Estate agents' fees seem to vary from agency to agency. So, what should you be paying - and what should you expect in return?
By Gordon Miller
Estate agents are unregulated although most practising agents adhere to a code of conduct administered by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA). Public calls for licensed agents fall largely on deaf ears, so in the absence of statutory regulations, what level of service should you expect from an estate agent and what should you expect to pay one when they are selling your property? Here, two independent financial advisers (IFAs) answer your key questions.
Peter McGahan of Worldwide Financial Planning Limited: 'This can vary dependent upon the region of the UK in which you will be selling your property - from as much as 1% up to 3%. An average fee you should expect would be around 1.75%.'
Jane King of Ash-Ridge Private Finance, independent mortgage advisers: 'The average charges are between 1.5% and 3% of the purchase price of the property being sold. Most estate agents will only charge this fee if a buyer is found who is able to proceed with the purchase.'
Peter McGahan: 'The charge is to cover their costs involved in marketing your property and assisting with the sale. You can expect them to market your property across various different media, such as websites and newspapers; take in-bound enquiries from prospective buyers and arrange for viewings on your property; assist you with accepting and declining offers and be the middleman between you and the buyer.'
Jane King: 'The charges will include detailed floor plans, the marketing of your property in local papers and the estate agents' windows. Some agents also hold open days at properties and you will have access to an agent by phone to answer any queries or questions you may have. Agents will contact any existing clients who are looking to purchase a similar property and accompany them to viewings. Once a purchaser has been found they will draw up the initial contract documents and ensure that the purchaser has sufficient funds to proceed with the purchase.'
Peter McGahan: 'The fee is generally paid on the day of completion of your sale. The fee will usually be paid directly from the solicitors acting on your behalf to the estate agent. Always remember that VAT will added to their fee.'
Jane King: 'The charges are usually payable upon completion of the purchase and will be deducted from the proceeds by the vendor's solicitor. This deduction will show on the completion statement'.
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