When you’re selling a home, an estate agent can help you get the best result possible.
They take a whole load of stress off your hands compared to a DIY sale. They’ll help you price and market your home, organise viewings and communicate with interested buyers.
And their expertise can go a long way in getting you a better sale price.
So what should you expect to pay for an estate agent? What do their fees include? Here’s our guide to estate agent fees.
How much are estate agent fees in 2023?
Every estate agent is unique and their fees will vary depending on your location and the type of service you choose.
Most will charge you a percentage of the sale price of your home, which you pay once you’ve sold.
A good ballpark figure for a sole agency contract, which is when just one estate agency markets your home, is between 1% and 2% of your sale price.
But it’s not unusual to pay up to 3.5%, especially if you want a service with all the bells and whistles.
With a multi-agency contract, you can use as many agencies as you like and you only pay commission to the one who sells your home. The average fee for a multi-agency contract is around 3%.
While it can be tempting to opt for the lowest fee, it isn’t always the best idea.
There’s usually a reason for a low fee, and it might mean less time spent on marketing your home or communicating with buyers.
A more expensive agent might be more familiar with the market you want to sell to or have a good pool of potential buyers on their books.
Do your research, compare the options and speak to several estate agents. It’s all about weighing up the cost against what’s included.
Do estate agency fees include VAT?
Value Added Tax (VAT) may be included in the fee price quoted by your estate agent - but it's always a good idea to check up front.
If VAT isn’t included in the price, you’ll need to allow a further 20% on top of the estate agent's quote.
This can seem like a lot of extra money if it’s unexpected, so be sure to ask.
Do any estate agents offer fixed-fee alternatives?
Some estate agents offer a flat rate fee instead of a percentage fee.
These rates are sometimes offered by online estate agents with digital-only presences.
A fixed rate might seem like a good way to save money, but make sure you know exactly what’s on offer before you sign up.
What do estate agency fees cover?
Good question. The truth is, it varies depending on what you’d like to wrap into the cost.
Some estate agents offer a choice of set marketing packages, while others might allow you to mix-and-match.
So when you’re discussing fees with an estate agent, get into the details of what their fee will cover.
Here are the things to ask your estate agent to make sure you get everything you want included in the fee.
Will you value my home for free?
All the estate agents on Zoopla offer a free valuation of your home. There's no obligation to sell your home afterwards or to use that particular estate agent.
Setting a value for your home is where the expertise of an estate agent first comes into play.
Estate agents will consider the location and characteristics of your home as well as market conditions and recent sales data.
We always recommend getting at least two or three agents to value your home. They might have slightly different opinions so this will help you land on the most accurate price.
Does the fee cover photography, floor plans and a written description?
Photography, floor plans and even video tours can make all the difference in attracting buyers.
Some estate agents will bundle these costs into the fee, while others might charge for them upfront.
And you’ll want an accurate and enticing description of your home, so find out if this is included and what features they’ll emphasise.
Does the fee include offline property marketing?
Offline marketing includes things like a ‘For sale’ sign outside your house, features in brochures and door-drop leaflets about your home.
They’re great ways to get more interest from local buyers.
What online property marketing is included in the estate agent fee?
Ask what technology your agent has in place and what digital platforms they use, so that your home can get the best possible exposure.
Check if it will feature on the agent’s website and major property portals like Zoopla.
Some estate agents also send emails to their database or feature your home on social media, so see if this is covered in the fee.
Does it cover a new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
It’s a legal requirement to have an up-to-date EPC when you're selling your home.
An estate agent might be able to arrange this for you, but it’s worth checking if it’ll come at an extra cost. You might have to pay for it upfront.
Will you organise viewings of my home and communicate with potential buyers?
An estate agent can take all the hassle of dealing with buyers off your hands.
They can organise viewings and even be the ones to host them.
Will you negotiate with buyers and progress the sale?
