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Estate Agents, No Sale – No Fee Terms and Conditions

I am putting my house up for sale. I am going to be using a no sale – no fee agent.

Now I am more than willing to give the estate agent a fair chance of selling my property, but if after say 3 months, I believe that they aren’t pulling their weight, do the normal, standard T & C’s, give you the option to pull out of the agreement without having to pay any fee at all?

What I’m worried about is being locked in with an estate agent for a long period and I can’t get out of the arrangement without stumping up a large fee for an early exit. It may incentivise a more lazy estate agent to do not a lot.

I want to give myself the option of changing estate agents if necessary, but I’m concerned that I may get tripped up by the small print somewhere down the line.

Any advise anyone on how I can protect myself?

Comments

  • hazyjo
    hazyjo Posts: 15,469 Forumite
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    Some do charge a fee to get out - you'll have to check the contract (to the best of my knowledge). I don't think there are set 'normal, standard T&Cs'.

    Jx
    2023 wins: *must start comping again!*
  • evansmummy
    evansmummy Posts: 303 Forumite
    We had a choice of three agents in our area.
    The first had a lock in period of 12 weeks and a fee if we took it off the market (thanks but no thanks), the second just had a lock in period of 12 weeks and no fees to pay and the third (who we eventually went with) had no lock in period or fees.
    He was a down to earth guy who said 'there's no point me locking you in as your circumstances might change and I'd like to think if you decided to put your house back on the market you'd come back to me to sell it'. Put it this way he's cornered the market in this area by about 80%.
    Check the t & c's to make sure you cover yourself.

    At the end of the day if your house is in a good state of repair and a realistic price you'll sell. We sold in two weeks in an area where over 300 are up for sale and only a handful have sold in the last few months.
  • googler
    googler Posts: 16,103 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    dinofabio wrote: »
    I want to give myself the option of changing estate agents if necessary, but I’m concerned that I may get tripped up by the small print somewhere down the line.

    Any advise anyone on how I can protect myself?

    Read the contract that the agent puts in front of you before you sign it.

    If it's not clear on these points, ensure that these are put in writing as an addition to the contract before you sign.
  • Tinkaf1
    Tinkaf1 Posts: 100 Forumite
    Seriously consider an online agent. I can't fault our experience, and it has cost us £425 plus vat. No fees after the sale. Saved us about 2.5k We used House Network. They advertise on RightMove, Findaproperty, Zoopla etc if you do decide to go with a local agent, have the shortest contract possible, no leaving fee and don't get suckered by the one who gives you the highest valuation. Good Luck!
  • dinofabio
    dinofabio Posts: 245 Forumite
    Thanks for the responses. It's good to read a few first hand examples of how the estate agents operate, and what I can expect. No lock-in and no early exit fees is the ideal scenario - providing the fees aren't over the top.

    So the bottom line is, read the T & C's very carefully before signing, and if anything is unclear, get written clarification.

    I think I'll phone a few EA's up and see if they can send me a copy of their T & C's upfront. (I don't fancy the rigmarole of having to sit through all the sales patter etc just to find out there is a lock-in and early exit fee). They might tell me where to get off! but it's worth a shot.
  • G_M
    G_M Posts: 51,977 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 13 April 2011 at 12:37PM
    Most contracts are no sale no fee - nothing unusual there!

    Most sole agency agreements (ie you can only use one agent - cheaper commission on sale than multi agent contracts) have a minimum tie in. THIS IS COMPLETELY NEGOTIABLE! Ask the agent, read the contract and negotiate.

    Most agents will optimistically tell you they have loads of potential buyers (to get you to sign with them rather than a competitor), so you then say "in that case you'll only need a few weeks to sell - how about a 6 week sole agency agreement?" Note that to end the agreement at that point you usualy have to give two weeks notice (ie at the 4 week point) or it will just continue.

    There should be no fee to end it - check, and if there is, walk away or get them to remove it.

