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Thread: Estate Agent fees

  1. #1
    Journeyman Kevin's Avatar
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    Estate Agent fees

    I am starting to look at putting my Father's house on the market.
    I have asked around and invited 2 agents to view.
    What sort of fees should I be expecting them to quote?
    I am quite prepared to haggle but I don't have a baseline.

  2. #2
    1-1.25% I would have thought?

  3. #3
    Journeyman
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    Think it varies across the country, but I’ve never paid more than 1%.

    Best thing to do is incentivise your agent.

  4. #4
    Master
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    Personally I’d be insistent on no more than 1% in the current climate with either no contract or 4 weeks max in the current climate... make them work for it

  5. #5
    Master
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    Just put my house on the market 300k most agents want 1% plus vat but my local one(independant going on 50 years plus) has a fixed fee of £1500 plus vat.

  6. #6
    Craftsman
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    1% is considered 'standard' but there's a lot of wiggle room depending on the value of the property (not much difference in the effort to sell a £1m house Vs a £250k one).

    When we sold, we had a huge range of offers - even a 3.5% to 5% from Foxtons!
    Most of the agents wanted 1% but were willing to negotiate once they saw us going with a different agency.
    We eventually paid 0.4% plus VAT (so 0.5%).

    Though quite a bit about a stepped rate to incentivize them but eventually went with a simple and straight percentage.

    Other terms to be clear on:
    1. How long will they have exclusivity for?
    2. If you terminate their contract but eventually end up selling to someone who originally viewed via them - how long a period must have elapsed to ensure you don't pay both agents' fees
    3. Who pays for EPC, floor plans etc
    4. Notice period i.e. what's the earliest you can serve them notice of termination and how long is the notice (we went for 2 + 2 = 4 weeks)
    5. Timing of fees - to be paid on completion (when the funds are in your account)

    Hope this helps!

  7. #7
    Sold one in December, haggled with the local agent and agreed a fixed fee of £1500 with a local agent on a £300k house. The house I bought was marketed by housesimple, they seem to offer a free sale service a which I didn’t quite understand but if I was selling I’d take a look.

  8. #8
    Journeyman Kevin's Avatar
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    Thanks, a lot of good info there.
    I suppose it does depend on the value of the property 0.5% of £1m = 1% of £500K and the same amount of work.
    I have had valuations of £395K @0.95%+VAT and £400K @ £1%+VAT
    This is their initial quote without any response from me, I just said thanks and I would think about it over the weekend.
    Neither mentioned exclusive agency, not sure if that was implied.
    Both include floor plans and pics etc.
    One offers free EPC (£75+VAT) if you do the conveyancy through them.
    No mention of notice periods or timing of fees, I am presuming that this is negotiated if I move to next stage of instruction.
    Last edited by Kevin; 22nd May 2020 at 22:18.

  9. #9
    Master
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    I’d say nowadays 1% seems to be the norm and reasonable, although a fixed fee may work out better.

    Just as important though, is how good is your agent? In other words what are you paying for? I’d rather pay someone £1500 for working hard, reducing my stress and getting it over the line quickly, than £1000 for doing bugger all (which a lot seem to do). Get recommendations as they are as important as price.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mjc1216 View Post
    Just put my house on the market 300k most agents want 1% plus vat but my local one(independant going on 50 years plus) has a fixed fee of £1500 plus vat.
    Amazing they're quoting you like that. The law was changed a few years ago meaning consumers cannot be quoted "£X plus vat" for anything, especially agents fees. You have to quote the entire price Inc vat (as no one is getting the vat back) but agents continually ignore this law change and quote ex VAT to try and make their fees seem smaller.

    If you want an agent with integrity look for the one who quoted you Inc vat if there was one.

    OP I sold my house in October for 0.7% plus vat, that was considered a very good deal.

  11. #11
    Master
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    These %’s have highlighted how much of a rip off my local estate agents are.
    I’ve got a plot of land with outline planning currently on the market with Pattinson Auctions at a cost of £399. The local estate agent wanted £2000+VAT on a plot of land valued at about 60K.

  12. #12
    Craftsman
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    If you are prepared to be involved then good savings by using online only agents, we sold six using Settled, the portal puts you straight in touch with the prospective buyers, you do viewings and can ask the right questions, maintaining contact throughout the conveyancing. Costs were 500 for the set up, rightmove and internet advertising.

  13. #13
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    Estate Agent fees

    Fees can seem quite high for agents but the main piece of advice I can give is find an independent agent that you get on with.

    We sold our first family house in Sept 19 with an independent and had an above-asking offer within a day. The agent who visited was the owner and valuer, no B-S, no fluff and no ridiculous marketing strategies.

    We’’re in the final stages of selling a recently vacated rental property and again went with an independent agent. Same thing - no B-S, fluff or pie in the sky promises.

    For the sale last year we met with two or three high street chain agents and I will NEVER use one. They all wanted around twice the fee of the independent, were coming up with stupid ideas of artificially creating bidding wars and were generally unlikeable people.


