The varying rates and elements of house selling fees in the UK
Once upon a time, we’d be looking for a simple, single, best rate—trying to compare estate agent fees to get ourselves the best deal. Now, with myriad ways to sell our houses, the cost of selling isn’t purely associated with our estate agent.
Having said that, around 70% of us are still selling our homes the traditional way, choosing a sole agency with a ‘no sale, no fee’ contract.
Despite living in such a fast-moving digital world, only a few are choosing to self-sell—with only around 5% going down the online fixed-fee route or working with a hybrid agent.
This article provides sellers with some useful information into what they should be looking out for, how much they should be expected to part with, and a few of those hidden extras that may well take them by surprise.
Average estate agent fees
Agent fees for selling a house have been slowly dropping over the past decade. You’d like to think that was good news for sellers. However, given that property prices are higher than ever, it still converts into pretty generous payments for estate agents, despite the drop in their rates.
Sole agency agreement rates
The most popular way to sell a house is using the most traditional—by a sole agency arrangement. You’ll be expected to pay anywhere between 0.75% and 3.0% of the agreed selling price, plus the VAT.
The average is currently assumed to be 1.18%+VAT. That’s a total of 1.42% with the VAT included. Selling your £200k home will earn your agent a commission (straight out of your pocket) of £2,360.
With the average house price in the UK currently at £219k, then our £2,360 fee is very close to the average rate for something very close to the average home. But—you could be looking at a lot more with even the slightest adjustment in your rate.
For example, for the same £200k property, a 1.5%+VAT (1.8% inclusive) would work out at £3,600, and a 1.75%+VAT (2.1% inclusive) would be £4,200. That’s a difference of £1,840 within only a half per cent rise in the asking rate.
You can see why it’s so important to find the right rate for you, and from an agent with all the services you need to sell your home.
Multi agency agreement rates
There are only a few sellers taking on more than one agent to sell their home, and with such inflated rates, it’s easy to see why.
The average multi estate agent fees for selling are said to be 2.5%+VAT (that’s 3% including the VAT).
That £200k house suddenly rockets its fees up to £6,000. Not a bad little payday for the agent who seals that deal.
Online and hybrid agent rates
Selling your home yourself, or getting only a little help with the process, can save sellers a lot of money, but it does come with a little more risk, and a lot more work.
Online agents will generally provide you with a low one-off all-inclusive fee but will expect you to do the lion’s share of the work yourself.
Prices range from £99 (including VAT) to £999.
Each one will provide a different range of services, so it’s a good idea to find out what you get for your money before you get too excited at the price.
You should at least hope for photography, floor plans, and advertising on Rightmove and Zoopla. A ‘For Sale’ sign should also come as standard—otherwise, things may get quite confusing for your potential buyers!
Considerations when using an online agent
Making a solid comparison between online agents will give you an idea into just how differently each operates. Whether you’ll be expected to pay up-front, if you’ll receive a ‘No sale, no fee’ deal, how they’ll conduct your property valuation and viewings (if at all), and the term your arrangement will last for, will all vary from business to business. Make sure you know the facts and work out the full cost, instead of just the suggested version.
What about those hidden extras?
Beware of the cheapest estate agent fees in your research. Although sometimes there is such a thing as a great deal, we’d ask you to tread carefully around the lowest estate agent commission fees, as there’s a good chance they’re going to try and boost their profit with a wide-range of hidden or additional costs.
By law, your estate agent should be advertising their fee inclusive of VAT. But that looks much less appealing so that they won’t see that figure as their best-option marketing tool. That’s probably why they’d rather show it to you as 1.5%+VAT than tell you outright that they’re going to take 1.8% of your selling price.
You will need to pay a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to deal with the legal issues of selling your property. You should expect to pay anywhere between £500 and £1,500 for the pleasure.
Energy Performance Certificate
An Energy Performance Certificate lasts 10 years, so depending on when you bought your home, or how many times you try to sell it in that time, you may not have to pay the £110 average price (that should include the VAT, by the way). You need to commission an EPC before you can start marketing your home, but fear not, most estate agents will be able to point you in the direction of a suitable provider.
Photography and floor plans
Although these should be considered basics of any agency service—online or high street—the cheapest of each could well add them as an extra, to get their base rate down as low as possible.
Listings on the popular portals
Nobody should even consider selling a house these days without posting it on at least Rightmove or Zoopla. With some online agents, that could be all you get—and why not? It might be all you need. But unless you’ve got a friend or a definite buyer waiting in the wings, you’re going to need at least one of them. Make sure you have the Zoopla or Rightmove fees included in the price of your agency deal.
The devil’s in the details
When it comes to choosing the best agent for you—whether high street, online or hybrid—you must be armed with all the facts. It’s also worth noting that estate agent fees in London are usually going to come at a premium. Don’t skimp on asking for all the information in a clear, precise presentation. Knowledge is power, after all.
Estate agent selling fees in the UK can vary considerably, and the difference you’ll end up paying could knock the wind out from under you if you don’t get it right first time.