North London Property Column: Online or Traditional Estate Agents?
Written by: Sophie Taylor
Property advice for North Londoners, provided by industry experts. Does it really make a difference if you use a traditional high street estate agent or go for an online service? We’ve seen the adverts offering to save us money, but at what cost? Are the days of traditional estate agency numbered? To us, it kind of seems that all agents are online, but does having a tangible presence in the area validate the higher costs? What exactly do high street estate agents do that an online agent doesn’t?
We spoke to Mark Scales of Davies & Davies Estate Agents, an independent property company based in Finsbury Park.
What exactly do high street agents do that online agents don’t?
“Estate agents, of the traditional variety, are experts of the neighbourhood that they work within. They understand and have knowledge of not only the local market but also schools, amenities, businesses, transport and the community who live in the area. They also, if they are worth their salt, make a real effort to get to know both the seller and potential buyers, learning from their specific needs and understanding their day-to-day lives, personalities and dreams for the future.
Traditional agents also properly market your home themselves – they don’t just plonk it on Rightmove. They bring a wider pool of people to view your property and then provide an in-depth ‘tour’ of your home for prospective buyers, before moving on to expertly negotiating the best deal for the client.
A person will either initially like a property or not when they go to a viewing, it really is that simple. However, high street agents will point out the best features of a property, or any changes that could improve it, which will help the buyer to see beyond the interiors or layouts which they may not at first like, and instead see the potential of the property. Our job is to match a buyers specific needs to our portfolio of properties and then get them to visit your home and experience it for themselves.”
So what happens post-viewing, when I’ve made an offer?
“Once your offer has been accepted your agent will then progress the sale, speaking to all parties involved including solicitors, to make sure the sale goes through smoothly. Our job is to keep all parties regularly updated, provide advice, explain any jargon and negotiate on behalf of the client. We have a duty of care towards the client, so we will bend over backwards to ensure they are looked after, which sometimes means acting as mediator or following-up solicitors for answers.
We also can provide a local office where both buyer and seller can come in and have a chat, or we can go to their own homes, whichever works for them – sometimes personal interaction is needed at tough times.”
Who can introduce the most amount of buyers, local or online?
“Your traditional agent, of course! We’re based in the actual area applicants are looking in. We have a shop front, a real-life presence. When buyers are looking for property they will visit the area, so they can pop in and speak to us face-to-face. If they live in the area already it’s likely they know us already, they probably walk past our office every day, have dealt with us before or have friends or family who have sold or bought through us. A traditional agent will be immersed in the local community, the good ones roll up their sleeves and get involved with events, organisations and schools. They’re visible locally, with deep-rooted connections and marketing specifically tailored for that neighbourhood. So yeah, we can definitely get more buyers to view your property.”
What’s more, you get as many cups of tea as you can drink while you soak up all the friendly advice. Certainly beats going cross-eyed at your computer screen trying to get your head round all the property jargon.
What about fees? High street agents are obviously more expensive than online agents.
“Yep, this is very true and for a reason. Online agents will make claims that they can save you many thousands in fees, but I really believe that by using a high street agent you will earn much more than the saving offered to you because we can achieve a much better sale price. Moreover, you get what you pay for, so if you want good customer service, expertise, a bigger pool of potential buyers, someone to do the legwork for you with viewings, someone to progress the sale on your behalf and negotiate the best price so you don’t have to, you need a high street agent. Also, your local high street agent will really know your property, the surrounding area and their customers. This knowledge and level of service, really is what you pay for.”
In Summary (because we’re busy people):
Selling with a high street estate agent:
Pros – you will receive the highest level of marketing, get more potential buyers through your door, likely to achieve a higher price, sell quicker, have more security and experience less pressure as the agent will progress the sale for you.
Cons – it is possible for an online agency to get you the best price and, of course, they charge a minimal fee.
Looking to buy, rent or sell in North London? Why not visit the helpful bunch at Davies & Davies Estate Agents on Stroud Green Road. Established in 1927, they know the neighbourhood like the back of their hand. Coffee stains and all.
This article has been very kindly sponsored by Davies & Davies Estate Agents (obviously).
Drop them a line: email@example.com or give them a bell: 020 7272 0986
Photos by Mike Barry featuring Davies & Davies properties.
“Only last night I found myself lost / by the station called King's Cross. / Dead and wounded on either side / you know it's only a matter of time.” [Pet Shop Boys - Kings Cross] It’s the night after the play and I’m standing at the bar of ‘The Big Chill House’ on Pentonville Road in Kings Cross. It’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ (#TBT) and happy hour is definitely over.
Ceramics with charisma. Local pottery genius, Laura Bird has of course graced the digital pages of It’s Nice That, sold out in Anthropologie* and taken her seat at many a London ceramics stall since just recently starting her career in ceramics. It’s no surprise she is well loved: her unique and gentle humour exudes from every jar, planter and candlestick holder, adorned with cheeky expressions and impish grins.
Having worked in hospitality with a keen artist’s eye, the Arts Building knew Emma was perfect to take over the space. They were after a morning to night eatery for the neighbourhood, one for local residents and workers alike. Knowing the street’s reputation as a bit of a foodie strip, the menu had to be up to scratch for it’s discerning super-taster of a community. Yes, we’re a hungry bunch in Stroud Green.
