Estate agents' fees
You will have to pay commission and fees if you are selling your home through an estate agent. You don't usually have to pay anything until the sale is completed. Different agents offer different packages so it is usually worth getting a few quotes to find the best one for you.
Enquire about costs before you decide on an estate agency. Many estate agents provide free valuations.
People selling their homes normally have to give a percentage of the sale price (often between one and three per cent) to the estate agent as commission. The amount that you will have to pay will depend on the particulars of your contract. Find out which services are included, and if you have to pay any fees on top of the commission.
It is usually worth shopping around and getting quotes from a few different estate agents before you agree to sell through a particular agent. Ask how much they charge for each type of contract.
When you employ an estate agent, you enter a legal contract. If there's anything you don't understand, ask the agent to explain it or get advice from a solicitor. Check how long the contract is for and if you have the right to cancel. Keep a copy of the contract and make a note of any verbal agreements you make with the agent.
There are different types of contracts available, which usually affect how much you have to pay. The type of agreement you have should be clearly explained to you.
Some agents may not give you a written contract, but you should ask for written confirmation of how much commission you have to pay and when you have to pay it before you agree to anything.
Check your agreement carefully to see what happens if you are dissatisifed with the service provided or the agent fails to sell your house. You pay have to pay to get out of the contract.
Getting out of the contract
If you want to switch to a new estate agent, check what your existing contract says first. Check how long the contract lasts, if you have the right to cancel it early and if the agent is entitled to a fee even if the property is sold through another agent.
You will probably have to pay for any expenses the agent has already incurred. Depending on the type of contract you have, you also may have to:
- pay a penalty for moving to another agent;
- pay the agreed commission even if your home is sold by a different agent.
If you want to take your home off the market, you don't normally have to pay any penalties or commission, but you will probably have to pay for any expenses the agent has incurred.
Fees for expenses
You may be charged separately for the agent's expenses, or these will be included in the commission. Ask which services are included and check if you have to pay anything extra for:
- valuing the property;
- producing the property brochure;
- advertising the property;
- arranging viewings;
- negotiating offers;
If these are not included in the commission, your contract with the agent should make clear if the amount you will pay is fixed or variable. If it's not a fixed amount, the contract should give details of how fees will be calculated and an estimate of how much these might be.
The estate agent's bill should include a detailed breakdown that ties in with what was written in your contract. You may not have to pay the extra costs if your bill wasn't calculated in the way that was agreed in your contract. You may need help from a solicitor if the estate agent insists that you must pay.
If you (or your solicitor) have already paid the bill, you can ask for a refund. If the agency refuses to give you any money back, you can make a complaint to:
You may be able to take action against the estate agent or get your bill reduced. You could also consider taking the estate agent to court but you will probably need help from a solicitor.
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