    If/when you end the contract, ask for a list of people they've introduced - if any of these subsequently buy (whether through another agent or not) the 1st agent will expect their fee. Without this list you can sometimes get dispute "this was a buyer we originally introduced " Vs "No they came via the new agent".
    I'll phone a few EA's up and see if they can send me a copy of their T & C's upfront. (I don't fancy the rigmarole of having to sit through all the sales patter etc just to find out there is a lock-in and early exit fee).
    I disagree. You can only negotiate their terms/tie-in periods etc if they think you are a serious potential client. So you have to 'sit through the patter' and appear interested "You look like a really good agent but your tie-in period is a bit long....." before they will reduce their commission (yes, negotiate on that too!) or othr terms.
  • dinofabio
    dinofabio Posts: 245 Forumite
    G_M wrote: »
    Most contracts are no sale no fee - nothing unusual there!

    Most sole agency agreements (ie you can only use one agent - cheaper commission on sale than multi agent contracts) have a minimum tie in. THIS IS COMPLETELY NEGOTIABLE! Ask the agent, read the contract and negotiate.

    Most agents will optimistically tell you they have loads of potential buyers (to get you to sign with them rather than a competitor), so you then say "in that case you'll only need a few weeks to sell - how about a 6 week sole agency agreement?" Note that to end the agreement at that point you usualy have to give two weeks notice (ie at the 4 week point) or it will just continue.

    There should be no fee to end it - check, and if there is, walk away or get them to remove it.

    If/when you end the contract, ask for a list of people they've introduced - if any of these subsequently buy (whether through another agent or not) the 1st agent will expect their fee. Without this list you can sometimes get dispute "this was a buyer we originally introduced " Vs "No they came via the new agent".


    I disagree. You can only negotiate their terms/tie-in periods etc if they think you are a serious potential client. So you have to 'sit through the patter' and appear interested "You look like a really good agent but your tie-in period is a bit long....." before they will reduce their commission (yes, negotiate on that too!) or othr terms.

    Top advise there. Thanks
  • googler
    googler Posts: 16,103 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    dinofabio wrote: »
    I think I'll phone a few EA's up and see if they can send me a copy of their T & C's upfront.

    They won't. Betcha.
  • speg
    speg Posts: 24 Forumite
    G_M wrote: »
    Most contracts are no sale no fee - nothing unusual there!

    Most sole agency agreements (ie you can only use one agent - cheaper commission on sale than multi agent contracts) have a minimum tie in. THIS IS COMPLETELY NEGOTIABLE! Ask the agent, read the contract and negotiate.

    Most agents will optimistically tell you they have loads of potential buyers (to get you to sign with them rather than a competitor), so you then say "in that case you'll only need a few weeks to sell - how about a 6 week sole agency agreement?" Note that to end the agreement at that point you usualy have to give two weeks notice (ie at the 4 week point) or it will just continue.

    There should be no fee to end it - check, and if there is, walk away or get them to remove it.

    If/when you end the contract, ask for a list of people they've introduced - if any of these subsequently buy (whether through another agent or not) the 1st agent will expect their fee. Without this list you can sometimes get dispute "this was a buyer we originally introduced " Vs "No they came via the new agent".

    I'm going to change my agent very soon, so found your reply really useful.
    2 further questions regarding your reply:

    1) When you say no fees to walk away, having just looked at my contract, it says that on termination of the contract, they may charge £200 + VAT to cover the marketing costs for my property. Is that normal or could those be regarded as termination fees?

    2) The list of those they've introduced - that would be actual viewings, but would that also include people who made appointments but cancelled and those who registered and took away the details?

    Stressful business!
  • JQ.
    JQ. Posts: 1,919 Forumite
    Personally, I choose an EA based on how good they are. They are salespeople, and what I care about is them getting the highest possible price using whatever tactics they feel appropriate for the conditions. If a good agent can get me an extra £10,000 on the sale price, why try and save £2,000 in fees, it seems a false economy to me. I still can't get my head round using an internet company sell the most valuable asset I am ever likely to own, it's not a toaster or TV and prices are not fixed - the price you achieve is invariably down to the negotiating skill of the person selling it.

    Speak to people at work, friends, neighbours - find out who the good agents are and use them. Good agents may not be liked by buyers, so that's not necessarily a bad thing, after all it's not about making friends.

    Somtimes Moneysaving is not about reducing costs but about maximising return (sorry, that makes me sound like some American Preacher).

    Anyway, that's my approach to employing EA's and it's worked in every house we've sold to date.
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