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Exclusive: Estate agents’ fees are least important issue for sellers

A league table of the most important issues facing vendors places the scale of estate agents’ charges at the bottom - and this may explain why online firms have found it hard to gain traction in the marketplace.

Comparison service GetAgent has polled over 1,000 home owners to ask them what the key issues are.  

Most vital for those selling a home was to achieve a sale price as close as possible to the asking price, the number one consideration for 37 per cent of respondents. The other top factors were:

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- that the sale price is close to the asking price: 37%

- that the sale goes through smoothly: 30%

- a quick sale: 30%

- regular updates on progress: 8%

- the expertise and experience of the agent: 8%

- paying a low fee to the agent: 7%

“We know it’s common practice for many agents to overvalue in order to win business, but this research suggests it could be detrimental to their chances of winning business in the long term should they fail to deliver” explains GetAgent founder and chief executive Colby Short.

“It’s also interesting to see that paying a low fee is of little importance to those looking to sell and this has no doubt come about due to many online agents failing to deliver on the service side of their proposition” he continues. 

The survey of 1,059 UK homeowners was conducted last Thursday by consumer research platform Find Out Now.

  • Chris Arnold

    If achieving nearest to the asking price is fundamental to an instruction, why not offer sellers a sliding scale fee? If that became common practice it would reduce many of the problems associated with deliberate over-valuation.

  • Trevor Cooper

    Rubbish! The first question sellers ask is about fees.

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    • N W
    • 11 May 2021 08:19 AM

    In truth they tend to ask what price you are going to sell their home for first (if you are able to get more they may pay a slightly higher fee) and the second question is fees.

    certainly the view that fees are unimportant and only 7% is an absolute joke and always has been and sellers rarely answer these questionnaires honestly on this point. We survey all of our clients (at last count about 12,000 survey forms returned) and fees is rarely mentioned when they complete the survey...... but on the ground at the front line we know that its one of the very first two questions. How do I know, I get to see the results of every single survey and have done for over a decade and I'm also a front line valuer and can see the dis connection on fees v the reality when valuing)

     
  • Mark Walmsley

    Great point from Chris Arnold. Estate agency is pretty intangible with decisions made on promises, pitches and pricing.

    If getting the price right is the predominant “need”, until instructed and launched the reality is the client doesn’t know if they’ve made the right decision or not.

    Possibly why such a massive percentage win on the second listing eh?

  • Graham Davidson

    This does nothing to determine what sellers deem to be a normal fee or a low fee. If the majority of sellers now consider 1% to be a fair and reasonable fee, they are in fact saying that low fees are not important, we are happy to pay 1% for the right agent!!!

  • Dharmesh Mistry

    What would be interesting is how many customers understand HOW TO CHOOSE an agent. There are sites like swirb dot com which give free valuations AND tell you which agent sells fastest, which gets closest to asking price, what type of property an agent sells mostly..... Choosing an agent is much more than just about fee's

  • Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    Speed is clearly important here and there is a massive demand for client to do more to help themselves. There is a massive appetite for vendors to gather more information up front and all agents need to do it point them in the right direction. We are asked for support every day as agents still lack some understanding of what they can do to help out.
    If a vision of speed is delivered at the point of valuation, not only will your agency be differentiated from the rest, but fees will literally be the last point of discussion.

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  • adrian black

    Sellers choose agents that they know, trust and like and who have the capability and a reputation for keeping them updated throughout the sale and delivering sales. And even better have been referred by a contact, associate or friend.

  • Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    You know Jan Buyers, there are plenty of people in the industry walking around with their fingers in their ears and eyes shut and it isn't helped by people like you. All you see is searches when you read my comments, but we do so much more than that to help agents deliver a superior service for clients.
    Our customers are forever telling us that they were disappointed that their agent could not offer the support that we do to help speed up transaction.
    Don't take my word for it, take a look at our client reviews for an honest insight.
    If you don't believe that vendors being better prepared by collating documentation to support completed protocol forms does not help speed up their sale, I'd like a full explanation from you please.
    Better still, lets have a recorded Zoom meeting to discuss the facts at play in the market and let others decide. See my website for contact details and we can have a proper discussion about things.
    There are very few companies or individuals really trying to drive change for the better. My drum skin wears out weekly but will be replaced until such time as it is not required any more. I am sorry if it is boring you.
    You may feel in total control in your safe New Build Bubble but we deal with clients Nationally and Internationally, many of which have come to us out of absolute frustration with their Estate Agent. We now have international investors who look for our support to help them prepare for sale because they have seen the benefits first hand.

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    FEES - That accounts for 75% easily even with the high end homes. Sub 500k and its 99% highest price, lowest fee combo.

  • Where Is The  Monii Money

    There is a hint of "Social Media For Dummies" where there's bound to be a chapter on producing an industry-specific survey for industry-specific publications along with a CEO quote and a data anomaly to spark a bit of discussion!

    In a slightly more series tone, the answers and responses are only as good as the questions being asked. We shouldn't be surprised that sellers want to achieve as close as they can to their asking price, and as an act of reciprocity, the acceptance of the fee runs in parallel to this expectation. A better question would be to ask if the seller put the property on the market at the price recommended by the agent? And if not, why not?

    Achieving a fuss-free easy sale, again, shouldn't be a big surprise but again, this depended on the question. I can't imagine that anybody wants a chaotic sale, thwart with stress and drama which then drags on forever. A potential interpretation of what 70% of people want.

    Only 8% of people wanting regular updates is interesting. I don't know many sellers who don't want to know what a potential buyer thought, or what's happening with an offer, how is the sale progressing or occasionally, what data is coming back from the portals? I'm struggling to accept that 92% of sellers don't want to know what's happening with their property.

    It' always difficult to be objective as personal bias will influence the interpretation of the data, but I think there are flaws in either who was asked, how they were asked and/or what they were asked.

  • Iain Harrison

    Most sellers want low fees but more importantly as the survey reveals they want as much money for their property, as stress free and quick as possible - generally people don't move house for fun, it's for genuine reasons and with a timescale attached (school applications, jobs, baby on the way etc) so they'll choose an agent they feel can deliver that but also will want to screw us on the fee, lol

  • Matthew Gardiner Legge

    I don't think that just because the fee is one of the first questions asked necessarily means that clients are looking for the lowest number. They simply want to know 'how much'. That there are many agents out there charging high (say, 2% sole agency) and getting it goes some way to proving the point.

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    Why do people cheer when house prices keep going up? Currently there is a carnival mood because prices have shot up. Very soon, there will be nothing less than £500k anywhere in the UK, including County Durham. Housing market is not the saviour of the UK economy. These price increases are not natural and can be a sign of bad things ahead

  • Samantha Sullivan

    On get agent I achieve 98% of sales price with a best valuer tag, I have the lowest number of weeks on market with most experienced tag and lowest sale to completion time. Guess what though, I still lose business to big corporate brands with higher fees because they've seduced the seller into a 20k over valuation, willing to hike the listing price to win their business. Some things will never change.

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