Estate Agent Fees | NatWest

 

 

 

Estate agent fees

Estate agents can help to make the process of selling your house easier, quicker and much less hassle. But enlisting their help to sell your home will likely incur a fee, usually charged as a percentage of the final sale price which typically ranges from 0.75% to as a high as 3.5%.

Here's our guide to help you understand what to expect from a good estate agent and decide what an appropriate fee should be for you.

Estate Agent fees

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What should you expect from your estate agent?

 

An estate agent is there to do much of the hard work when it comes to selling a house, such as:

 

  • A valuation
  • Photographs and a brochure
  • Listing in branch, online and the local paper
  • Managing any enquiries and paperwork
  • Hosting viewings
  • Negotiating with potential buyers 

 

Choosing the right estate agent

  • It is a good idea to check that any potential estate agent are a member of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA). This well-established organisation is committed to raising standards in the property business, and only authorise highly-qualified estate agents. Although not a mandatory requirement, certification at least gives strong indication of competency and a solid track record.
  • Most estate agents will offer to visit your house and give you a free valuation. The best will be able to justify the valuation using examples of similar properties they have recently sold. You're within your rights to request their reasoning behind the valuation, and don't be misled by optimistic price promises – particularly if the agent hasn't sold many houses like yours before. Ask at least three estate agents to give you a valuation, as it will not only help you understand your property's worth, but also give an indication of each agent's market expertise.
  • You'll want to check whether each salesperson can identify the major plus points of your property. They need to convince potential buyers that your home is brilliant, so get them to sell it to you first! Ask them if they already have a list of people looking for a property like yours. They need to be able to scrutinise serious buyers and separate them from timewasters.
  • Be sure to ask any potential estate agents where your property would be marketed and advertised, to make sure you'll get the most out of the estate agents fees you’ll be paying. Look at how they promote similar properties to yours. Will they put it pride of place in their shop window and local newspapers? Will it just go on their website or will they also use large property listings sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla? Do they take professional photos of the properties on their books and give them fabulous write-ups? These things are all important, and doing your homework early can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

How many estate agents do you need?

  • One of the biggest factors that affects estate agents fees is how many you use. You can opt to have one, two or more estate agents working for you, so to decide how many to appoint, look at the state of the housing market. If you're not in a rush to sell and there are few properties for sale in your area but lots of buyers, going with a sole agent makes sense. You'll pay the lowest fee, which is usually around 1% - 2.5% + VAT. Sole agents often take lower commission because it is assured that they will get the sale. If you opt for just one agent, appoint them for a period of six to eight weeks, as that will allow you to go elsewhere if you need to. Be aware that hiring a sole agent means you're signing up for an exclusive agreement, so you can't go to another company too. If you do sell through another agent, you'll be in breach of contract, and liable to double fees.
 
  • If you want to sell faster or have a unique type of property, it might be worth considering a joint sole agreement. Here, you appoint two different agents who split the commission between them. Fees are higher, typically around 2% + VAT. This makes sense if you need a specialist national agent, as well as a local agent to scout for buyers in your area.
  • Finally, if you want to sell your house at super speed, a multi-agency agreement could be the best option for you. The more agents you have, the more potential buyers you should expect to reach. This ought to ensure you'll receive more offers, ideally sparking a bidding war that raises the price – but remember that the fees you pay will be highest, at around 3% + VAT. Bear in mind, only the agent who makes the sale gets the commission, while the others get nothing. With so many salespeople competing with each other, the process can become frantic. Again, take a look at the housing market before you commit to any agent. If there are few buyers but lots of properties for sale, having multiple estate agents will help you reach more people. In a busier market though, you might prefer to just stick with one agent with expert knowledge of the local area.

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