North West’s Largest Independent Estate Agent
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Ball & Percival is an established and respected estate agent name within Southport, Ainsdale and surrounding areas. Our experience and reputation have ensured that the Ball & Percival name is one that is synonymous with success.

Throughout our history, we have helped to buy and sell an array of Southport property from the spacious period properties on the Sefton promenade to the exciting new build properties that build tiny communities into wonderful suburban bliss. It is safe to say that we know a thing or two about the property industry.

However, in the battle of online VS high street, no industry has avoided the Midas touch of the digital world. From retail to healthcare, the allure of online has offered an easy solution to the time poor. For over a decade, we have become well versed in the art of shopping and selling online. Although, in the past year or so, a whole new twist in its tale has been unleashed to the digital world - the rapid rise of the online estate agent. 

Whether it is the altered, slightly sedentary state of our twenty-first-century lifestyle or simply a fact of modern life, there seem to be fewer hours in the day and the luxury of online frees up precious time for people to spend with friends and family. However, when it comes to the serious business of buying and selling a home, how do the online estate agents match up to high street agents? 

What are Online Estate Agents? 

With catchy adverts on all forms of media and attractive selling points, 2018 was a year that was defined by the online estate agent. It's a growing market and according to Which? Online estate agents held a 6.8% share of the market in 2017. But exactly what is an online estate agent and how does it differ from the traditional high street counterparts? 

There are two types of online estate agents, one that does everything including valuations online and the other which is a sort of hybrid agency that operates from a call centre and has a network of agents that go out to value homes. Properties are then listed on their own websites alongside platforms such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Most online estate agents organise viewings but it is the responsibility of the vendor to accompany buyers around the property, although accompanied viewings are offered as a premium service. 

Because of the lack of people power manning the property sale and overheads from prime office space, the online estate agents can afford to charge no commission on their sales, arguably one of the most attractive points to cash-conscious sellers looking to save money where they can. Regardless of whether we are in times of austerity or prosperity, everyone loves to save their pennies. But does using an online agent guarantee more advantages than a traditional high street agent?   

The Research and Data 

As a traditional estate agent, perhaps you could argue an element of bias. Of course, we are going to support the method of traditional estate agency, it is after all, how we have built our business and reputation as an established Southport estate agent. However, a little research has uncovered an independent view of the benefits and disadvantages of online VS high street agents. 

An independent study by The Advisory found that by selling a property through a high street agent, the number of viewings was increased by 48%, offers increased by 64% and clients achieved the highest 'walk away figure'. Selling online may appear to be a more efficient way of navigating through a traditionally lengthy process, however, with the added value of professional experience and knowledge from a high street agent, it appears that more can be achieved for the client. 

An article by Which? also focuses on the lack of incentives for the staff of online estate agencies. Without a commission-based structure, are the staff incentivised enough to achieve the best price for their clients?

The Successful Selling Strategy of High Street Estate Agents 

Unlike online-only estate agents, traditional agents like ourselves combine a powerful trio of selling points including listing on online portals, high street visibility and making use of an established database. In addition to using the same online portals as online estate agents, including Rightmove, traditional estate agents essentially add a further two routes to sale. Although there is no denying the expansive reach of online, the power of traditional advertising should never be underestimated. 

With one office in Southport, based on the thriving stretch of Lord Street and one office in the beautiful Ainsdale village, Ball & Percival is in an enviable position. Convenient for sellers to liaise with agents and in a prime location for potential buyers to call in. With bright red signage, it's hard to miss the iconic Ball & Percival offices. 

Despite our roots firmly in the Southport area, Ball & Percival is part of The Venmore Group, the largest independent group of estate agents in the North West. With a team of one one-hundred strong, our experts stretch across three regions, forming an extensive and highly-skilled network of professionals in residential, commercial and auction property as well as conveyancing, probate, mortgages and protection. Our various divisions allow us to offer a comprehensive, bespoke service to clients that online agents simply do not provide.