When it comes to buying or selling a property in the UK, most people opt to hire an estate agent.
Estate agents are (generally) professionals who help people navigate the complex and often stressful process of buying or selling a house, even though these days it’s possible to sell your home yourself.
They can provide valuable guidance, help clients set realistic prices, and ensure that transactions are conducted legally and ethically.
They also ensure your property is advertised widely and conduct viewings, but the fees they charge can add up to a significant amount depending on the value of your home, and what their commission is.
To give you an idea of how much to budget for this part of your home moving costs, let’s find out what is the average commission that an estate agent charges for their services.
What is estate agent commission?
Firstly, let’s start with the basics. Commission is the fee that estate agents charge for their role in the home buying/selling process.
It is usually calculated as a percentage of the sale price of the property that they’ve been instructed to sell.
For example, to give you an idea of how much you should pay, if an estate agent charges a commission rate of 1.5% and sells a property for £300,000, their commission would be £4,500.
What is the average commission for an estate agents
The average commission for selling a house in the UK is between 1.5% to 2.5% of the sale price of the property. Most people pay in the region of 1.75%.
However, the commission rate can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, such as the location of the property, its value, the condition it’s in and the services offered by the estate agent.
For example, estate agents in London tend to earn more commission due to the high property values in the city.
Similarly, estate agents who offer additional services such as property management or legal advice may charge larger fees than those who only offer basic buying and selling services.
It is worth noting here that commission rates are not set in stone, and clients can often negotiate with an estate agent to find a rate that works for both parties.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the lowest commission rate may not always be the best option, as it may result in a lower level of service or a lack of incentive for the estate agent to work hard to achieve the best possible price for the property.
I’ve heard it said that many people believe an estate agent fee of below 1% should be treated with suspicion.
However, from personal experience I can vouch for several agents who’ve charged less than 1% and I’ve never felt I’ve received a poor service from them.
It’s important to establish the commission rate of an estate agent early on in the process so you can factor this into your budget.
Be sure to shop around and compare rates and services offered by different estate agents to find the best option for your needs.
I always recommend inviting at least three preferably local agents to come and value your home and quote their fees for the business.
Is 1% a good estate agent fee?
In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards estate agents charging lower commission rates, with some offering rates as low as 1% or even less.
This may be in part due to the growth in DIY agents, or those that offer a streamlined, mostly online service.
But is 1% a good estate agent fee in the UK? Let’s take a closer look.
While a 1% estate agent fee may seem attractive, it is important to remember that the lowest commission rate may not always be the best option.
Here are some factors to consider when evaluating whether a 1% estate agent fee is a good deal:
Quality of Service
As I’ve already said, lower commission rates may result in lower quality of service and less motivation to work hard to get the best price for your property.
Marketing and advertising
Marketing and advertising are key to attracting potential buyers, although most agents rely on one or two portals these days, with the most popular being Rightmove.
Estate agents who charge lower commission rates may not have the resources to invest in effective marketing and advertising campaigns, which could ultimately result in a slower sale or lower sale price.
Local market conditions
The local market conditions can also affect whether a 1% estate agent fee is a good deal.
In a hot market where properties are selling quickly, an estate agent may be able to sell a property with minimal effort even with a lower commission rate.
However, in a slow market, a higher commission rate may be necessary to attract a skilled estate agent who can effectively market and sell your property.
Ultimately, the decision on whether a 1% estate agent fee is a good deal will depend on your individual circumstances.
It is important to do your research, ask questions, and compare different estate agents and their commission rates before making a decision.
If an estate agent is offering a 1% fee and gets good reviews online I can’t see any reason not to use them.
Is 2% estate agent fee too high?
We’ve talked about why a low estate agent fee may have an impact on how smoothly your sale goes, but what about at the top end?
Some estate agents you talk to may charge a fee of 2% or more, especially if they’re part of a large nationwide chain, leaving many wondering if this fee is too high.
The answer to this question is not straightforward as a lot depends on the services provided by the estate agent and the local market conditions.
In a buoyant market where lots of people are selling, estate agents may be less willing to negotiate their fees. In such markets, estate agents may charge higher fees due to higher demand making 2% seem reasonable.
However, if you’re selling a property in a less competitive market or an area with lower property values, a 2% estate agent fee may seem too high.
In such cases, it’s essential to research the market and compare the fees charged by different estate agents in the area.
It’s also worth noting that estate agents who charge higher fees may offer additional services, such as professional photography or home staging, that can help you sell your property more quickly and at a higher price.
This could justify the higher fee if the estate agent can deliver results that meet or exceed your expectations.
What is estate agent commission in London?
When it comes to buying or selling a property in London, estate agent fees can be eye-wateringly high.
That’s not because they charge a higher rate of commission – it’s purely down to the super expensive properties that dominate the capital city.
Estate agents in London are generally performing the same amount of work but because the property is selling for much more they are in turn earning a much higher fee for doing so.
So, while the average estate agent commission fees in London are still in the 1.5% to 2.5% bracket, the agents benefit from the big-ticket houses they’re selling.
How much should I pay an estate agent?
This depends on what you can afford and whether you’ve exhausted the negotiation process.
If the agents in your area are refusing to budge on price and there’s little difference in their quotes then you need to go with the one who made the best impression.
Sometimes this can simply be a personal preference, ie perhaps one agent stood out as giving you the most confidence in their abilities, or you didn’t click with another.
Remember, you’re going to be having a lot of contact with your estate agent during the selling process so it’s important that you trust them and have a good working relationship.
How to negotiate estate agent fees
Everything is negotiable, and that includes estate agents fees.
