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Are our fees too low? British agents amongst cheapest in the world

New research suggests that British estate agents charge some of the lowest fees in the world.

Based on an apparent British average of 1.8 per cent commission, the agent from this country is below mid-table when compared with 27 other countries.

Only China, India, Singapore, Netherlands, Hong Kong and South Korea charge proportionately less - between 1.75 and 0.55 per cent.


The highest of the 28 countries reviewed by Rayner Personnel was South Africa, where agents charge no less than 7.5 per cent.

The United States, Australia and Mexico charge from six to five per cent.

“There’s an unfair perception in the UK that estate agents get paid a lot for very little, but when you compare the average commission fee to other nations around the world, it’s clear this simply isn’t the case” explains company owner Joshua Rayner. 

“That’s not to say estate agency can’t provide a fulfilling and lucrative career path for those that opt to work in the sector and those that put in the effort will be rewarded with great earning potential” he continues.

His analysis also looks at absolute payments based on the different average prices of properties - in other words, the typically high price of UK property means the actual money earned by UK agents is much higher than those in many other countries.

Rayner applied each nation's fee to the average cost of a 50 square metre city centre apartment to see how the monetary fee reset the running order.

Based on an apartment costing £219,542, the average UK commission would result in a fee of £3,952, bumping the UK from the 22nd most expensive percentage fee, to the 14th most expensive. 

However, the UK was still eclipsed by the earnings per property sale in Argentina, China, Italy, Germany, United States, New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Israel, France and Australia, where agents earn between £4,000 and nearly £13,000 a sale.

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    The earnings debate is always skewed, the American Realtor typically does two or less sales a month, so though the fee may be higher, they are not doing 8 to 10 of them a month. And % what does that mean? 1.5% of a two bed in Newcastle at £56,000 sale price is not the same as 1.5% of £650,000 for the same property type in London.

    Also, as a commission based agent, the actual commission on the commission varies, from pooled commission to 3% or 5% or 10% plus basic salary, to no salary and 60% to 80% of a franchise or umbrella model. Or even 5% for listing 5% for selling, in over 30 years I have seen all the models, and the reality is - for a while, when the team is great, the market is ok, not overheated like now, a sales person can make a great living, if they move up into management they make less but they are not so front line. In other times it is a living. If you want to be rich, own your own agency, but get ready to give up your life for three years to establish it.

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    • 26 August 2020 01:47 AM

    Sorry are you EA stupid or something!?

    Are you not aware that a private citizen may now list for FREE on RM; zoopla etc!?
    Perhaps you should check out the



    EA are no longer required.

    The only reason an EA might be of any use is perhaps their supposed ability to attain a better sale price for a vendor.
    But EA you are so last year since the advent of FREE listings on RM etc.

    I have listed for FREE at no cost to myself whatsoever.
    The only reason EA were required was because it was ONLY via EA that one could list on the major web portals.

    That has all changed 3 weeks ago since the free.co.uk offer launched.

    jeremy clarke

    Seriously?? Have you seen the cover page of their website? Just yells cheap cheap cheap and the flashing banner in the centre "everything must go!" Looks more like somewhere to sell tat rather than your greatest asset, but everyone to their own, it's about what you value.


    i can't believe that - Rightmove will soon be out of business if agents find they are letting mortgage brokers list properties for free - in fact i think Rightmove have removed an "agents' " properties recently for not being able to offer full agency services.
    These people don't even pretend to be an estate agent.

    Matthew Fine

    Did you get the 20 viewers they said they would bring you! Nothing is free is this world ! Whist I love to see your posts Paul with all the abbreviations you love to use, a wise man once said, sometimes it is better to be silent and thought of as an idiot than to actually open ones mouth!

  • Angelo  Piccirillo CEO AVRillo

    I was an agent and owned estate agencies. I am a conveyancer I co-own AVRillo conveyancing. I’ve seen the customers perspective from both ends. It would be total madness to buy and sell without the estate agent.

    We’ve done tens of thousands of completions, and yes, things are not always perfect, but they are good enough. The focus has to be on what we can do more, not less of. When I’ve personally bought and sold I’ve always used a right agent, not a purple bricks or no scent model. Don’t forget 37% of sales abort. The key to a successful move is improved communication between the chain, not less. Transacting without an estate agent would bring the chain to a virtual standstill so much so that we won’t even take a case on if there is no agent. It’s difficult enough to proactively get to exchange and completion with a lazy agent who can’t be bothered to get involved but imagine progressing without the help of an estate agent who can speak to both seller and buyer. Impossible.

    What about estate agents fees? When I buy and sell something of value, like property, I never go for the cheapest. Do you? And boy is there cheap agents out there. If you want the job done right, you need to pay the right money for it. Don’t underpay and expect the agent to be motivated or have the recourses to do the job fully. Ever heard of the saying “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”. Not quite, but you get what I mean.

