A WORD IN YOUR EAR ABOUT FIXED FEE ESTATE AGENTS
WE OFFER A FULL, NO QUIBBLE MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE. SO WHERE’S THE RISK NOW?
Before the internet age, it used to be that, if you appointed a trusted estate agent to help with the sale of your property, then it was almost a given that you would settle their fee once your home sold.
It was taken on trust that they would provide all the necessary services – the marketing, the communication with the other parties involved and the negotiation with potential buyers – and you would in turn pay a percentage of the eventual sale price in commission.
Naturally, it was in the agent’s interests as much as the sellers’ to get the best possible price; a few extra thousand on the selling price would mean that little bit more in commission.
But, today, there’s a new breed of estate agent offering services for a fixed fee agreed up-front – and, often, that fee is considerably less than the commission high street agents charged in the past. A 3% commission back in the early ‘90s before things were done online, for example, could net an estate agent a fee of a few thousand pounds per property. These days, there are fixed-fee online estate agents offering their services for a few hundred pounds.
Naturally, their arrival hasn’t been universally welcomed by the traditional estate agents. You’ll hear many claim that these so-called fixed-price estate agents don’t have the depth of knowledge when it comes to the property market and a fixed fee paid up-front shifts all the risk onto the seller.
But the reality is a little different. Many fixed-price estate agents – ourselves included – do offer pay-on-completion terms too; indeed, with our own up-front package, we offer a full, no-quibble money-back guarantee after 30 days should you not be happy with the services we provide. So where’s the risk now …?
So how do we manage to offer great customer service and results for a much lower price? The answer is simple. New communications technology means the process of selling a home is no longer as cumbersome or expensive.
Smart phones and email mean we don’t have to wait until we get back to the office to make calls or send letters. All those brochures and press adverts don’t need to be compiled by hand when marketing can also be done via the online portals which we can all see on our laptops and phones whenever we like. We don’t need to pay high street rents for our offices anymore and we don’t even need a fleet of branded cars to get about.
In other words, the average estate agent’s overheads have shrunk considerably – but, for some, the fees haven’t. Some want to cling to the old-fashioned business model because it’s what they’ve always done; put simply, change is scary and many are unwilling to embrace it.
Of course, there will always be folk uncomfortable with the concept of completing such a large transaction as selling their home on the internet – or at least there will be for the foreseeable future. There will be people who want to see the whites of their agent’s eyes, which is perfectly understandable.
But, in a modern, fast-moving world, there are others who are going to put speed and convenience above face-to-face negotiations and that’s where we – and others like us – fit in.
It may still feel a little new and a little daring for those more used to the simple days of no sale no fee estate agents but we suspect that will fade in time. Just like Ebay, Amazon, Google, Facebook and all the other internet industries, we’re here to stay. We genuinely believe in offering sellers a genuine choice when it comes to estate agency service and have every intention of ensuring they continue to have one.