    On a side note - I’d recommend using the money you save by not using a high street agent on getting yourself a good solicitor for conveyancing. High street agents’ “package deals” will include conveyancers who have zero common sense.

    Perfect example - the conveyancer for the buyer of this ex-rental demanded we provide planning permission for a basic 6x4 shed in the garden. It beggars belief...


    Sent from my Pip-Boy 3000 MkIV
    Last edited by doebag; 23rd May 2020 at 08:32.

  14. #14
    Master
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    Interesting above. Just outside Cambridge I am trying to sell my mothers home, and the agents wanted 1.75%, negotiated down to 1.5%, for a sole agency, and they want 2.5% for joint/multiple.

  15. #15
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrzej View Post
    Interesting above. Just outside Cambridge I am trying to sell my mothers home, and the agents wanted 1.75%, negotiated down to 1.5%, for a sole agency, and they want 2.5% for joint/multiple.
    Reading behind the lines - “just outside Cambridge” I would expect property values to warrant around 1.5% from my recent experience. Higher fee for multiple agency is to be expected.


    Sent from my Pip-Boy 3000 MkIV

  16. #16
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by doebag View Post
    Reading behind the lines - “just outside Cambridge” I would expect property values to warrant around 1.5% from my recent experience. Higher fee for multiple agency is to be expected.

    Sent from my Pip-Boy 3000 MkIV
    Thanks for that - property in Girton, Estate Agents in Histon, price £400K.

  17. #17
    Journeyman Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCFastybloke View Post
    If you are prepared to be involved then good savings by using online only agents, we sold six using Settled, the portal puts you straight in touch with the prospective buyers, you do viewings and can ask the right questions, maintaining contact throughout the conveyancing. Costs were 500 for the set up, rightmove and internet advertising.
    Good idea, I did look at online selling, but I am in a 'shielding group' for Covid and in Hove, the property is in Croydon so I am going to need the agent to handle viewings etc.
    It makes choosing the agent quite important as I will not be there.

  18. #18
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    I'm based in London and I had quotes ranging from 1.25% (local independent) to over 2.0% (nationwide chain). The nationwide chain also wanted 3 months exclusivity. I got 3 quotes.

    I had to buy the EPC separately but it was £65 from the local independent as opposed to over £100 from the nationwide chain.

    The other thing I experienced was the three agencies put very different valuations on my properties. The difference between the highest and the lowest was £75k on a valuation for a 2 bedroom flat. Sometimes the larger agencies will suggest an inflated price for the property and it will sit on their books with little interest from buyers until you drop the price.

  19. #19
    The reason for over valuing is to justify the higher fee most of the time.

    Secondly when I worked in agency years ago there was a saying "better on our books unsellable than on someone else's sellable. The next best thing from selling it is starving another agent who could sell it". Nice company hey?

  20. #20
    Master
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    1.25%+vat is the going rate in my area, some try for more.

  21. #21
    Master PhilipK's Avatar
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    The whole concept of a fixed percentage of the whole purchase price is very much skewed in the estate agent's favour. The problem is that you, as the seller, want to get as much as possible for your property, whereas the estate agent just wants to get a sale at any price. At 1% commission, every extra £1000 on the sale price nets the estate agent £10, which isn't really much of an incentive for them to put any time/effort/resources into. A fixed fee gives them even less incentive to get a higher price for you.

    I've always thought that the best method (as a seller), would be to pay a nominal fee up to the any-idiot-could-sell-it-at-that-price level, and then a much heftier percentage (perhaps 5% or 10%) on every pound over that. It would more closely align the estate agent's interests with your interests, in terms of getting the best possible price and not just a sale at any price. I expect that it might be possible to do such a deal with a small independent estate agent, but probably not with the bigger chains.

    The other option is to sell it yourself - we sell cars, watches, etc without having to involve a special agent to sell them for us. What's so special about a house?

  22. #22
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipK View Post
    The whole concept of a fixed percentage of the whole purchase price is very much skewed in the estate agent's favour. The problem is that you, as the seller, want to get as much as possible for your property, whereas the estate agent just wants to get a sale at any price. At 1% commission, every extra £1000 on the sale price nets the estate agent £10, which isn't really much of an incentive for them to put any time/effort/resources into. A fixed fee gives them even less incentive to get a higher price for you.

    I've always thought that the best method (as a seller), would be to pay a nominal fee up to the any-idiot-could-sell-it-at-that-price level, and then a much heftier percentage (perhaps 5% or 10%) on every pound over that. It would more closely align the estate agent's interests with your interests, in terms of getting the best possible price and not just a sale at any price. I expect that it might be possible to do such a deal with a small independent estate agent, but probably not with the bigger chains.

    The other option is to sell it yourself - we sell cars, watches, etc without having to involve a special agent to sell them for us. What's so special about a house?

    I did this years ago as I used to design commission plans for the sales force of a tech company.

    Look me ages to get the agent to understand that they stood to make much more if they could achieve their valuation.

    What it does is expose that many of their opening valuations are puffed up to get you to sign up.

    I think the traditional agent model is on borrowed time.

    Just selling two properties and when I look at the time agents put in its minimal. All you are really doing is buying access to the market.

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