Gale.

  • After Rightmove, the next biggest portal is Zoopla, with 50 million users per month, 60% less than Rightmove. Zoopla now advertises in the region of 900,000 properties. What’s more, the company also owns Hometrack, a property data website that can be used for professional valuations, market intelligence and risk analytics.
  • Once and independent company, PrimeLocation was bought out by Zoopla in 2016 but continues to operate as a separate brand. It is positioned as a fresh, modern alternative to the two established main players.

If you are serious about selling your property, regardless of where you are located, you really cannot afford to miss out on the significant marketing opportunities provided by the enormous internet presence of these leading property portals. With your home featured on Rightmove, Zoopla or PrimeLocation, the volume of potential buyers that you are reaching increases exponentially.

In order to get onto one of these platforms to sell your home, you will need to instruct an estate agent; portals don’t deal with individuals advertising their property for sale. Of course, estate agents know this and will make the most of their presence on the major property portals in order to win your business.

High street estate agents are the traditional choice for residential property sellers. The best ones offer a wealth of local property knowledge and expertise, plus a comprehensive online and offline marketing and support package to get your property sold. Best of all, you will form a personal rapport with a trusted professional who will act on your behalf. Estate agent’s fees range from less than 1% to 3.5% of the sale price, payable upon completion.

Using an ‘online only’ estate agent such as PurpleBricks, housesimple or Yopa can be substantially cheaper, but it is highly advisable to make sure you know what you get for the little money you do pay, and watch out for hidden extra costs. Many online agents require payment upfront rather than on completion of the sale, so if you choose to take the property off the market or it doesn’t sell, you will lose your money. Other agencies offer fixed price packages to pay on completion, but these are typically more expensive.

Whichever type of estate agent you feel most comfortable with, the role of the internet property portal remains unassailable. After all is said and done, chances are that your buyer will have first clapped eyes on your property on Rightmove or Zoopla, and the rest follows on from there.

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