A Guide to Estate Agent Fees in South London

22.01.2024

If you’re considering selling your home in Wandsworth, Tooting or Balham, you’re probably working out how much the move will cost – and wondering how much you’ll need to budget for London estate agent fees in 2023.

While every estate agent is different, and fees can vary, there are a few things you need to remember. Shopping around is a good idea, but don’t base your decision on the lowest commission percentage. To help you get started, here are some questions sellers frequently ask about how much they should expect to pay in estate agent fees in London.

How much are estate agent fees in south west London?

Each estate agency will set its commission, usually a percentage fee based on the sale price. Across the UK, fees vary from 1% to 3%. The average real estate agent fee in southwest London is around 1.4%. By law, estate agents should include VAT (at 20%) in the price – but it is always worth checking if your contract doesn’t say this explicitly. You will pay a higher fee if you use more than one agent to sell your home – around 2% for a joint agency arrangement or 3% for a multi-agent one.

In most cases, traditional high street estate agents will operate on a no-sale-no-fee arrangement – but always check this first. Make sure that the no-fee applies if you decide not to sell. Be wary of ‘ready, willing and able buyer’ clauses, which mean you still pay the fee if you decline to sell to someone in a position to buy.

Some agents, often online firms, offer a fixed fee rather than a percentage. In the case of online agents, these may be much cheaper than a high street firm’s percentage figure but often apply regardless of whether the sale happens or not, and they require payment upfront.

Online Estate Agent Fees In South London

An online estate agent will typically charge a fixed fee of around £1,000 – but you may not save in the long run. You’ll pay at the beginning of the process, so you’re out of pocket if the sale falls through, and the responsibility is all yours.

When you use an online estate agent, you must check what you’re getting for your money. They don’t usually conduct viewings, though many offer them as an add-on for around £300. That means you’ve got to quickly work out how to promote your property to its full advantage.

Once offers start coming in, there’s more to consider. A traditional high street agent will usually seek the best possible selling price and vet potential buyers to help you select an offer that’s likely to reach completion. With an online agent, ensuring your home sells is up to you. They don’t typically support choosing an offer or handling communications between you and the potential buyer.

Multi-agent and sole-agent fee differences

Sole agency fees are typically between 1% and 2% (1.4% in south west London), while the average estate agent fees for a multi-agent contract are higher, usually around 3%. When you work with a sole agency, the contract often includes an exclusivity clause. This can mean you have to wait until it expires if you decide you want to change agents, but the sole agency approach can make the selling process simpler with just one point of contact to deal with.

Under a multi-agent contract, several agents will compete to promote your property. But you will only pay an estate agent fee to whoever secures your house sale. The fees are higher to account for the risk the agents are taking that they may not succeed. Sellers who choose this method hope that competition between the agents will encourage a faster sale. It’s also possible that you will receive a higher offer, making the higher fees worthwhile.

What about minimum estate agent fees?

Will your estate agent charge a minimum estate agent fee? These fees must be paid when the property is sold, regardless of the percentage of the selling price. It may not present an issue if the house price is high enough – at the average minimum estate agent fee of £1,000, you wouldn’t be paying over the odds if you achieved a selling price of £100,000 or more. However, if your home sells for a significantly lower price, this estate agent charge could account for a high proportion of the sale price.

What is usually included in estate agent fees?

This is what you should be expecting from your agent – if any of these services are missing from your contract, you need to ask why:

  • Advice about your marketing strategy and price based on knowledge of the current southwest London market.
  • Floorplans and professional photos that present your home in the best light, along with a well-written description focussing on key features and benefits.
  • A sale board.
  • Calling their existing list of suitable clients – creating interest among serious buyers.
  • Listing your property on the main portals – Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as their own website.
  • Using offline methods, including their shop window and possibly leafleting or advertisements.
  • Organising and leading viewings as well as providing you with feedback.
  • Carrying out negotiations on your behalf when offers are received.

Hidden costs – what to look out for

You need to be careful about hidden extras. Some agents will quote you a low initial fee and then add items you’d expect to see included. We’ve already mentioned VAT as one example, but some agents may add floorplans or photography as an extra cost. This may be the case if you opt for the most basic level of service – often from an online agent. Sometimes, you may only pay for the agent to list your property on the portals – something you can’t do as a private individual – with other tasks such as viewings left to you. Be careful about notice periods or clauses in your contract that tie you in for longer than necessary – four weeks is standard – and cancellation fees if you change estate agency.

What about EPC costs?

As a seller, you must have an up-to-date energy performance certificate (EPC) for the property. If you’ve had an EPC inspection carried out within 10 years, this is still valid, and you don’t need to repeat it – unless you want to because you have done work on the house, boosting its energy efficiency. Some agents will organise the EPC inspection for you, but you don’t have to use this service. You should expect to pay between £60 and £120

Are more expensive south London estate agents better?

Possibly, but not necessarily. Sometimes, you will pay more for greater experience, additional services or access to a good network of high-income buyers. The important thing is to do plenty of research and choose the best estate agent with the best chance of achieving the sale price you want in the shortest time. Be wary of anyone quoting very low fees, however. This could be a sign of inexperience or desperation or that they will later hit you with further charges.

How should I choose a south west London estate agent?

To find the best estate agent to sell your home, read reviews and ask your friends and family for personal recommendations. Always get three valuations from agents and quotations for their services, remembering that the cheapest may or may not be right for you. Do your research and ask plenty of questions to determine how effective they are at selling homes like yours.

Look at their websites and property portal listings to ensure they are well-presented. Weigh up the quality of their written listings and the photos – do they stand out for the right reasons? Does this estate agency have local expertise? Find out how much of a local presence they have (the names on the ‘for sale’ signs near your home can be a good indicator) and how well they know the area. It’s important to check whether they have sold similar properties, as this can give you confidence that they know how to market your home to the right buyers.

Make use of other clues as well. Find out how long properties stay on the property market by talking to the agents and checking their online listings. Consider asking about the strategies they’re currently using.

Are estate agent fees negotiable in London?

Negotiating on fees is pretty standard, and something agents will expect – so it’s always worth asking them to lower their fees. If you’ve been quoted a reasonable rate but wish to use another agent, you could use this as a bargaining tactic. If they don’t reduce their fees, you could suggest other benefits, such as a shorter tie-in period, or offer a sliding scale with a bonus payment if they achieve a specific price. Be careful of anyone too quick to drop their prices – this also suggests inexperience.

When and how do I pay estate agent fees?

If you’ve used a high street estate agent, you don’t pay them directly – your conveyancer will pay the fee after the property has sold. After the contracts have been exchanged, the estate agent will invoice the conveyancer, who will use the sale proceeds to pay them. You won’t usually be expected to pay a high street agent until they have sold your property (known as ‘no sale, no fee’).

Online estate agents usually ask for your fee upfront or at a certain point during the process, regardless of whether the property has sold.

If you’re looking to sell in south west London, we have plenty of experience selling homes in Wandsworth, Tooting, Clapham, Battersea, or Balham. Talk to us today about our fees or any other aspects of our service. We’d be delighted to offer you a valuation of your home.