At the time of writing this the menu has just been released for Food by Feast’s new supper club. I imagine, however, that by the time you read this every dining space will be swiftly filled. If you aren’t acquainted with the duo yet (tsk), they’re the genius collaboration of Cordon Bleu chef and food writer Olivia Potts and Guardian food writer and cook, Kate Young. Having successfully completed the likes of a Gilmore Girls supper club to rapturous applause and smacking lips recently, the latest menu experience is Twin Peaks inspired and looks equally witty and delectable.
Sound healing in Stoke Newington. This Thursday 18th May, The Mystery School of Sound are running a de-stress gong bath experience in Stoke Newington Ramadan Mosque. Alongside guided meditation, healing process and gong performace, you’ll get a mini intro to healing traditions of the druids and hermetic teaching.
Patron Cave a Manger’s pop up cinema are shacking up at The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town to screen The Artist. Soak up the atmoshpere of the Festival du Cannes with swanky popcorn and elegant cocktails. Get red carpet ready for this special screening of The Artist - the ridiculously popular award winning silent French film that everyone fell in love with.
Unfortunately rising rents are affecting community spaces in Stoke Newington and their availability. St Mary’s Centre currently provides a space for projects including the Foodbank, Hackney Migrants centre and the Night Shelter but they're at risk of losing their space. To help raise funds to redevelop the space and increase awareness, they are organising a weekend food market in Stokey. The pop-up food market is a launch event for their huge fundraising drive to rebuild the community rooms attached to St Mary's Church in Stoke Newington.
Healthy chocolate mousse and sexing up your smoothie with Kate Oates. We have found ourselves a yoga guru in Kate Oates, a healthtastic yogi based in Crouch End. When we met her last year she hinted at a few of her own culinary creations and boy were we intrigued. Asking for an exclusive recipe for you health conscious readers, we received a taste sensation of an idea for chocolate breakfast.
“All My Single Cylinders, All My Single Cylinders”. Two girls, sick to the back teeth of Tindering and Bumbling about the bars of London, decided to create their own speed dating night. Involved in the biker community of East London they have created a special series of nights combining live music, motorbikes and speed dates. Bolt Motorbike Shop of Stoke Newington is their latest venue, providing a more intriguing backdrop for your date night and quashing the usual awkwardness of sparse, brightly lit speed dating scenarios. You can admire the motors, enjoy your free drinks and listen to some live music with some top notch handpicked company.
In case you’ve never had a piirakka, (also known as Karelian pasties, pies or pirogs) they’re a delicious Finnish treat that you need to try immediately. Whether savoury or sweet, they’re basically a light pastie made with rye flour and a pretty unique variety of filling options. Meet Aapo Nieminen, a native Finnish local who grew up with piirakka. After getting tired of asking friends and family to bring him these naughty little pasties whenever they visited he came up with a plan. “They are an important part of everyday finish life. One day I thought why not just make them yourself?”
The lycra is optional. Coffee however, isn't. On Friday 197 cyclists descended on Sardinia to compete in the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia. For those of you that don't have wardrobes filled with lycra you might never of heard of it but Think Tour d'France but in Italy. Still drawing a blank?
Naked Dough have appeared like a pair of beautiful fairy godmothers to lead me to an actual edible cookie dough dance party. Plus they didn’t even tell me what I should wear, they genuinely don’t care. Naked Dough is a new restaurant serving edible cookie dough from tubs, cones and even carry home pots. The ingredients are raw egg free and the flour is heat-treated so you need not worry-like-Edwina-Currie about salmonella and stomach bloat (unless you’re gluten free of course. In which case I’m sorry you’ve stumbled upon this torture page of an article).
Ten years ago MINT Vintage first opened in Covent Garden before moving on to the more creative surrounds of Stoke Newington, pioneering fashion forward vintage. Every piece is hand selected and sourced from all over the world, ensuring every garment is trend driven but timeless and always unique. This May they’ve decided to transform their world in to an “oops we were trying to make corduroy and came up with denim” dreamland*.
Finding myself wandering around Limehouse Basin craving a pint and perhaps even a slice of pizza, I needed to get home to my local Crate Brewery sharpish (they do the freshest craft beers and have award winning pizzas). But how to get there? Stumbling in to Limehouse Station and towards a huge sign saying CLOSED, I consider walking there instead. A short meander riverwards, I reach the canal and begin to notice a group of people donning chunky waistcoats stretching their arms around. I pause for a second, swaying slightly on the spot, watching this mesmerising circle of humans yielding huge double ended spoons.
"Ooh they’re doing a psych night at Moth Club Tina!” "What, again?” It’s a familiar sentence. Fast becoming a buzzword for young musos and Beyond Retro dwellers alike, psych music is no longer just for the suede fringed waistcoat wearing Acid Jazz lovers who curse their parents they weren’t born in 1966. No no. The psych music spectrum has spread it’s bendy wings and shaken off it’s lava lamp skin to embrace a whole host of musical genres. From William Burroughs to Pet Sounds to Thee Oh Sees, the genre’s had a birth, decline and resurgence. Nambucca in Finsbury Park are totally capitalising on this revival with their new monthly night, SIKE! This Thursday 11th May, they’re bringing four different acts who are all covering different elements of the psych scene.
Back in 2014 The Good Egg was hatched, mixing Californian sunshine with Tel Aviv traditions to bring one heck of a menu to Stoke Newington. Food critics, instagrammers and swathes of Stokey baby holders flocked to it’s doors to get stuck in to the Jerusalem breakfast, merguez sausage and indeed eggs washed down with spicy brunch cocktails.