Estate agents' fees exposedWhich? investigates agents' valuations and fees
31 March 2011
A Which? investigation reveals the huge variation in fees that estate agents charge for selling the same house.
We asked 48 estate agents how much it would cost to sell 12 houses around England, and found fees varied from 0.75% from an independent to 2.5% for three Foxtons branches and one Connells branch.
Some fixed fees were also high. For instance, Bridgfords' minimum fee of £2,250 meant that for a two-bedroom house in Lancashire worth £60,000, the fee was around 3.5%. The national average is around 1.8%.
If the agent quotes a high fee, it's vital you find out what you're getting for your money. It could be that the higher fee is worth it if the agent will sell the house for more money - but you can ask for evidence, such the figures it has achieved for similar properties in your area.
We also asked the estate agents to value the 12 properties and to suggest a figure at which they should be marketed. We got widely varying prices - the agents suggested figures between £500,000 and £650,000 for one of the more unusual houses. The average difference was 13% – or £46,467.
Property expert Kate Faulkner said: ‘We found in some areas all the agents valued at a similar level, but in others it differed a lot. In these cases it looked like some of the agents hadn’t done their homework.'
For more advice see the Which? guide to how to sell a house, which includes tips about how to deal with estate agents and advice about contracts.