Online agency and DIY sales platform Settled claims on its website that traditional agents charge commission of up to 3.5% + VAT - equivalent to around 4.2 per cent of the sale price - even though it admits this figure is wrong.
Estate Agent Today approached Settled about a claim on its website saying: “Typically high street estate agents can charge anything from 0.75% to 3.5% of your home’s sales price in fees, not forgetting the additional 20% for VAT”.
Settled (which also says on its home page that “estate agent fees are bigger than a Texan's waistband and we don't think that's fair”) has extensively publicised the page with the 3.5% + VAT claim. Earlier this week it tweeted property professionals - including the corporate Twitter account of Estate Agent Today and the personal account of EAT’s editor, Graham Norwood - urging them to read the piece.
However, when EAT approached Settled asking the agency to substantiate the claim of 3.5% + VAT, by naming any high street agent that actually charged that much, the firm backtracked.
Gemma Young, the founder of Settled, told EAT: “Thanks so much for flagging this. Clearly it's a mistake that's slipped through into this blog post - we hope there are no agents charging this much! We'll make sure this is changed. We're a start up and are trying to release lots of helpful content but clearly we missed this error.”
Settled later got in touch to say the story on its website had been written by an intern. As of early this morning the 3.5% + VAT claim was still on the site, despite the firm saying it was wrong and would be changed.
Settled claims this information came originally from the HomeOwners’ Alliance.
However when EAT approached the HOA it was told while the alliance knew of several high end agents charging 3.0% + VAT for multiple agency agreements, it did not know of any charging 3.5% + VAT.
Settled is a DIY sales website where vendors can present their home “in front of thousands of buyers instantly without charging you a penny” according to its website. However, to have those homes listed on Rightmove and Zoopla the vendor must pay £199 at which point Settled says it will “throw in” professional photography and a floorplan. An EPC and For Sale board also incur additional charges.
On Settled’s own pricing page, it makes no reference to VAT.