How much will an estate agent charge to sell my home?
Moving house is an expensive business, and the cost of selling your home is a pricey £12,000 on average. This includes legal fees, stamp duty and removals, although one of the costliest aspects of selling your home can be the estate agent fees for marketing your property.
So, how much should you expect to pay an estate agent to sell your home?
Traditional high street estate agent fees are usually worked out based on a percentage of the total sale price for your property and can be anywhere from 0.75-3.5% of the cost of your home. This means that if you sell your home for £300,000, then you should expect to pay anywhere between £2,250 – £10,500 to your estate agent. Ouch!
Some agents do charge a flat, one-off fee to sell your home, but this may not always work to your advantage if the fee is paid upfront since there is less incentive for the agent to sell or get the best possible price for the property than if they are receiving a commission-based fee on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis.
Another pitfall to look out for before you sign on the dotted line is the use of withdrawal fees. This means that if you change your mind about using an agent to sell your property or want to change to a different estate agent within a set period of time, the original agent may charge a penalty withdrawal fee, or expect a commission once the property has sold.
It is possible to list with more than one agent – known as a multiple agency agreement – and this is often a popular option for probate or repossessed properties where the speed of the sale is as important as the final sale price. However, you will be paying more for the privilege of doing so since all of the agents will want a cut of the final sale price.
So, why do you need an estate agent to sell your home?
Well, there is the option to forgo estate agent help and sell your property privately. This may be an option if you have been approached by a potential buyer already or your home is located in a highly sought-after area. However, given that the vast majority (over 90%) of potential buyers begin their property search online, it is important to be aware that the big three property portals Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket do not take one-off listings from individual vendors, they only work with agents. This means that your reach for selling your property would be limited to social media and other advertising outlets such as newspapers and local listings. In addition, all of the legwork when it comes to selling you home like arranging and hosting viewings and negotiation with buyers sits squarely at your door.
Estate agents also have a handy list of contacts when it comes to EPC assessors, chartered surveyors, conveyancers, removals companies, mortgage brokers and lenders which can save you a lot of time during the sales process. However, it is important to remember that these referrals are often commission based and the agent is receiving a fee for the business they provide, so they are less concerned about whether these third parties will be offering you the best service or value for money.
For those vendors who really want to maximise the profits of their house sale but don’t want to go it completely alone, there is the option to list with an online agent. Online agents often charge considerably less than traditional high street agents because they don’t have the same overheads of a physical bricks and mortar office. Some even charge a very nominal fee (often less than £100) or sell your property free of charge but still offer in-person valuations and listings with the main online property portals. These agents make their money via commission from third parties offering optional services to vendors such as mortgage brokers and removals companies, or they charge additional fees for extras such as floor plans, ‘for sale’ signs, photos, advert text and hosted viewings. Whilst these options are certainly a winner for the cost conscious, vendors need to be prepared to undertake a lot of the selling process themselves unless they want to pay extra for the privilege, so it becomes a choice between effort versus reward.
Whichever type of estate agent you choose to sell your home, you should always do your homework. Compare at least three different estate agents in terms of their valuation for your property, their fees, sales terms and previous performance selling similar properties to ensure you get the best value in your own circumstances. Also don’t be afraid to haggle, if you have a desirable property in a popular area, you could shave even more off the fee.