The costs of selling a property in the UK can be quite high and costly, so the natural philosophy would be to cut your costs as much as possible.
If you have done your research, you will realise that you must pay for quite a few things including Agency fees, solicitors, removals, stamp duty and maybe other legal paperwork such as management packs if you are in a leasehold property.
Finding the least expensive agent to sell a house is a common instinct among sellers, but this might actually end up costing them more money. The problem is that it is very difficult to demonstrate whether or not you would have made more money by employing a reputable high street agency.
But what I can do, is give you the approximate pricing structures below and show you what we do! Then you can decide for yourself whether or not you are obtaining a good bang for your buck!
The Online Agency: £0 - £1,200
Honestly, I have no idea how some of these online agents get away with charging zero pounds to list your property, nor have I really investigated it that much. The age-old saying speaks to me as ‘if it is too good to be true, it usually is!’
I've written before about choosing between online and high street estate agents but in truth the online model is simple, the public think that most properties sell themselves and in a good market they usually do. Take some good photos, upload them on Rightmove and Zoopla, and hey presto, the buyers will flood in. When the market is up, this is what often occurs; but, when the market is down, things don't go as planned, and you will realise that you took a calculated risk and may have lost a lot of money....
Even in a good market, you will never know how a good high street agency could have gotten you more money than the online model. If you have an agent handling the process for you, it takes the emotion out of it, and there is also an unknown potential for you to have received even more money on your sale, but let’s be honest, we will never truly know.
If you have the time and enjoy the process enough to do it yourself, then I would recommend and advise you to go down the online route, there is definitely a market for this.
Low-Cost High-Street Agency: £1,500 – £3,000
Notice how I have not used the word cheap; I want to give the honest lowdown rather than negatively bash an agency. Although up to £3,000 is a lot of money, if you calculate what an agent is doing for the work to get your house sold with (no upfront fee) then it is not really a lot in the grand scheme of things.
Personally, I would ask why the fee is low for this cost of service. It could be that the agency has a special promotion available, maybe they are a new branch, they could be trying to get volume when they are relatively quiet or could be a one-man band, this is all fine. They could be doing a great job too. So please do not rule them out.
However, please bear in mind that Rightmove will cost an agency £1,000 – £3,000 Per Month, Zoopla £400-£800 and On the Market £400-£800 per month, if they are running a branch then they will have costly overheads too and you want to know as a client that they are investing in services such as Call Answering, Property Portals, Social Media and more importantly their staff which would also include training.
If a staff member is on a 5% commission package to sell your house at £1500 then they will receive a measly £75, you would need to sell a lot of houses to pay for your mortgage, so think of the quality that company may be employing.
Standard High Street Agency: £3,000 – £8,000+
You may be thinking that this is quite a large range, but most good high street agents are around this range. Again, I would advise obtaining 3 quotes from your local agencies to get a rough guide on why they charge what they charge.
But I will list for you a few of the reasons why:
Agencies pay a lot of money to advertise on these, along with putting your property up as Premium Listings or Featured Listings which costs the agency money, in turn, should get your property more clicks and potentially viewings meaning better quality viewers, offers and hopefully a higher price for your property.
Good photography and floor plans – we are in the marketing business, so before someone views your property, they will want to see it online. If an agency offers video tours, drone facilities, and 360 tours, that is fantastic, but they will still prefer to view in person over a virtual viewing.
A busy agency should have staff, but a busy agency will also receive calls before and after working hours, whilst everyone is on the phone and should invest in an overflow system, it takes one buyer to sell your home at the highest price.
Check Out Their Reviews
Online Reviews – a good agency is proven, check out their bad reviews online too. You wouldn’t book a hotel or holiday without looking at the reviews. This is important now; you want to know who you are dealing with.
A good agency should be training their negotiators and managers to do just that! Negotiate on your behalf, a good agency takes the emotion out of the equation and tries to obtain the highest price for your property without burning the buyer.
This is the difference between receiving 4 viewers vs 15 viewers, 1 offer v 3 offers and a low selling price vs a higher selling price, this is a good agency paying for its own fee in my opinion.
They call out – in a tougher financial climate where properties are not moving as fast, a good agency comes to the forefront and gets on the phone, a good agency will keep a good rapport with the clients and convince them to view your house. A large percentage of buyers buy a house that they never intended on viewing. I did exactly this and I am an estate agent myself!
Selling your home is the third most stressful thing in life after divorce and bereavement, having a good sales progressor who liaises with the solicitors whilst you do your day job is vital. A good, busy agency will be employing someone who, for this role, does just this job whilst the sales team can focus on selling houses. You don’t want managers and the sales department dealing with the aftercare, this is somewhere where some agents will cut costs to save money.
Negotiate your onward purchase – a good agent should again be doing or at least assisting with this.
Negotiation is what a good agent will do, when a client makes an offer on a property there will usually be some wriggle room, no one goes in for the kill with their first offer, so it is up to a good, trained agent to sniff out how much a client is willing to pay for something that he wants. So, I believe that there is always £3,000-£10,000 extra you can achieve from a buyer even when they say that this is their final offer. That is what you are paying for when choosing a good, well-trained agent to sell your home.
Do your own research, I advise at least 3 agents to value your home. I would advise a good mix between online and high street to see what package suits you.
A good agent should have a tailor-made package for the marketing of your home and have the sales force to deal with the viewers, offers and sales.
Look at their current listings and enquire as a potential buyer into their organisation too.
But don’t cheap out on the fee because this can cost you thousands of pounds even though you think that you are actually saving money when you are not!
Most high street estate agents will not charge and work on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis. Plenty of viewings could happen on your property without you incurring a charge should the sale not finalise in a successful sale, but always check your terms and condition as every estate agent is different. Some estate agents charge their commission or fee upfront.
We always advise that you are waying up the pros and cons of each estate agent. We also advise that you receive 3 valuations from various estate agents. Our advice would not to be moving ahead with the cheapest fee, but rather move forward with the estate agent you think will do the best job and obtain you the best price. If one agent achieves you £5,000 more due to their skill level and there is the cheapest agent who charges you £2,000 less, then by going with the cheaper agent you have received £3,000 less in your difference. So, the cheapest is not always the best.
The payment terms for estate agent fees may vary depending on the specific agent you choose. It is crucial to confirm these details before signing the contract to ensure clarity. Estate agent fees are typically paid when the property is sold. It is important to note, however, that some estate agents may require an upfront deposit, usually around 10% of the fee. The remaining balance is then settled when the property is sold. The timing for paying estate agent fees will be specified in the agency agreement. Typically, online estate agents will request payment of a portion or the entire fee upfront. High street estate agents, on the other hand, usually expect payment upon contract exchange.
Estate agent fees vary depending on the chosen estate agent and the specific services provided. Typically, estate agency fees can range from 0.9% to 3.6% of the property’s final selling price. The actual percentage within this range is determined by factors such as the location, type of property, market conditions, and the estate agent’s pricing structure. Additionally, when engaging in a sole agency agreement, fees can typically fall between 1.2% and 1.8%, including VAT. However, it is important to keep in mind that these figures serve as general guidelines, and it is recommended to consult with individual estate agents to obtain accurate information on their fee structures.
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