Estate Agent Fees Guide
Deciding whether or not to use an estate agent for your home sale is one of the hardest questions to answer. Some people want to avoid the estate agent fees while others prefer to avoid the headaches.
Estate agents bring a certain level of expertise and experience to the table. It can also be difficult for some homeowners to emotionally separate themselves from the sale, especially if it’s a family home.
Before you make a final decision, it’s important to consider what estate agent fees you’ll pay and if it works for your current budget and financial plans.
Thankfully letting agent comparison site Rentround, has now expanded to comparing estate agents! Potential sellers can now compare estate agent fees, ratings & services for free.
Estate Agent Fees Explained
As with any professional service, no two agents will charge the same fees for the same services. A lot depends on their level of experience and what services they offer.
Standard services including listing your property on popular platforms like Zoopla and Rightmove, handling inquiries, and scheduling viewings. They’re also tasked with communicating with the buyer’s agent and ensuring the entire process runs smoothly.
Some agents charge an upfront, flat fee whereas others collect a percentage of the sale based on the home’s value. Ultimately, you’re paying for the agent’s level of experience, marketing techniques, and professional connections.
Not only do estate agents have an in-depth understanding of the current market but they also have access to a unique pool of buyers and fellow agents with clients of their own.
Estate agent fees are often negotiable but most percentages range from 1% to 4% of the sale price of your property. You may also want to consider any value-added tax fees (or VAT), which can also impact both your home’s value and the agent’s percentage fees.
There’s no set flat fee for estate agent services, either. These fees vary greatly depending on the agent’s experience, reputation, and what services they offer. The more experienced the agent and the more services they provide, the higher the price.
The most important thing to remember when hiring an agent that charges a flat fee is to ask what services are included. Never sign a contract or agreement until you find out what you’re paying for and what you’re getting.
Some estate agents only list your house online but don’t schedule viewings or perform extensive marketing. If these are services you want, you may need to pay additionally for them.
Most estate agents will also file all necessary paperwork and help negotiate the final sale.
Additional Estate Agent Fees
Everything comes at a cost. If you want the estate agent you hire to perform additional services, you’ll need to pay. Knowing what these services are is a jumping-off point.
Viewings are one of the most important elements of selling your home. If buyers can’t physically see and walk through your home, they can’t gain a true appreciation for what it has to offer or imagine themselves flourishing there.
Some homeowners think they can conduct viewings themselves, but this is often a bad idea. Sellers are too emotionally attached to their homes to conduct a successful viewing.
For starters, they’re emotionally attached to the property, making it difficult to hear negative comments or answer tough questions.
You may also get defensive or aggressive, scaring potential buyers away.
Buyers are more comfortable viewing a house with an agent than a homeowner. With you there, they may be too uncomfortable to give their honest opinion. This apprehension could prevent them from putting in an offer.
Most agents offer viewings at an additional cost or included in their contracted services.
During a viewing, the agent will highlight the positive features of your home while putting a good spin on the downsides or negatives. Agents are skilled at answering questions honestly and helping buyers see the potential in a property.
Not all viewings will result in a sale but they will provide helpful knowledge about what buyers are looking for. This information is invaluable and can help agents adjust their marketing approach to secure a sale.
Hiring an agent available for viewings could mean the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity.
Another way to get plenty of eyes on your property listing is by paying for premium listings.
Websites like Rightmove and Zoopla are some of the most popular and widely used. An experienced agent will list your property on these sites and manage all inquiries.
Basic listings include a few photographs and limited information. Premium listings take things to the next level and come with additional photographs, highlighted text, and more detailed information.
All of these features put your property at the forefront of the listing pages, increasing your chances for a sale.
In most cases, photographs are what sell a home. Even the most detailed description can’t do what a photograph can.
With so many advancements in technology, it can be tempting to snap a few cellphone pictures of your house and throw them online. Unfortunately, the difference between amateur and professional photos is quite clear, and prospective buyers will take notice.
