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Estate Agent Fees

Agent fees vary widely based on the area, and the type of property. Get quotes from local agents, hassle-free!

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Estate Agent fees across the UK

Agency fees usually range between 0.75% to 3% (+ VAT). The fee depends on the location, type and value of the property.

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What do estate agents’ fees include?

An estate agent is an experienced professional who will look after the sale of your most important financial asset. Their fees should include the following:

Most agents will perform viewings as part of their standard fee

Viewings

The estate agent will show people around your home. In addition to saving you time, they’ll help show your home in the best possible light.

Estate agent fees should include photography

Photography

The photos of your property will encourage potential buyers to arrange a viewing, so having them taken professionally is essential!

Agent fees usually incorporate floor plans

Floor Plans

Floor plans give a great overview of your property, and encourage potential buyers to arrange a viewing.

The standard estate agent price will include online portal listings on Zoopla, Rightmove or OnTheMarket

Online Portal Listings

Many buyers begin their search on one of the three big portals. Most agents will list on two of them, and will know how to present the listing to get the most interest.

Estate Agent Fees: Explained

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Estate agents are expensive. They generally charge thousands of pounds to look after the sale of one of your largest financial assets. And, if you’re selling your home for the first time, estate agency fees can be kind of bewildering. Is it the buyer or the seller who is responsible for the estate agents fee? How much should you be paying? And, what should you expect from your estate agent in return?

Below we take a look at some of the key questions that surround estate agent fees, and offer some advice about how to pick the best agent for your needs. Our main advice is: remember that an estate agent’s fee is only one of the things to consider when deciding who you want to work with.

An estate agent’s experience of selling property like yours, knowledge of the local area, and ability to accurately value a house, are just some of the other things you should also consider when weighing up whether they are the best fit for you.

So, how do estate agent fees work?

In England and Wales, agents tend to calculate their fee as a percentage of the final sale price of your home. Typically, fees for estate agents start at 0.75% plus VAT and don’t usually go above the 3.5% plus VAT mark. (When you receive your quotes remember to double check that VAT has been included).

This commission-based structure is a good way of incentivising agents. If they are able to achieve a high sale price for your home, they will receive a correspondingly high commission. And, they’ll also only get paid once your sale is complete. This means that a good estate agent will be keen to sell your home quickly and for the best price they can.

There are many factors that can influence the amount of commission an estate agent charges in England and Wales. This means you’re unlikely to find an estate agents fees advertised on their website.

Factors that can impact estate agent fees include:

Contract Type: If you choose a multiple agency agreement, the fee will typically be higher than with a sole agency or sole seller agreement. Read more about the different types of estate agent contract here.

Competition: Agents fees are likely to be lower in areas where more agencies are competing for your business.

Service: Some estate agents will charge more because they believe they offer a superior service to others in your local area. These agents will often be household names, or have a good reputation in your local community. Our data-driven comparison tool can tell you if their past performance justifies their higher fee.

Your Property: Some properties are harder to sell than others. An agent might be willing to sacrifice part of their fee if they think your home will be easy to sell, or if your property is of a particularly high or low value. They might already have a potential buyer on their books and can decrease their fee in line with the reduced need for advertising. Because of this it’s a good idea to talk to and get quotes from at least 3 estate agents before you decide who to work with.

Are estate agent fees negotiable?

Yes. As estate agent fees are dependent on many factors, high street estate agents are often willing to negotiate. You’ll be able to talk to an agent about their fees at your valuation, or as part of your discussions once you decide to appoint them. Be open about your budget and service expectations from the beginning. This will help the estate agent understand what you’re looking for, and whether they will be able to support you. They may be able to offer different service packages depending on the budget that you have.

However, it’s vital to remember that high street estate agents are incentivised by the commission they earn on your home. If you decide to try and negotiate lower fees, be careful to maintain a balance between the saving money, and your chances of selling your home for the best price. If an agent’s commission is too low they are less likely to prioritise your sale over those houses on their list that offer a higher reward. They’ll also be less focused on getting you the best price, as the payout for doing so is unlikely to match the amount of extra negotiation work this might take.

If you really need to negotiate the fees to a lower level, the best option is to agree on a tiered commission level. For example, you could pay 1% plus VAT if your agent achieves a sale price of £250,000, 1.5% plus VAT if they achieve £275,000, and 2% plus VAT if they achieve £300,000. This way you pay your agent depending on the price they achieve for your house. They remain motivated to sell at the best price, and you minimise the amount you have to pay for their service.

Online agents usually charge a fixed fee which is non-negotiable. You’ll have to pay their fees upfront or after a set period of time - Purplebricks has a 10 month ‘pay later’ option. Their fee will be due regardless of whether the agent, or ‘local property expert’, successfully sells your property by this time or not.