  • Carl Smales

    You get what you pay for.

    You get paid what you think you are worth.

    It’s all about ‘Mindset!’

    Have a great day, unless you have other plans.

    Happy days!

    Algarve  Investor

    For some reason, I read that in the voice of David Brent.

    If that's what you were going for, nicely played. If not, apologies!

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    1.8% average I wish, where do these people get there information from

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    If you own a good estate agency today you can still earn shed loads of money by not ripping off the seller..........only the bad ones go bust !

  • James C

    If you took the time to see why agents in certain other countries have a higher commission rate perhaps you will be able to work out why fees in the UK are so low, or why the fees abroad seem so high. Firstly, as a UK agent you need very little product knowledge - yes, to be successful you need to know your stuff, but how many UK agents take the time to study your or even other areas' price per square metre/foot, or the number of sales taking place in the city/borough where you are based? A UK agent covers a tiny area compared to agents in other countries, for example in Spain or the US.
    In spain the average comm is 5%, but an agent here will cover an area of just under 120km in length, and in square km's it's around 1200km2. Yes, they wont be driving this entire area everyday, but a good agent will know pretty much every development in this area - how many UK agents can say this? How many UK agents collect their clients from an airport, take them to lunch, dinner, or assist with obtaining a position in a local school etc etc - the difference is that in the UK the buyer does all the ground work - the agent just has the listing and a key - and the client comes to you to simply view, and that's it. So an average of 1.8% comm sounds a little high to me.

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    I would like to know where in Australia agents are getting 5% + sales commission. In Sydney 1.5-2% is typical. Maybe 3 -3.5% in rural areas. However, we do recover the majority of advertising and marketing expenses from the vendors.

  • Richard Rawlings

    Having spent the past 20 years researching fee techniques and specialising in helping British estate agents increase their otherwise pathetic commission percentage, I do have some observations here! Firstly, I’m not sure that the percentages quoted for some of these countries is anywhere near correct. Having trained agents in both Australia and France, I can tell you that you’d struggle to find an agent charging as much as 5.7% in Australia – the average is usually 2%-3% (as professor Google will confirm). Likewise, you’d be very lucky to find an agent charging as little as 3.9% in France – where up to 10% is the norm (possibly the poorest value in the world – they are always at lunch!)

    However, that aside, the issue is not how much relative fees are in monetary terms, but the value an estate agents brings to the sale. In South Africa, where I consistently charged 7% for several years, once the sale is agreed, the agents’ fees are due, as they are in the USA (6%). No linked transactions, no liaising with solicitors or surveyors, not gazumping/gazundering, etc. Arguably poor value compared with the hassles we have to deal with in the UK to hold a sale together. We do an incredible amount here, but most importantly, it’s our ability to negotiate a better deal than the seller could have done themselves, as well as all the onward sales progression that easily justifies a higher fee. If we can’t secure 5%-10% more than the seller then we are not worth our fee, which frankly should be at least 2% as it is for many of those agents who have attended my fee-raising seminars over the years. And by the way, now is the perfect time to increase yours too! Have a great day!


    I used to be an agents but am no longer. There is no way any agent would ever get more for a house than I could myself in terms of price. I know what my house is worth and if I get a lower offer I will just reject it. Same as I have done when selling a car. I have looked at the guides, put it out there. If I get a lower figure than reasonable I say no and wait for a buyer who is prepared to pay the realistic figure.

    Negotiating a price is not rocket science I did that for many years. The value in an agents is matching motivated buyers to a property. There is no evidence to confirm that one agent gets a higher figure than any other.

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    One inevitability of the post-COVID market is that fees will have to go up and probably quite dramatically. With people moving much less now than before (av. 18 years according to Zoopla), an over-supply of agents (compare the figure to 10 years ago) and an under-supply of listings (all of which will be much harder work to get to completion), the low fee / over-valuing tactics now used by too many agents to secure instructions will guarantee you going out of business.


    That is not inevitable it is a wish. It will not happen.

    A vendor is not remotely interested in the estate agents problems.

    For years agents have competed on price to get instructions. Many vendors are themselves going to be in very straitened circumstances. Many will choose an agent on price.

    With people moving less there will be less instructions which will ensure agents do not increase fees.

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    • 01 September 2020 14:14 PM

    And of course with free listing on RM etc vendors won't even need or require an EA.
    It is all about the listing.
    Nothing else is required.
    Set the price right and they will come.
    No EA required.
    The big problem previously was only EA could list but not now.
    Clearly ways have been found to list on the major web portals without being an EA.

    Can't believe that has happened and if I was an EA I would not be happy!


    I agree 100%. Most people have a good idea what their house is worth.
    If they do not they can get a load of free valuations and put it in a web site.
    If a house is on at the right price it will get interest and sell. Selling a house is not rocket science.


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