How the Cheapest Estate Agent is not Always the Best Value

The Costs Involved in Moving House

So I think we all know that moving house is a mighty expensive business. Expensive and stressful so hopefully you and I don’t have to move too many times in our lifetimes. We have bought twice and sold twice and each time has had its stresses and strains and has cost far too much money!!

The last time we moved house was 6 years ago, moving date was when I was 36 weeks pregnant!! I don’t really recommend that, although it meant I didn’t have to do much moving of boxes and heavy work! We bought a 3-bedroom semi-detached house in the same village as our previous 2-bedroom house. We purposely bought a house that could be extended so we didn’t have to go through the stress of moving again. But the cost of moving really annoyed me especially when you are selling and buying at the same time. And the worst cost of all is that evil stamp duty….

Moving costs example

An example of moving costs is something like this, I have used moving from a £250k house to a £300k house as an example.26-4-16 house for sale

  • Stamp duty of new house, new house is £300k, stamp duty is a complicated beast, and rather than me boring you with the rules..use this handy Calculator  = £5,000!
  • Solicitor Fees are normally around £1000 to £1500
  • Survey costs are around £500 to £700
  • Valuation Fee & Mortgage Fees. Maybe £500-£700
  • Moving Costs Using a removal firm is going to set you back £500ish
  • And estate agent’s fees on the house you are selling at say £250k at 1%+ VAT = £3000
  • So that is an incredible total cost of £11,400.

There are a few bits where you can save money. Firstly the removal costs, i.e. do it yourself, maybe hire a van for £100. I have done it..its stressful and hardwork…I think its possibly only worth it when you don’t have much stuff. If we were to move now from a house containing 5 people with tons of stuff I might just hire a removal firm. You can choose a mortgage with £0 fees. I know the last mortgage we got from First Direct has no upfront fees. Or you can get it added onto the mortgage. The next part you can save money is the estate agents fees.

Estate Agents Fees

So there are tons of high street estate agents. So how do you choose one? You could go by hearsay or reputation or you could try a more impartial tool I have discovered called Getagent.

Getagent compare local estate agents to find the best estate agent for you. You can compare agents based on agent quote, number of properties listed within the last 6 months (experience), average sale time & average asking price achieved %. It is an amalgamation of these statistics which shows you the true value of an agent – not just the cost!

For example, the lowest price agents may not have the highest average price achieved %, meaning they may over value your property to get you to instruct them, before lowering the cost.

An Estate Agent with a higher fee, may charge you more to sell your property, but if they have a better asking price achieved %, they will be able to correctly value your property, possibly making you more money. It is important to understand the valuations from a range of Estate Agents.

Here is a picture of my quote so you can see all of the above in action. I like the asking price achieved column as a small difference here can mean a large amount of money lost or made.

26-4-16 get agent infograph

Final Fee

The final fee quoted can also be negotiated down, I have spoken to friends who have paid considerably less than 1%. If it’s a one-man band firm they are possibly more likely to lower the fee, or maybe offer it with VAT payable? Always ask as you might be surprised what you get.

There are several situations where employing a traditional agent will benefit you and take some stress out of house buying and selling. If your property is a bit quirky, or a bit dated or location is not the most desirable then an estate agent can really help to market it in creative ways. If you need a quick sale and want all the hard work to be done for you then an estate agent is perfect. Just make sure you negotiate that fee and pay as little as you can;-)

This post is collaborative


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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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4 Responses

  1. Stamp duty on £300000 is only £5000 as long as you sell your original property. 0% on anything up to £125000, 2% on the portion between £125000 to £249000 and 5% just on the bit over £250000. Extra 3% on the lot if you end up owning both.

  2. Now, there have been significant changes in the real estate market. Just recently, I read an interesting article about sunny isles rentals here. The pandemic has had a significant impact on all areas of our lives

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