Are the more expensive estate agents actually better?

Because there are so many estate agents to choose from, it seems like common sense to focus on either the cheapest or most expensive agents. If you’re selling your property to free up equity, downsizing, or are worried about expense, it can be easy to assume that picking the agent with the lowest fees is your best option. Because estate agents fees are the biggest cost of selling a house, choosing to work with the cheapest agent seems to be the best way to get a good deal.

However, many of the lowest priced agents do not have the capacity to promote your home properly. Nor do they have the experience or local knowledge you need to value a property accurately. This could mean that you won’t end up getting the best price for your house, and you’ll have lost out more than you saved.

On the other hand, the more expensive agents appear to offer a level of service that is superior to the others. They promote themselves as able to reach a larger number of motivated and high-paying buyers. This may be the case. However, an estate agent’s ability to sell your house quickly and for the best price comes down to a lot more than their fee.

It’s vital to take into account other aspects of each estate agent’s experience before deciding who to work with. Take the time to research how long it takes the agent to sell a property, how close they usually are to achieving the asking price, and whether they have experience selling similar houses to yours in your local area. These statistics will give you much greater insight into what they can offer you than their quoted fee alone is able to.

We recommend that you get quotes from at least 3 different estate agents. This will give you the chance to interview a few of the people you might work with, and compare whether they are a good fit. When you get these quotes, make sure to ask the agents to include VAT and any potential extras that they foresee arising, so that you’re not caught out later.

Unsure which agents in your area have the right experience? Our data-driven comparison tool provides objective insight into the top performing agents in your area. Check it out here, and see which agents are actually worth their fee.

What should you expect to be included in estate agency fees?

Estate agency fees are likely to be your largest cost when it comes to selling your house. Making sure you’re getting the best value for money is vital.

Anything that’s required to help the sale of your property should be included in your agent’s fee. Things like marketing, lead management and a property valuation are all standard practice and shouldn’t cost more. Here we’ve compiled a list of what you should expect as a minimum from your agent. (Remember that these things may not be included if you choose an online estate agent with a basic fixed fee):

Advice: Your estate agent is an expert in selling. They should be on-hand when you need them, to offer their experience and connections. Their expertise relates to things like: valuing your property, local market knowledge, and connecting you with local service providers, such as conveyancers or mortgage brokers.

Marketing: Your agent should have knowledge of both online and offline marketing channels, and they’ll make sure you feature on both. This includes listing your property on the main property portals: Rightmove, Zoopla, and OnTheMarket. Some agents will also list your property on other classifieds sites (such as GumTree) or on social media. Offline, you should expect your agent to produce professional brochures and provide a ‘For Sale’ board for outside your property. They’ll also arrange a floor plan and an EPC for you, if you need them.

Sales Management: An estate agent is responsible for managing the flow of prospective buyers. They’re in charge of organising viewings, vetting potential buyers, and negotiating offers on your behalf.

A good estate agent will work hard to make sure you receive the support you need to sell your property. Fees are only one side of the coin. Performance and experience are equally important when deciding which agent you choose to sell your house.

Read more about what estate agents actually do and how they can market and promote your property.

Things to look out for

Read through your estate agent contract carefully and make sure you’re comfortable before you sign. If there is anything you’re unsure about, ask your estate agent or solicitor for clarification. Pay particular attention to the following common terms before committing to an agency:

‘Ready, willing and able purchaser’: This means that as long as the agency can find a buyer you’ll have to pay their fee, even if you decide not to sell your house to them. Avoid this clause!

VAT: Agents will sometimes quote their fee without including VAT. This means you will need to add 20% in VAT onto their commission fee. For example, 1.2% plus VAT actually translates into a total fee of 1.44%. Make sure you double check this, so that you know how much you’ll be expected to pay.

Tie-in Period: It’s standard practice for estate agents to include a tie-in period in their contract. Typically this will be about 6 weeks, with a notice period of between 1 and 4 weeks. However, make sure you review this detail carefully. An agency agreement could keep you tied to them for as long as 6 months!

Cancellation Fee: Check whether there’s a fee if you choose to switch to another agent or withdraw your property from the market.

Extras: Some online estate agents will try and win business by charging low fees, but then sneak extra costs into your contract. Look out for things like marketing fees or charges for drawing up floor plans, which should be included as standard. Some estate agents charge extra for things like featured listings on portals, but they should discuss with you whether this will be helpful for your sale.

Read more about the differences between sole agency, multiple agency and sole seller contracts here.

Why do online estate agents offer lower fees?

Online estate agents seem to offer an attractive low cost option for selling a property. Often they charge a low fixed fee and promise a tech-enabled approach to selling. In exchange for paying a lower fee the homeowner has to take on more responsibility for the sales process.