Estate agents are experts in negotiating with buyers and getting you a result, so ask if they’ve got a plan for this.
It’s also a good idea to find out how they’ll help with the legal side of things once you’ve accepted an offer.
That’s when things can get complicated, so an experienced agent can help it run smoothly.
What happens if the sale falls through?
Find out what happens if the sale falls through, and whether you’d need to pay anything to re-list your home.
How will you achieve the best price for my home?
Want someone who will go above and beyond?
Make sure you ask about other ideas to make your home stand out in your market.
There are different selling strategies estate agents can use, depending on your priorities.
For example, they might be more conservative or aggressive with their pricing based on your preferences or current market conditions.
How will you make my sale smooth and stress-free?
Selling your home can be stressful, and it can really pay to have a calm and knowledgeable head on your side.
Ask the agent how they plan to take the pressure off you during the process.
Can more than one estate agent list my home for sale?
Yes. There are three routes to selling your home with an estate agency; sole agency, joint agency and multi-agency.
Sole agency is where you choose one estate agent to market your home. They're likely to charge you around 1% to 2% in commission, but it can be higher.
Joint agency is where you have two estate agents market your home. This usually costs upwards of 2% of your sale price, with each agent taking half.
Multi-agency is where you can instruct as many agents as you like to sell your home. They will all market it at the same time but you only pay the one who finds the right buyer.
With a multi-agency arrangement, the fee will be closer to 3% or 3.5%.
There are pros and cons to each of these options. More agents can mean more interest and higher offers, and it could be a good strategy for a quicker sale.
Can I negotiate with an estate agent about their fees?
We all want to save money where we can. And yes, you can negotiate with an estate agent like you would for any other service.
But keep in mind that there’s usually a reason behind the fee they charge, so ask for their rationale.
They might explain that they’ve had great results recently with similar properties, or they could have a huge database of buyers. They might have years of experience in your local area.
Overall, it’s about weighing up whether you think the cost is worth it, and which estate agent is most likely to get the result you want.
Compare quotes with other agents in the area and see who you think strikes the right balance.
If you do want to negotiate, you could offer a percentage bonus if the agent manages to sell your home above a certain price.
Or you could offer an incentive if the estate agent sells your home before a certain date. This can be a useful approach if you’re hoping for a quick sale.
Some estate agents offer price matching. So if you’ve been offered a better rate from someone else, ask them if they’ll match it.
Do I still pay the estate agent if my home doesn’t sell?
Most estate agents work on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis.
This is usually the case whether they charge a percentage fee, a flat rate or even if they have a digital-only presence.
So you won’t have to pay anything if your home doesn’t sell, a buyer drops out or you simply decide to stay put.
That said, there can be exceptions, so make sure you read the terms of the contract carefully.
What if an estate agent asks for a fee in advance?
It’s standard practice to pay your estate agent once your sale has gone through to completion.
But you might have to pay for some marketing materials in advance. If photography, videos or sign boards aren’t part of the fee, for example, you might need to pay for them at the start.
Online estate agents often work a bit differently to traditional agencies. They might charge upfront in place of a fee on completion.
If you have any doubts about what you're being asked to pay and when, question the agent about it.
Estate agents have strict codes of practice, so they should always be able to explain their fees and timings.
What to think about when choosing an estate agent
When you're looking for an estate agent, you might want to choose someone who:
can see all the best things about your home, just like you can
has plenty of experience when it comes to marketing and selling homes like yours
knows your area inside out, and can highlight all the best things about living there to potential buyers.
When you're doing your research on estate agents, be sure to:
check out their existing listings on Zoopla to get a sense of their style, photography and videos
keep an eye out for 'For sale' signs in your area to see which agents have a strong local presence
look at reviews on Google or their website to see what other sellers say about them.
Track your home's value
See how your estimate is changing every month
Check how your local area’s performing
Explore what’s on the market and what’s sold near you
Find out what local agents think you could sell for