Commission or Flat Fee?
The advantages and disadvantages
If you sell your house using a traditional High-street estate agent, their fee will usually be based on a percentage of the price paid by the buyer. This kind of estate agent's fee is called commission. However, most Online Agents and some High-street agents may offer a flat fee service, an agreed single payment, which is usually payable up front.
The commission charged by the average high-street estate agent is between 0.75% and 3.5% of the final selling price depending on a number of factors including how many estate agents are selling your property, what area you are selling in and the type of property you are selling.
Agents working on a commission basis have a vested interested in getting you the best price for your property, because the more you make, the more they will make.
A disadvantage with commission is that you won’t know the exact fee you will be paying the agent until a final price has been agreed with your buyer. However if you have a rough idea of what offer you intend to accept on your property then you can have a general idea of what the agent’s fee will be.
Up-front fees can vary greatly, anything from £300 to £3000. This again depends on whether it’s a high-street agent or an online agent that is offering an up-front fee service and also the type and location of your property.
An advantage of using an agent on an up-front fee basis is that you know exactly what the cost of selling your home will be and you have already paid for the service and this charge won’t be deducted from your final selling price.
Please also be aware that most up-front fees are non-refundable, regardless of whether or not the agent manages to sell your property. This may mean that there is less incentive for them to work hard to find you the best buyer for your home.
Should you choose the cheapest estate agent?
Always do your research, compare the stats, look at who is selling property like yours quickly in your area and what service you get for the fee you will pay. I would always advise having at least three agents to value your property to get an idea of the fees they charge in your area and the service each agent can provide to you. You're likely to have a lot of contact with your estate agent over the coming weeks and months, so it's also worth thinking about who you'd be happy to do business with, and make your decision based on these factors as well as the fee.