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How to negotiate estate agent fees

Estate agent fees can pile up quickly, but a little negotiation can actually bring them down quite considerably. While haggling is not generally traditional in Britain, when it comes to the selling fees, with a few pointers on how to negotiate, you would be surprised how much money you can actually save.

A key point to remember when negotiating is realising that estate agents need you a great deal more than you need them. You might actually be surprised how much money you can save on the estate agent fees if you try out some of the tips below.

Some Exceptions to Negotiating

Estate agency chains that are run corporately are more difficult to negotiate with than small agencies or estate agents who work independently. Corporately run, nation-wide agencies tend to enforce some strict policies surrounding commission levels and their employees have to adhere to these. These chains can get away with this rigidity because they know that there will always be buyers and sellers who will accept the terms of their contracts and the exorbitant charges without doing research into it.

This does not have to concern you, though. The small agencies and independent agents tend toward being of far higher quality, so it is advisable to use them whenever possible. There are a few things to remember when speaking with prospective estate agents when looking to sell your property.

What to Keep in Mind

You will often find that the dominant and most successful estate agents in a particular area may be more difficult to negotiate than those with a smaller market share. Remember, though, that just because an estate agent is established and has a good market share of the properties, this does not necessarily mean that they offer the best service.

Talk with a wide range of estate agents. Interview agents from both nation-wide chains and smaller businesses – and I use the word interview because that is just what you are doing. They will be working for you, though some will try to make you feel as if it is a privilege to have hired them! Don’t get stuck with someone that you are uncomfortable with because you feel obligated to them. You should feel comfortable with the agent that you choose.

Ask about every agent’s terms of business. They should be fair and have no small print that could trip you up and lead to additional costs further into the selling process. No matter how charismatic and charming an estate agent is, judge them by their terms of business.

Prepare Yourself for Negotiations

Keep well in mind that estate agents do not stay in business and make money by turning away clients. Though they might all want to charge a fee of 2 to 2.4% + Value Added Tax (VAT), you should be trying to get the agent as near 1% +Value Added Tax as you possibly can. For a piece of property that costs more than £500,000, you should be trying to get them down even more to 0.75% +VAT, if at all possible.

You can prepare yourself to negotiate quite a significant discount from any estate agent. Present your house well and be realistic when it comes to the selling price. If you make a strong effort to present your house well inside and out to potential buyers, the estate agents whom you speak with will want you all the more as a client. Make sure that you are being realistic when you set the selling price of your house. Sentimental value is often much more than true material value. A house that is priced at the going market value will tell agents right away that you are informed and intelligent when it comes to selling your home. Many estate agents will actually lower their fees just to bring you on as a client, if you show that your home will be an easy sale.

How to Perform Negotiations

Simply asking for a reduced fee does not work. It is necessary to be strong about your position and keep your nerve. Leave discussing estate agent fees near the end of the appointment for valuation. This gives the agent a chance to get his or her mind set on the property and the commission it will yield.

Remember to ask what the agent’s Sole Agency Contract fee is. When they give you a figure, appear shocked. Frown and shake your head in disapproval, saying that you cannot agree to that amount and don’t waver. Tell them that you could not consider choosing them as your agent unless they brought it down to a 1% fee, then watch and see how they react. Whether they give in right away or not, thank them for giving you their time and say goodbye. Allow him or her to know that you have more agents coming to perform valuations and that you will call to let them know if they are your choice. Do the very same thing with each agent that you meet. Keep notes on their fees and reactions, and what your impression of the agent is.

If you find an agent that you like and get along with, but they have not quoted the lowest fee, invite them around again. Inform him or her that you are simply torn between their services and the services of another agent who gave you a lower quote. Explain how you feel that you will receive great service from both of them, that the fee is the only deciding factor, and that you will have to give your business to the other agent if he or she cannot match the amount of the competing fee.

You will likely receive a list of reasons why they cannot or will not reduce the fee that they quoted. Most often, this is simply a bluff. The estate agent will have to make a better offer. After this, it is up to you to come to a decision whether the fee is low enough.

Final Word

Negotiation can save you a great deal of money, if you follow through. Stand your ground and persist when you begin to negotiate and you will succeed in lowering the fee.

Andrew Potter who works for My Online Estate Agent wrote this article. My Online Estate Agent provides all the tools and guides you need to sell or let your property saving yourself thousands in estate agent fees.


The above information has been adapted from the original article

by Gavin Brazg (editor –”