Not only that, but professional photos cast a different light on your property — literally. Pictures taken from the right angles can make all the difference. Professional photos make your home look bigger, cleaner, and more welcoming.
A small investment in professional photos arranged by an experienced agent can increase both the number of views your listing gets and the likelihood that you close the deal.
Online listings aren’t the only ones that matter. Having a sale board for your front lawn increases both visibility and inquiries.
Sale boards are an effective, traditional marketing technique. They appeal to people passing by and researching the local community.
Most sale boards include the agent’s name and number as well. Interested parties can contact your agent for additional information or even to schedule a viewing.
Sale boards are a minor estate agent fee but one that might prove more lucrative than you think.
How Estate Agents Use Marketing
Marketing is a huge part of the property market puzzle. Without it, no one will know your home is even for sale.
Estate agents are masters at marketing. They have professional resources and connections, as well as insider knowledge on the current market and how to appeal to buyers.
Estate agents have unique access to websites like Rightmove and Zoopla where they can list and manage your property. They respond to all inquiries in a timely fashion and ensure that you never miss a potential viewing or offer.
Experienced agents also know how the property market works including terminology, laws, and proper procedures.
In addition to sites like Zoopla and Rightmove, estate agents are also skilled in social media marketing. They can manage multiple social media pages including posting and updating pictures, responding to comments, and joining relevant groups and pages.
Estate agents also bring networking opportunities and professional connections to the table. They know exactly who to market your home to and what techniques to use.
Selling a Property Without an Agent
Some homeowners choose to sell their property on their own to avoid paying estate agent fees. While this is one approach to take, there are some things to consider before going this route.
Utilize Social Media Platforms
Social media is good for more than just reconnecting with friends and scrolling. Facebook and Instagram are just two of the many ways you can market your own property.
Use your cell phone camera to take high-quality photographs and upload them to your favorite social media platforms. Be sure to add a detailed description that highlights the main features of your home including upgrades and additions.
With so many contacts on your friends list, someone is bound to inquire about your stunning home. Ask them to share it on their own pages as well for even more exposure.
Useful Online Advertising Tools
Just because you don’t have access to websites like Zoopla and Rightmove doesn’t mean you can’t advertise your property online without an agent. Sites like Gumtree and Realflyer allow homeowners to post property listings for a certain price and periods of time.
Posting on these sites will cost you and you may be asked to pay an additional fee to the buyer’s agent if you close a deal. This percentage can be between 2% and 3% of the sale price of your property.
Some tips for creating a winning property listing include mentioning the home’s specs, any recent upgrades, the location, and the school system.
Act Like an Estate Agent
If you’re a homeowner trying to list your property, you need to separate yourself emotionally. This can be difficult but it’s imperative for success.
Start by thinking and acting like an estate agent. That means being honest about what your home is worth and both the positive and negative features.
Perform a market valuation to determine a reasonable listing price for your house. This means comparing your property to others in the area that recently sold to get a better idea of what buyers are willing to pay.
Take into consideration things like the location, the number of bedrooms, and any upgrades or unique features your home has.
You also need to objectively look at the condition of your home and make any necessary changes. This includes upgrading your curb appeal, removing clutter, and staging the interior.
When in doubt, hire the help of a solicitor or attorney. They can help with any legal paperwork and negotiations.
Why Pay Estate Agent Fees?
So, are estate agent fees worth it? It depends on how much work you want to do and how flexible your budget is.
If you need every last dime of your home sale, you may want to sidestep the estate agent fees and try to sell it yourself. If you can afford it, elicit the expertise of an estate agent.
Agents bring experience, knowledge, and connections to the table among other things. Just be sure to find out what services are included in the negotiated price before signing any contracts or agreements.
In the end, paying estate agent fees might be a financial burden but they’re an investment in your mental health and the speed with which you’ll close the deal.