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Estate agents fees – what to watch for

Make sure you are in the strongest possible position to negotiate with estate agents by reading Jon Middleton's top tips

How should the Estate Agent be informing me about their fees?

The Estate Agent Act 1979 requires the Estate Agent to give you information about how they charge for their service and the circumstances in which you will need to pay the charges. They are required to give you this information in writing before there is an agency contract, alongside:

  • An explanation of terms, legibly and clearly
  • Additional information on services the Estate Agent might give buyers
  • An explanation of the terms of the commission payment

Charges should be given as an amount. For example  – £4,500 + VAT. Or they should be given in a way that allows the final fee to be calculated, such as  2.5% of the selling price + VAT

If there are any additional chargeable costs such as a brochure, advertising or For Sale boards they also need to be set out in advance

Things to watch out for

  • Estate Agents fees are subject to VAT (currently 20%) so make sure you have considered this in your calculation of the overall total cost.
  • The final percentage commission is usually based upon the sale price. It is only at the point when you have exchanged contracts and the sale is legally binding that you will know the absolute final total cost
  • If you choose an Estate Agent that uses a commission based charging system and your house is worth more than the average you will be paying more for the same service.

Can I negotiate Estate Agent fees?

Yes you should absolutely negotiate fees. You’re about to spend thousands of pounds so do your normal due diligence of inquiring with a number of Estate Agents about their fees and services.

This blog was produced by Move to Private Property which promotes the choice of buying and selling property on the private market. 

Read more here….

Leave a comment (7)* Required

  1. JJJJ

    Regrettably I signed a Sole Selling Rights contract/agreement.

    Seven weeks later and with only 3 viewings, I want the agreement to end on the 12-week period mark.

    The contract/agreement say they are able to claim commission if unconditional contracts are exchanged within six months of the expiry of the period (if the Buyer stems from their marketing, but how would they prove it?) or “if no other EA is involved this time limit extends to two years”

    In layman terms, what does this mean for me please?

  2. AlanAlan

    I have just signed up with an estate agent for a 12 week sole agency. My property has been on the market 1 week and we have had quite a few viewings. If I find my house has not sold within the 12 weeks can I cancel the contract, and will I need to pay any money to the agent, if I do? They state a 1% commission, based on the selling price!

  3. philip samuelphilip samuel

    my sister passed away in sept 2017. in her will the house had to be sold. i contacted a local estate agent who put the house on market since april this year. however it has not reached its
    initial asking price . a close friend has told me of another estate agent interested in my sister’s property .how can i get out of terminating my contract with the first estate agent without paying any commision or any other fees.

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Philip, thanks for getting in touch. We often help our members with this question, and because part of the answer will be in the contract, we ask the member to send us a copy of the contract for us to read through first. Please do consider taking out a membership with us, we’d be happy to help you on this.

  4. Oliver MerzOliver Merz

    Hi – we had our property first with one than with two estate agents. – it was verbally agreed with the agents that the one who sells the property will get the fee – and not the other.
    Now the one who didn’t sell is presenting us with an invoice for an amount for removing the property for his list.
    We clearly said and agreed that if there is no sale – there is no fee.
    What can we do?

    • PaulaPaula

      Hi Oliver, What a stressful situation. Did you sign a contract with the agent who has presented you with the invoice? You need to find that and see what it says. We would be happy to look at the contract and review the situation with you if you decide to join HomeOwners Alliance – It’s a very popular service and we have helped many who have been in a dispute with their agent. If you don’t have a contract with the agent, then it will be difficult for the agent to claim the commission. But that doesn’t mean that they might continue to try.

      Good luck and hope to hear from you,


  5. kym pearcekym pearce

    Hi, my partner sold a house recently his house. He was using an estate agent but did not sign to any terms. He terminated the agreement when they failed to sell the property and eventually sold the house to his mate cheap for a quick sale.

    the estate agent didn’t write to my partner when the agreement was terminated to tell him about any continuing obligation to pay the fees.

    months later the estate agent has demanded the fees despite not being in any way responsible for that sale. Where does he stand?

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