READER QUESTION OF THE WEEK
YOUR MONEY: Don’t even think about paying an estate agent 7.5%
Don’t be suckered into paying the maximum estate agent commission in the current buyers’ market
We want to sell our house and spoke with an estate agent about a quick sale. The agent quoted us a commission of 7.5% plus VAT. This seems like a lot. Are there alternatives? Could we sell it ourselves?
— A Fat Wallet Community member
The boilerplate fee is 7.5% but we don’t know of anyone who ever paid more than 5% plus VAT, especially on a three-month sole mandate. So certainly you can negotiate. Selling a house yourself is possible and many businesses will help with the legal process, or taking photos of your house, say, for a flat fee.
This will almost certainly work out cheaper, but property transactions might not be part of your skill set and while we have heard great stories about the process, we have also heard of many cases when it didn’t work out and the seller ended up contracting an estate agent anyway.
As for selling quickly: recent FNB data shows that houses are taking, on average, three months to find a buyer, with another two to three months for transfer. A quick sale may be difficult, though a really low price could help the process.
Remember, you can shop around for estate agents. Look for one who is very active in your area and ask for references from sellers of recently sold houses. Best of luck.
— Your Money team
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