First and foremost I work for Hamptons so of course I’m going to extol the virtues of traditional agency over online agents. I’m also going to defend paying fair fees. Note the use of the word ‘fair’ rather than ‘higher’!!
As with many things in life, clients want cheaper fees and agents have cut their rates to such a point that it’s a miracle some are still in business, especially given the spiralling cost of rent and rates. Contrary to popular belief, most good agents actually do rather a lot for the money – finding a buyer is the easier bit, it’s the sales progression that takes up 90% of our time. The vast majority of our days are spent dealing with solicitors, surveyors, lenders and buyers, and this is time consuming and tricky, never more so than when a deal goes a bit wobbly. Experienced agents prevent fall throughs (about 30% of sales fall through between agreeing the sale and exchange of contracts) but they cost money at a time when salaries in the industry are the lowest I’ve known.
To answer your question directly, you are likely to be quoted a range between 1% and 1.5%, which when compared to the rest of London (let alone the world) is pretty reasonable. The difference between one agent at 1% and another at 1.5% however is harder to quantify. Yes, all agents will advertise the property on Rightmove or Zoopla, however it’s not as simple as that. About 85% of our initial enquiries come through the internet, however less than 5% of those buyers go on to buy the property they first enquired about. When instructing an agent you are effectively gaining access to their ‘pool’ of buyers so it’s not rocket science to figure out that the bigger the agent, the bigger the ‘pool’.
Smaller, independent agents will of course bring you buyers who search under ‘SW11’, but what about those who are looking in SW4 or SW6 but would be perfectly happy living between the commons – those agents simply cannot find those buyers. In a more tricky market you really do need to spread the net as far and wide as possible and the reality is that to spread this net you need the funds to do so – thus the slightly higher fees of the bigger agents. There’s also other benefits of a bigger company approach – training, International buyers, customer service and an unprecedented three years in a row of Sunday Times Gold awards. Those don’t just happen by accident. #blowonesowntrumpet...!!!!!
Online agents get a bit of press but honestly, do you really want to entrust the sale of your biggest asset to the bucket shop online agent that sticks it on the internet and then lets you do the rest? High street agents are trained, on commission (to get you the highest price) and have the vast majority of the buyers. If we can’t get you more for your house than a faceless online agent taking a fixed fee and leaving you to do all the hard work then frankly I’ll eat my hat.
When it comes to fees I always think of what Red Adair once said: “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur”.
Sorry for the long post but this is one subject which I think is worth spending a bit of time talking about and explaining.
Have a great weekend,
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