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Sellers 'snubbing' upfront agency fees

Homeowners may have become less willing to pay upfront fees to sell their home.

Despite efforts by online-only brands such as Purplebricks and Doorsteps to change how people pay for estate agency, research suggests sellers prefer the traditional model.

Consumer advice website Property Road surveyed more than 2,700 would-be sellers who were interested in listing with an online estate agent.


As many as 60% of people already considering using an online estate agent said they would prefer to pay their agency fees on completion of sale. 

Only 17% opted for paying upfront, according to the research.

When given a choice between five different factors that can help distinguish between estate agents, 47% felt that the ability to achieve asking price was the most important trait they valued.

A quarter wanted an agent who could sell quickly, while 12% valued good customer service.

Just 9% were concerned about low prices.

When asked about hosting their own viewings, some 44% of respondents were happy to dos so.

A further 26% were happy to conduct some viewings but would still want an estate agent to do some too, while 28% did not want to conduct any viewings themselves.

Paul James, founder of Property Road, said “We’ve seen the market share of online estate agents stagnate and even drop slightly over the past few years and these results may explain, at least partially, why that might be. 

“The largest brands have poured a lot of money into promoting their lower upfront fee model versus the more expensive, yet less risky, traditional fee model of payment upon completion of sale. 

“While we have seen many of the big players begin to offer a choice between upfront fees or payment on completion, there are still some that seem reluctant to change their approach.

“If only 17% of people already considering using online estate agents prefer the cost savings of paying upfront, it shows the uphill battle online agents still face in convincing vendors to stump up fees before their property has sold.”


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