A traditional estate agent has taken a leaf from the book of online rivals by scrapping old-style percentage commission and instead charging a flat fee for all sales.
“Why should you pay more to sell your home because it is worth more?” asks Michael Dyble, managing director of Dybles, a single-office Winchester agency that has been running on a commission-based system for almost three years.
The agency will stick with its traditional no sale, no fee principle.
“We simply charge one fee of £2,750 + VAT (£3,300) no matter the value of your property. After all, everyone gets the same service whether their house is worth £200,000 or £2m so why does everyone pay a different fee” explains Dyble.
“I’m trying something here where I can get people in the mind-set that estate agents can have a ‘high street’ office, employ the correct staff, offer the best service but without having to charge unfair and unequal fees that get charged at the moment. I am trying to revolutionise estate agency” he says.
Dyble told Estate Agent Today that he had always intended to move to a flat fee system when he established his company, but he felt that the market and the customers had not been ready until now.
Under the old commission structure, and in a relatively high value local market such as Winchester, his firm typically generated £4,000 to £5,000 plus VAT per transaction.
“But as I’ve seen more Purplebricks and other online agency boards go up, and from talking to customers, it seems a no-brainer. The customers I speak with say that they want the traditional services of an estate agent but they cannot see the need for high fees.”
Dyble says he will not stint on the same scale of services as he offered before, nor is he considering operating as an online agent.
But he insists that “there’s so much profit in estate agency” that he feels flat and lower fees could generate more business than he enjoyed before.
The Dybles agency started the new fee structure at the end of last week so cannot yet say how it is performing - but Michael Dyble has promised to keep EAT informed.
His firm’s website and more details of the scheme are here.