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No Sale, No Fee Estate Agent

One of the first steps in selling your home is appointing an estate agent. When deciding which one to choose, you'll want to understand their approach to charging. Agents will either charge a flat fee to be paid up front (usually charged by online estate agents) or a “no sale, no fee” commission to be paid only if you sell (usually charged by high street agents). Here we explain the pros and cons and which is best for you.

no sale no fee estate agent

What is “no sale, no fee”?

This is the traditional way of paying an estate agent, typically used by high street estate agents. The standard fee structure is for you to agree to pay the estate agent a percentage of the sale price of your property once the sale has completed.

A no sale, no fee estate agent is great for you, the buyer, as it incentivises the estate agent to sell your property in order to be paid their percentage commission. And if your home doesn’t sell, you pay them nothing. But if your property is worth a lot, then the amount you are paying them, even if the commission charge is a mere 1%, could be several thousands of pounds.

Many online estate agents (e.g. PurpleBricks) have a different way of charging homeowners. Rather than “no sale, no fee”, they charge a fixed upfront fee. This can work out cheaper than paying a percentage of the sale price, but you will have to pay it whether your home sells or not.

What estate agents offer no upfront fees?

Most of your local estate agents offer a no sale no fee service. This means they will take care of everything including floor plans, photography, get your property listed on online portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, conduct viewings and handle sale negotiations all without asking for any money from you. You simply pay them a percentage of the sale price when the transaction is completed.

You can use the following tool to see a list of your local estate agents and compare how quickly they sell houses like yours, how often they achieve asking price and fees.

Find and Compare Local Estate Agents

This form will take you to for the results

Which online estate agents offer “no sale, no fee”?

In contrast, most packages from online estate agents, charge a lower upfront fee. Upfront fees range from £0 to £999 and can be higher in London.

Although, increasingly, online estate agents like Yopa, 99 Homes and Esale are offering a no sale no fee, pay on completion option, so you can choose which you prefer.

Online Estate Agent Basic Pay Upfront Pricing No Sale No Fee pricing
99 Homes £99 from £799
eSale £595 £1,190
Strike £0 £0
YOPA £999 On request

It’s important you don’t confuse an option to delay paying your fee with no sale no fee. Some online agents will allow you to delay paying your upfront fee – but you still have to pay it regardless of whether you sell your home or not. The small print will give you a deadline date for when the fee has to be paid.

Find an Online Estate Agent

Find and compare the best online estate agents with our easy to use comparison tool

Find online estate agents

What are estate agent fees in 2021?

If you are paying an online agent an upfront fee you can expect to pay between £0 and £999 and up to £1499 in London.

High street estate agents tend to offer no sale no fee where you pay them a percentage of the final sale price. This is usually 1.5% to 2%, but don’t be afraid to negotiate. We find you can often haggle this fee down to 1%.

Online estate agents who offer a no sale no fee package usually charge between £799 and £2,000.

So, if your home is worth £250,000 you might pay £2,500 (1.%) to a high street estate agent when your sale completes. In contrast, an online agent might charge you an upfront fee of £99 or a no sale no fee from £799.

Purplebricks “no sale, no fee”

One of the most popular online estate agents is Purplebricks. It regularly advertises that you can sell your home for as little as £999 (£1,499 if your property is in the London area). Just be aware that Purplebricks does not offer a no sale no fee payment option. So, you’ll have to pay £999 whether your home sells or not. You can opt to delay payment, but you must pay either when your property sells or after 10 months.

Read our guide  Should I use online estate agents and selling your property online to find out more.

Sell your house for free

Want to sell your home without paying any fees at all? It is possible. One online estate agent, Strike, offers a no fee service. You get a valuation, photos, floorplan, ads on Rightmove and Zoopla and help negotiating any offers for free.

Strike makes its money by charging for additional services. If you want them to host your viewings or upgrade your Rightmove ads it will cost you. They also earn money if you use their related services such as mortgage advice or removal help. For more details about Strike’s package, see our summary of online estate agent packages.

Should I use a “no sale, no fee” estate agency?

Most people use a local high-street estate agent, and so the decision of how they pay is made for them, as most high streets work on a no sale, no fee basis (ie a commission fee due once your sale completes, with nothing to pay if you don’t sell).

But some people opt for an online estate agent as they want to pay a lower, flat fee. This may work better if, for example, you have a valuable home as it can save you a lot of money. For example, if your home is worth £500,000, a high street estate agent may charge you £7,500 (1.5%) to sell your home. However, you could use an online estate agent and pay under £100.

You will also want to consider your own financial position. Can you afford to pay an upfront fee, or would you rather pay out of the proceeds of the sale? If it’s the latter, a high street agent may be the best option.

Finally, consider what your money will get you when choosing how you want to pay. At first glance an online agent can seem a great bargain. But are you getting everything you would expect for that price and what would you have to pay extra for? Are you happy conducting your own viewings or will you need to pay extra for the agent to do that?  For more advice on choosing an estate agent, see how to find the best estate agent and questions to ask your estate agent.

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