Selling a house is a costly process and some estate agents charge a fortune. We show you how to negotiate a lower fee.
There are many reasons why people want to sell their home. They may wish to trade up. They be moving out of the area. They may be looking for a smaller property to release some capital and prepare for retirement. Many people, particularly in the present economic climate, are looking to move house so they can pay off debts and reduce their outgoings. Some may be selling as the result of a divorce, separation or bereavement and every penny counts.
However, moving house, even to save money, can be a costly business. Once you have factored in the cost of preparing your house for sale, legal fees, EPC, survey fees, mortgage fees, moving costs and items for the new property the bill can run into thousands of pounds.
One of the major expenses of any house move is the fee paid to your chosen estate agent. If you list with the high street your fee can be anywhere from 1% to 3.5% depending on where you live, the local market and the agent you choose.
On an averagely priced property of £250K this can be anywhere between 2.5K and 7.5k depending on your agent. Added to that, the more expensive your property the more you have to pay. If you are lucky enough to sell a million pound pad your agent is going to pocket up to £35K in fees. More than most people earn in a year.
There is a solution. Choose an online estate agent. Zevizo Properties, the online estate agent, can market your property from as little as £445 plus VAT. That could save the average seller up to £7k. If you sold your million pound pad through Zevizo your saving could be an incredible £34.5K.
There is no reason why the price of your property should dictate the fee. All properties require the the same costs on the part of the agent and the same amount of work is involved. Agents pay a monthly fee to list properties on sites such as Rightmove regardless of the list price.
There are still many sellers who are not aware of the fantastic savings they can achieve through an online estate agent. A decade ago everyone would have visited their local travel agent to book a flight or a holiday. Now, far more people understand the cost benefits and convenience of buying their travel products online. The housing market is undergoing the same transition.
However, many sellers still list with the high street despite the ridiculous cost. But are these fees negotiable? In one word, yes!
Here are our tips for getting a fee reduction with your chosen agent:
1. Do your preparation. Make sure you know what all the local agents are charging. The agent will want your business so may be prepared to undercut the competition or price match. They will know the fees their competition is charging but they hope you don’t.
2. List any work you have done yourself that saves the agent time and money. If you have taken photos or produced floor plans of your property and they are good quality this will reduce the cost of the sale to the agent. This is also the case of you want to do your own viewings. If you are doing the agents work for them you should expect this to be reflected in the fee.
3. Don’t ask for their lowest possible fee. You won’t get it. Work out a fee that you are prepared to pay and negotiate on that. If they can do it they will if they can’t they won’t.
4. Large, corporate firms tend to have less flexibility on fees. Managers of local branches do tend to have some wiggle room but this will be within strict parameters. Local, smaller firms often have more flexibility with the fee.
5. Familiarise yourself with the local housing market. You are in a much stronger position if agents are fighting to list the same properties. If business is flying through their door they will not need to negotiate.
6. Understand that there is a baseline below which any agent cannot go. I would include online agents in this too. At Zevizo Properties we charge thousands less than the high street but there is a point below which listing your property is not worthwhile for the agent. This is particularly true of the high street. They have large overheads such as smart offices which need to be paid for from the sale of your house.
7. Enter the negotiation with a win/win mentality. Any deal has to be of benefit to everyone. You are paying for a service and the provider deserves to be paid a fair fee.
8. Never agree to list when the agent is at your property. Make them work for it. If you play a little hard to get you are more likely to be able to negotiate by playing the competition against each other.
9. Ask more expensive agents what they are going to do for their additional percentage over the competition. Sometimes it is not always about the cheapest deal. If you genuinely believe you are getting additional services for the extra fee then take that into account in negotiations. However, standard high street agents, tend to perform the same service to customers. Fees are set based on the fixed and variable costs required to turn a profit for the business.
10. Don’t be persuaded by worthless extras. An agent may provide a weekly performance report on how many people are viewing your property. This should not be a benefit that justifies a fee. This should be part of keeping your customer informed and up to date. At Zevizo this is just a natural part of our sales process.
In short, fees with high street agents are negotiable. Do your research. Set the rate you are prepared to pay. Be firm but fair. Try to create a situation where both parties are getting something from the deal. You could save yourself some money.
Of course, if you want to save a fortune choose an online estate agent like Zevizo Properties. At a flat fee of £445 plus VAT regardless of the price of the property we are significantly cheaper than the high street.
Zevizo Properties is a national, online estate agent, marketing properties on all the major property web sites. Our fees start at £445 plus VAT.