If you’re not happy with the first quote you’ve been given, get a few more than play the agents off against each other.
Here are some tips for negotiating estate agent fees:
Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare the commission rates charged by different estate agents in your area.
Once you’ve got a few quotes, ask your preferred agent if they’ll beat a lower quote you’ve been given.
Ask for a breakdown of costs
Ask your estate agent for a breakdown of the costs included in their commission rate. This can help you to understand whether the fee is reasonable and negotiate more effectively.
Be willing to compromise
If you want to negotiate a lower commission rate, be willing to compromise on the services offered by the estate agent.
Research the market
Before negotiating with an estate agent, research the market to find out what other estate agents in the area are charging for similar services.
Be realistic about what you can achieve when negotiating estate agent fees. Estate agents are unlikely to lower their fees significantly, especially if your property is going to be difficult to sell.
Be prepared to walk away
If an estate agent is unwilling to negotiate their fees, be prepared to walk away and find another estate agent who is willing to work with you.
You might also like: How to negotiate a lower fee with an estate agent
So, if you’re wondering if you can haggle estate agent fees then the answer is definitely ‘yes’.
In fact, many agents will expect it. After all, negotiating is their bread and butter and they are well prepared to haggle over their fees.
However, it’s essential to approach negotiations carefully and be realistic about what you can achieve.
How much does an estate agent earn in the UK?
Estate agents don’t get the best press, but they play a crucial role in keeping the UK property market moving.
The question of how much an estate agent earns in the UK is one that goes hand in hand with how much they charge.
Most estate agent’s earnings are split into two parts:
Most estate agents in the UK get a basic salary, although this tends to be very low to start with.
However, a trainee estate agent doesn’t need a fistful of qualifications to start in the industry as demanded by other sectors.
Estate agents make the bulk of their money from commission.
This means that they earn a percentage of the sale price of the property they help sell or let.
Estate agents may work for an estate agency or be self-employed. In either case, their earning potential is determined by the number of properties they sell or let and the commission fee they charge.
Factors Affecting Estate Agent Earnings
Several factors influence how much an estate agent earns in the UK. Some of the key factors include:
Estate agents who work in areas with high property values, ie London, tend to earn more than those who work in areas with lower property values.
As with any industry, experienced estate agents will command a higher salary than those who are new to the industry.
Estate agents who have a good reputation for delivering excellent results tend to earn more than those who do not as they can charge more.
Marketing and networking
Estate agents who invest in marketing and networking tend to have a larger client base, which can lead to more sales and higher earnings.
Estate agents’ earning potential is heavily influenced by the state of the property market and how many houses they’re able to sell.
Average estate agent earnings in the UK
According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average annual salary for estate agents in the UK is around £26,000.
However, this figure is heavily influenced by the earning potential of estate agents working in London and the South East, where property values are higher.
Estate agents working in other parts of the UK may earn significantly less.
When do you pay estate agent fees UK
When you sell a property in the UK, you are generally responsible for paying the estate agent fees and they are due upon completion of the sale.
Completion is the point at which ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer, and the funds are transferred to the seller.
Once the sale is complete, the estate agent will invoice you for their services, and the fee is typically deducted from the proceeds of the sale.
Some estate agents may require a deposit or an upfront fee to cover their costs, such as marketing and advertising expenses.
When you buy a property in the UK, you are not typically responsible for paying the estate agent fees.
However, in some cases, the estate agent may charge a separate fee to the buyer for additional services, such as arranging surveys or valuations.
It’s essential to clarify any additional fees with the estate agent before committing to their services.
Letting a Property
When letting a property in the UK, estate agent fees are typically charged to the landlord rather than the tenant.
The fees may be a fixed amount or a percentage of the rental income, and they are usually due when the tenancy agreement is signed.
The estate agent may also charge additional fees for services such as property management or referencing checks.
Estate agent fees calculator
To help you estimate the costs involved in buying as selling property, you can use an estate agent fees calculator of which there are many available.
Some of the places to find an estate agent fees calculator include:
Online Estate Agent Websites
Many online estate agents provide an estate agent fees calculator on their website.
These calculators allow you to estimate the cost of selling your property based on its value and the services you require.
They also provide a breakdown of the fees, so you can understand what you are paying for.
Some popular online estate agents that provide a fees calculator include Purplebricks, Yopa, and Tepilo.
Comparison websites such as Zoopla and Rightmove also provide an estate agent fees calculator.
These calculators allow you to compare the fees charged by different estate agents in your area.
You can enter your postcode and the estimated value of your property, and the calculator will provide you with a list of estate agents and their fees.
This allows you to compare prices and services before choosing an estate agent.
There are also third-party estate agent fees calculators available online.
These calculators are not affiliated with any specific estate agent and allow you to compare the fees charged by different estate agents in your area.
Some popular third-party estate agent fees calculators include Net An Agent and Local Agent Finder.
Estate Agent Associations
Estate agent associations such as the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) provide information on estate agent fees.
They can also provide guidance on choosing an estate agent and negotiating fees. You can find a list of registered estate agents on their websites.
Using an estate agent fees calculator is a useful tool when buying or selling a property and will help you stick to your budget when selling a home.
If you choose to sell your home with an estate agent be prepared to haggle over their fees.
If you can agree a commission rate of 1% to 1.25% then you’ve done well!
Just remember, there are cheaper options available to you when it comes to selling your home, although you’ll have to be far more involved in the process yourself than if you employ an agent.
You need to balance how much time you have and your confidence in dealing with property and people before deciding which route to take.