How To Get An Estate Agent To Negotiate And Drop Their Fee When Selling A House

Negotiating house sale

Buying and selling houses is a hugely expensive process which is why most people only do it once or twice in their lives.

The cost that tends to annoy people the most, after the ludicrously unfair Stamp Duty that is, is the estate agent fees.

Here is a company that’s going to charge several thousands pounds for what, on the surface of it, amounts to sticking an advert on Rightmove then opening a door a few times when viewings take place.

Of course, there’s more to being an estate agent than this, although with the advent of DIY property selling portals, you sometimes wonder exactly what that is.

The hefty commission owed to an agent after a successful sale can leave a bitter taste in the mouth and many people asking if there’s a way to reduce the fee they pay.

Aside from going the DIY route which will save you a hefty chunk of cash although potentially add to your stress levels, there’s another, simple way of cutting the estate agents fees – negotiate.

A lot of people want to know if they can haggle an estate agent fee and the answer is yes, definitely. So, here are some tips and tricks to make it easier for you.

Negotiate the estate agent fee

If I had £1 for every time someone said they didn’t try to negotiate their estate agent fee because they didn’t realise they could, I’d be a wealthy man.

In my view everything’s open to negotiation and that includes the percentage of the sale price that you pay to an estate agent.

So, is it really that simple?

From my experience it’s remarkably easy to get your agent to knock a significant amount off their commission, especially if you’re in a strong selling position.

By this I mean that your property is in a good area with plenty things that make it appealing and it’s been well-maintained.

Estate agents love these types of property because they know that in a healthy market they practically walk off the shelf with minimal effort.

Even during downturns, it’s easy to make a home like this shine and generate some much needed commission by having it on their books.

How to negotiate an estate agent fee

The first thing you need to remember is the old adage – if you don’t ask you don’t get.

Estate agents are no stranger to negotiating, driving a hard bargain and at times being extremely cheeky when it comes to securing business.

So, you shouldn’t feel in any way inhibited about turning the tables and asking if they’re willing to drop their price to secure your business.

There are a few tips and tricks to reducing an estate agent’s commission which I’ve found to work consistently as you begin the process of selling your house and getting it on the market.

Tips and tricks to paying a lower estate agent fee

When you’ve decided to sell your property it’s often the case that you’ll check out the local estate agents in your area and invite a few of them along to value your home and explain how they are the best person to represent it.

During their visit you’ll undoubtedly ask them about fees and they’ll usually come back with a figure ranging from between 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent of the selling price.

Bear in mind that if your home is worth say £500,000, the agent stands to cream off £12,500 from your profit using the top end of the fee scale!

If you’ve never sold a house before, you can see why people moan about estate agents fees.

Going back to the visit, after they’ve told you their fee, politely ask if that’s the best they can do as you’re keen to get the ball rolling quickly.

It’s possible that they’ll offer a small discount on their fee on the spot, especially if they’re keen to secure the business and can see that the property is likely to be an easy sell.

If they do, thank them and say that you’re seeing some other agents shortly and that you’ll be making a decision very soon.

Be polite, but firm

At this stage the agent may move on the price even further – they know that as soon as they walk out the door there’s a chance another agent will swoop in and steal the business by undercutting their fee.

If they do, continue to hold firm. Thank them and say you really appreciate the offer, but you’ve already booked the other agents in and would like to hear what they have to say.

Repeat the process with each agent that visits. I always recommend that you see at least three different agents to ensure you get a good idea of what your property is worth and to gain as much market intelligence as you can.

Once you’ve got the quotes, contact each of them and say that you like the sound of what they said and are considering using them, but another agent has pitched a lower commission fee and would they consider dropping theirs, even if you haven’t had a better offer.

This may seem a little underhand, but you need to do what’s best for you here and I certainly wouldn’t have any guilt about haggling with estate agents!

90% of estate agents will offer a discount

Some agents may come back with a flat out refusal to drop their fee, but from my experience this method will work 90% of the time.

Even if it’s only a quarter of a percentage, this equates to £1,250 using our example above. This could potentially cover your removal costs, or pay for a swanky new TV in your next property.

Remember, estate agents have no qualms about trying to get the best deal for themselves, so get into their mindset and follow suit.

If your property is highly saleable and the agent knows there’ll be buyers queuing up at the door, with potentially a bidding war that will increase their return even further, you may find you get an even more significant discount.

The property and car markets are two areas where you rarely pay full price for anything, even if it’s brand new. It’s a given that prices are there to be negotiated, so it follows that this applies to the estate agents fee.

You might not feel comfortable doing it face-to-face, in which case resort to email.

I always find it’s good to have everything in writing anyway, and this may be a way for you to depersonalise the negotiations and be more confident in your approach.


For those that do try their hand at negotiating the estate agents fees I hope it’s successful for you.

The agent can always say no in which case there’s no harm done. Remove emotion from the negotiations and don’t take any offence if they do.

You can choose to move on as most areas have a wide choice of agents to go with, or, if the more expensive agent is really your preferred choice then weigh up the cost against the value they bring to you.

At least you’ll have tried and, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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