There is no one size fits all answer to that, it depends on what you want from the service. Estate Agencies nowadays fall into two basic camps: Traditional or Online, here are the headlines of the most common differences:
The type we all know. Experienced guys and girls in their High Street offices attracting local footfall. Their windows are usually adorned with glossy images of their latest properties, and inside you usually find experienced staff with specific local knowledge. Traditional High Street agencies can be further subdivided into Corporates and Independents, the former being part of national chains answering to shareholders, the latter being owned by the man or lady sat behind a desk in front of you. Fees seem to range from 1% to 2.5% plus VAT, with national averages tending to be around 1.5% plus vat.
A sector of the market which didn’t really exist a few short years ago, but now feature on our radios and TVs on a near daily basis. The range of services varies from company to company, some will undertake viewings (usually at extra cost), some won’t; some will negotiate offers and deal with solicitors, some won’t. Fees seem to range from £500 to £1500. What is common to most is they charge you regardless of whether they sell your house or not…
So which is best for you?
That depends on your tolerance for risk and the amount of involvement you want to have. If you are happy to gamble on the lower fee, to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself, you could save yourself some significant money with an online agency, especially on higher priced properties. If you would rather entrust the whole process to an experienced local agent with an office you can walk into when you have questions, a Traditional High Street agency is best for you.
Who will actually sell my home?
And then there is the much debated question of motivation. Traditional agents only get paid if they sell, and are motivated to achieve the highest price as their fee is percentage based. Is an Online agent as motivated to achieve the maximum price for you if they get paid whether they sell or not…?
I know I said there were two options, but emerging is a hybrid third option. Companies such as Lancasters offer both Traditional and Online options, but with a difference; if their Online clients want to change to their Traditional service, any Online fees paid will be offset against their Traditional fees – a safety net removing the risk. Win win…