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UK Estate Agent Fees
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Estate Agent Fees

How to deal with an Estate Agent

Why do people still use Estate Agents?

Its easier than ever to find a property for yourself, but the majority of buyers still purchase their house through an Estate Agent.

 

The reason that most purchases are made through an agent is because the agent is working for the seller. The seller pays the estate agents fees, and uses the agents service as the agent will offer a range of services to help sell the property and advertise it to as wider audience as possible.

 

The agent will market the property on behalf of the seller and will show prospective buyers around. He will pass any offers onto the seller and help the buyer and seller come to an agreement on the price. The agent must pass all offers on the property on to the seller.

 

Choosing an Estate Agent

When choosing an Estate Agent the seller or buyer should make sure that the Agent is a member of the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) Scheme. If anything does go wrong they will help you to fight for compensation. Membership is voluntary.

 

Members of the National Association of Estate Agents or Agents who are registered with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors also follow a strict code of practice. Most complaints made against Estate Agents are against agents who are not members of the above Organisations.

 

Why do Estate Agents fees vary?

The further South you go the more it will cost to sell your property. Also when the property market is moving quickly the agent is more likely to agree a lower fee, and obviously in a slow market fees will be higher.

 

Is Gazumping legal?

If your offer is accepted by the seller and another higher offer is later made the Estate Agent must pass the higher offer onto the seller. If the seller accepts the new offer this is called Gazumping. While it seems unfair it is perfectly legal.

 

To avoid being gazumped you should ask the Estate Agent to approach the seller and confirm that no other offers will be accepted and that the property will be taken off the market. Your solicitor can help with this. The Agent is however legally obliged to treat all buyers fairly.

 

Questions to ask an Estate Agent as a seller

If you ask the right questions you can suss out how on the ball your estate agent is. If you're a seller you don't want an agent that can't perform under pressure.

 

    • What is your fee and what does that include?
      Is your fee negotiable? If not can i reduce the minimum contract length?
      How well do you know the area?
      How many homes have you sold in the area recently?
      Can we see a sample brochure? How long does it take to produce?
      How quickly did you sell the properties in my area?
      How did you arrive at the price that you recommend we market our property for?
      Do you contact us on a weekly basis to report progress?
      Are they members of NAEA and other regulatory bodies? - if not, then why not?
      Where do they advertise? Do they have their own website? Which papers / how long?
      Do you list on Rightmove, and do you show floorplans as well as photographs?
      If you find your own buyer - can they still claim the comission?
      What days do they arrange viewings? Weekends as well?
      Phone up and pretend to be a buyer - see how they deal with you.
  •  

    If as a seller you need a quick sale you can use several Estate Agents but this will cost you more.

     

    Questions to ask an Estate Agent as a buyer

     

    • Why is the vendor selling? - may help you decide how quickly they want to sell.
      How long has the property been on the market? What are the reasons for this?
      How soon does the owner need to move out? - An urgent seller might accept a lower cash offer to speed up the sale.
      Who set the price on the property, the agent or the vendor? The agent may disagree with a price set by a vendor and might help you negotiate a better deal.
      Is the property freehold or leasehold?
      How much does the agent think the property will sell for?
      Is the vendor in a chain? Find out the details.
      Have any properties nearby sold recently and how much for? Don't take the agents word for this, do your own research!
      How did you arrive at the price that you recommend we market our property for?
      What other properties can they show you at the same price?
      How many other offer have there been / how many other viewings?
      What comes with the property? White goods / carpets / curtains / garden furniture?
      Have there been any problems with the neighbours?
  •  

    If you are unable to find a property in a desired area you can ask the Estate Agent for a list of other suitable properties in the area, or to put you on his mailing list and to contact you as soon as something suitable comes along.

     

    If you are short of time an Estate Agent can do a home search to find a property for you. The agent can negotiate a price on your behalf. for this service you will pay between one to three percent.

     

    Commission and Contracts

    Anyone selling their property through an Estate Agent has to pay a fee, which is the Agents commission. Always haggle over the fee. The commission is usually between one and three percent of the sale price. Check to see if VAT is included in the price quoted.

     

    Always read the small print and ask what services are included in the fee ie:-

     

    • Valuation of the property
      Sale boards
      Property brochures
      Advertising
      Arranging and conducting viewings

      Negotiating offers

       

    If any of the above are not included in the commission ask how much you will have to pay and check that this is shown on the contract.

     

    The contract should give details of the cost of any services not included. Ask how long the contract is for and if you have the right to cancel. If you take your home off the market you do not usually have to pay any commission but you will have to pay for any expenses incurred such as cost of brochures and viewings. There may also be a penalty payment for changing.


    There are different types of contract, which can affect how much you pay. Always discuss the details with the Agent. Look to see if the contract states 'sole agency' or 'sole selling rights'.

     

    Sole Selling Rights

    This means that only the Estate Agent has the right to sell your home. If you sell the property yourself you will still be liable for the agents fees.

     

    Sole Agency

    This means you will not have to pay any commission if you find your own buyer although you may have to pay marketing costs.

     

    Ready Willing and Able

    It is important that you never agree to this. You will have to pay the agency commission wether or not the property is sold.

     

    Making a complaint

    If you feel that you have been unfairly treated always talk to the Agent first. If nothing is resolved try contacting the Head Office.

     

    If you need to take things further contact the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) - www.oea.co.uk

    Other contacts are National Association for estate Agents - www.naea.co.uk
    Citizens Advise Bureau - www.citizensadvice.org.uk
    The Office of Fair Trading - www.oft.gov.uk

     

     

    Should I use other Estate Agent services?

    Solicitors?

    The Agent may recommend a Solicitor to you. If you don't already have one this may be a good idea, but ask for a quotation and do not feel under any pressure. Compare the prices they have quoted with other companies.

     

    Mortgage services?

    Many Estate Agents will offer mortgages or refer you to a lender with whom they have an agreement. It would not be to your advantage to take a mortgage or loan through your Estate Agent as an agent will generally only have a small selection of lenders and you will not get a very favourable rate.

     

    If you would like mortgagefox to scan the market for you and find the best mortgage or remortgage deal for your circumstances then click here.

     

     

  •  

     

    Value of Property  
    £
    (eg 135000) 
    Value of Mortgage
    £
    (eg 85000) 
    Type of Mortgage
     
     

    Need to ask a question?


    Getting the right advice could save you thousands on your mortgage

    We will be happy to answer any Estate Agent or Mortgage questions you may want to ask, and we will also be glad to help you find a better quote through our network of independent brokers. This service is completely FREE and you are under no obligation.