A high street agent will include vetting, advertising, and viewings as standard, but an online agent will consider these services as ‘extras’, and you’ll often have to pay more for these services. Ultimately the fee you pay to an online agent just grants you access to online property portals (which do not allow marketing by individuals), and then the rest of the sale process will have to be driven by you. You may even be charged extra for basic things like a for sale board.

Unfortunately this means that online agents are generally less incentivised to sell your home. They get paid whether your home sells or not. In contrast agreeing a ‘no win, no fee’ commission payment means you only pay for results. Our research found that over half of properties listed by online agents (with upfront fixed fees) remained unsold after being on the market for a year.

Online estate agents are also often called out for their poor levels of communication. Because online agents are a relatively new type of business, and they attempt to cover as much of the UK as possible, their agents are usually handling many more properties than the average high street agent. They therefore have a much lower capacity to focus on your sale. You’ll often find the level of communication and service lower than with a high street agent, for whom your property sale is their main focus.

Remember to double check your quoted agent fees to see if they include VAT.

When do you pay your estate agent?

When you work with a high street estate agent you’ll only pay your agent once your house has been sold. Your conveyancer will pay your agent fees using the proceeds of your sale, and then pay off any remaining mortgage, before returning the rest of the proceeds of the sale to you.

If you work with an online estate agent, you’ll usually pay your fee upfront, or after a designated period of time regardless of whether the agent has sold your property or not. If you choose to delay payment with a ‘pay later’ option, you may also be obliged to use the agent’s other services. For example, Purplebricks require you to use their conveyancing service - which has received notoriously bad reviews - if you choose their ‘pay later’ option. You’ll be contractually obliged to use this service even if you end up selling your property through a different estate agent.

Read more about Purplebricks, and their conveyancing service here.

How do you know that you’re paying the right price?

Knowing whether you’re getting the best deal with your estate agent is always difficult. You don’t want to pay too little - you need a high quality service from the person handling one of your largest financial assets. But you also don’t want to end up paying a high price if your agent isn’t up to scratch. Being aware of how much the average estate agents charge, and what to expect performance-wise, will help you figure out whether you’re paying the right price.

A good place to start is to have a look at their track record. How well has the estate agent valued homes like yours in the past? You can find this out by looking at how many of their recently sold properties were reduced in price before a buyer was found. Agents who know the local market well, and have the best selling skills, won’t have to reduce the asking price as often. And, where the sales price is less than the asking price, the difference will be very small.

Once you know how often an estate agent needs to reduce asking prices to attract a buyer, take a look at how long they usually take to sell a property. Is it in line with the average for your area? If an agent is taking longer than average to sell homes, it’s a sign that they don’t have strong connections with local interested buyers. Or, that their marketing isn’t as effective as other local agencies.

If your agent ticks all these boxes you can have confidence that you’ve picked the best one for your sale. Top performing local agents are worth the fee because they’re able to sell quickly and at asking price.

For more advice on the home selling journey, and picking the right estate for you, check out our handy guides.

What if you choose not to use an estate agent?

Yes, it is possible to sell your home without the help of an estate agent, and therefore without paying estate agent fees. If you have the time, experience, and resilience this can be an option to consider.

But, before you take the plunge, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched everything an estate agent does when selling a home. This will help you decide whether the money you save on estate agent fees is worth the cost and hassle of managing the sales process yourself.

On top of this they have access to the most prominent and effective marketing channels. In particular they’ll be able to list your home on Rightmove and Zoopla - the portals where 95% of prospective buyers start their home search.

Once you start receiving interest from buyers, your estate agent will vet their financial status and legitimacy before they come for a viewing. They will also take control of house viewings making the whole home selling process less time consuming. And, you won’t have to worry about the security risk of letting strangers into your home. Estate agents are trained to spot time wasters and fraudsters and will prevent these becoming an issue.

After you’ve received an offer your estate agent will become your negotiator. They will help you achieve the best price for your home, or politely turn down any offer that doesn’t meet the bar. Research by The Advisory found that, on average, high street estate agents were able to achieve a 5% higher asking price than properties using solely an online listing service. This more than compensates for the average 1.5% fee that they charge.

They’ll then be a point of contact for your lawyer, and help to ensure the conveyancing process goes smoothly. This is particularly useful in cases where the ownership arrangement is more complicated and there are several parties involved, for example on a leasehold or shared ownership property.

Are you actually saving money by not using an estate agent to sell your house?

Estate agency fees are a significant cost, but if you choose not to work with an estate agent, you will still have to take on many of the costs of marketing your house, along with the time commitment and legal responsibilities that an estate agent ordinarily would. You may end up working very hard for a small saving, and selling your house for less than it’s true value.

Ready to make the move? Our data-backed comparison tool will help you find the top performing estate agents in your area.

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