If one feels compelled to ring any of my fellow agents in Cwmbran, to ask them what they would charge for selling your house, you will receive an answer comprising some-if not all-of the following statements:
…where do you live?..we need to come out to the property before we can answer that…we do not discuss the fee over the phone (my personal favourite; what is the answer if you counter with ‘Why?’).
Why such a protracted answer? Well speaking as an ex-smoker (read corporate estate agent), I can say with some authority that head office will be cracking that target whip like Zorro on speed. Of course, every agent-be they part of a corporate behemoth or as a standalone sole office agency-wants to make as much money as possible. We all want to meet the potential vendor to give our presentation/cabaret act and to try and elicit what any other agent has said that they will charge so that we can price accordingly. What differs in respect of the corporate beast is that they may well have a minimum fee imposed upon them by head office; which may be wholly acceptable in certain demographics of the country but are pushing it (to put it mildly) in the NP44 postcode. The way round this? Overvalue your property by 20%, so that you will definitely go with them, tie you into a 6 month contract and then 5 months down the line as you put the Samaritans in your ‘Favourites’ part of your contacts book, they rock in with the ‘advice’ that if you want to sell your house you need to drop the price by, let me think, say 20%. The reluctance to quote a fee prior to gracing you with their presence can also fall into the ‘hedge your bets’ school of thought. If an agent doesn’t want the property, quoting a TTP fee (think about it), is a win-win situation. Too big a fee may cause the vendor to run for the hills-or at least another agent-or if they should accept the agent in the role of Dick Turpin, then if the house should be sold, then the fee earned makes the vendor go straight to the top of the agent’s Christmas card list.
At Cheshire and Co we charge 1% plus VAT. That’s it, no gimmicks,(prize draws spring to mind), no negotiation. We will happily disclose what we charge when speaking with any home owner as the fee is wholly transparent. Of course we need to come out to the property prior to being instructed because it may be that we decide that it is not for us and neither party, agent or vendor, is going to enjoy the relationship. If an agent starts offering a free haircut/prize draw entry/kitten/small child in an attempt to buy a home owner’s business, then dear home owner, walk away, or do not be surprised or aggrieved when the wheels fall off spectacularly some way down the line. Similarly, if a vendor only wants to pay a £500 fee for the successful sale of a £350,000 house, then they probably get the agent that they deserve.