Whether lettings or sales there is the eternal conundrum: How much should you pay? Well, as always, there are really three choices open to you:
Cheapest fees around? Just like buying any product or service, at the end of the day you do get what you pay for. If choosing your agent is driven solely by securing the cheapest fees possible don’t be surprised or disappointed if the agents’ performance is poor. You wouldn’t expect a Ford Fiesta to compete with a Porsche- why should Estate Agency be any different? To have quality trained/experienced staff and good marketing takes money and this is reflected in the fees a company will charge. Expect to pay around 5% for a let, 8% let & Manage and 1% for a sale.
Middle of the market? Established, independent Estate Agencies will usually fall in to this category. Here you are typically getting a company with a proven track record and good knowledge base. Staff are typically more loyal and longer serving in this area of the market and therefore service is typically of a higher standard and more personal. You should get a strong marketing presence (predominantly internet based)- a popular choice with most clients. Expect to pay 7-10% for a let, 12-15% let & management and 1.5-2.5% for a sale.
Peak market? Going for the large and corporate brands carries good and bad factors. On the upside, their marketing presence will usually be quite phenomenal with a strong internet presence backed up by a large regional/national multi-publication print campaign. This is also backed up by numerous flash offices and hundreds of branded cars zipping around. On the downside, fees are at the highest level. As larger companies, the service is usually far less personal than the previous two categories and staff turnover is typically very high. Don’t forget that you are also one of thousands being marketed so, whilst their marketing LOOKS impressive, how well will your property stand out? Expect to pay 10-13% for a let, 17-20% let & manage and 2-3.5% for a sale.
As with most things in life, you often get best value in the middle of the market where quality and price balance out. When choosing agents always shop around and trust your gut- a good agent should be someone you can see yourself dealing with 10+ years down the line.
Kristjan Byfield at Base Property