House Selling - Money Saving Tips

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
815 replies 489.8K views
MarcusMarcus Forumite
14 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
Greetings all. I’ve been using this site for a while now and have managed to save us a small fortune. Years ago I was an estate agent so I thought I’d see is I could write some bits and bobs in relation to my experiences in the hope that it might save people some cash.

Selling Your House

Methods to Save Money

1) Agents Fees
a. All Estate Agent Fees are negotiable. First, check through the local property paper. See which agents get the most business. Are any members of the NAEA. Busy agents who are members of the NAEA would be my first choices. Select the best 3 or 4 agents and phone them up as potential buyers. See what service you get over a week or so as a buyer - that way you’ll get an idea of how they will market and present your property. A good proactive, busy and well managed agent will still have time and resources to post/email you details and phone you with new properties.

Then get them all to Value your property. Tell each valuer that you have other valuations (BUT NEVER TELL THEM WHAT VALUATIONS OTHER AGENTS HAVE GIVEN YOU - AS THEY’LL MANIPULATE THEIR OWN VALUATIONS) and that you are looking for a fee of 1% with no lock-ins. Most agents will try to lock you in - so that if you instruct them to take your property off the market you will not contractually be able to re-market with another agent for up to 8 weeks (especially with corporates). Make sure you get this down to 1 week after written notice. If you are locked in and you then sell your property through another agent you will get sued for the fees.

Agents are sales persons - they will give you great reasons to lock you in and charge you more... but they also need your business - thus you have the power to ask for and get these things.

b. Once your property is up for sale keep an eye on your agent - mystery shop them ie call them up, give a false name etc. and tell them you are looking for a property that matches your own property’s description - see if they push for you to view your property - are they positive and energetic?

The Duel/Multi-Agency myth.
If you become unhappy with your agent’s efforts it may be time to sack them or go multi agency. Tell an agent that you wish more than one agent to market your property and they’ll try and push up the fees to staggering amounts (2.5%+!!).
Tactics - tell your current agent that you wish for other agents to market your property. Tell them that you’ll keep them as an agent only if they will keep your fees at 1%. If they will not, then sack them (you should only be locked in for a week). I’ve never known an agent not to back down in this situation - they’d lose potential business if they let you go.
Now go to some other agents - probably the other agents on your original list - and tell them that “my agent has agreed to let me go multi-agency and my current fees are 1% - would you like to also market my property at 1% multi-agency?” You can guess what the answer will be...

A 1 % saving on the average cost of a property in the UK (currently £150000) will save you £1500 before VAT.

Duel Agency means you’re marketing with 2 agents - multi agency means you’re with more than two. Agents will try and charge you more for either of these - especially in the case of multi.

2) Solicitor Fees
During you initial enquiries with estate agents, ask them for several recommendations each of good conveyancers or solicitors. You don’t just want the name of the firm, but also the name of the specific solicitor/conveyancer. Remember, some agents will have ‘arrangements’ with some solicitors and some will even have their own - so be warned. A good rule of thumb would be to approach solicitors (by name) who have been recommended by different agents - although some solicitors will have arrangements with more than one agent.

Phone the best solicitors and ask for written confirmation of their charges. Take note of how they treat you - do they speak in plain English, are they friendly and do you get their details as promised the next day. And once again - their fees are negotiable - there’s no reason not to ask your favourite contender to shave £xxx off of their fees if you have evidence of more competitive quotes from other solicitors... they may say “no chance” - in which case you need to make a decision as to whether or not the extra charges are really worth it.

A solicitor can make or break deals for you so shop around. It’s very hard to change solicitors once they start the conveyancing process for you... and it will cost you!

And finally - avoid fee busting corporate conveyancing firms - they will most likely slow down the conveyancing process - these are normally call centre and internet based firms. They can save you as much as £500... but as stingy as I am I would never use them.

I hope this is of use to you and I hope that my info is still correct.
I’ll see if I can write something for buyers when dealing with agents and the like.

Named after my cat, picture coming shortly


  • laminkilaminki Forumite
    140 Posts
    cheers Marcus.
  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
    8.3K Posts
    Just a quick note - in the 'post of the month awards' someone has already nominated this post as they saved £700 simply from having read it!
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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  • boseybosey Forumite
    77 Posts
    that rocks mate ;D I will be selling my house soon and had no idea about agent shenanegans. I'll let you know of the results!

    Thanks a lot for that :D
    Multi-tasking is a way of ensuring you don't enjoy any of them.
  • MarcusMarcus Forumite
    14 Posts
    £700! That's put a big smile on my face.

    Well done Haggy and good luck bosey.
    Haggy - I'd be interested in the details i.e. where your mate made the savings.

    Named after my cat, picture coming shortly
  • Haggy_3Haggy_3 Forumite
    23 Posts
    Hi Marcus

    Basically the chap at work got lots of valuations, picked the two agents that he liked the best and were the most professional.
    One refused to adjust the fees at all, maintained that as a big corporate he wasn't allowed to. The other dropped by 0.5% with a short tie in.

    Guess who got the business. :)

    House then sold ultra quick anyway, so it looks like everyone came out a winner.

    Thanks again.
    A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist.

    A young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent,
    the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law.
  • MarcusMarcus Forumite
    14 Posts
    That's great. Playing them at their own game - haggling.

    That's a good point about the coporates - although they can pack a punch on the marketing side (advertising at least) they are less flexible when it comes to negotiating fees (which is a good indication that they can be rigid on other matters). Staff often have 'policies' they must follow.

    So during your hunt for good agents I think it would be a bad idea to pick just corporates to play off against each other. Much better to get a good mix.

    Named after my cat, picture coming shortly
  • rushnowtrushnowt Forumite
    24.7K Posts
    Cheers for the tips Marcus.

    I've been wanting to sell my house for some time now but worried about the charges involved.

    Could you please advise me though would it be better to sell my house in need of decoration etc i do need a very quick sale or do the work first before selling, i dont mind taking slighly less for the property but dont want to lose £1000's because of it. the house needs a bit of titivation however it is perfectly livable in just not had the money to finish off a few of the jobs. ???

    Thanks in advance

    Debs x
    Nobody can make you feel inferior, without your permission ;)

    Love doesn't make the world go round, it's what makes the ride worthwhile

    ya still freezing :p

  • LaylaLayla Forumite
    65 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Thanks Marcus for this really useful information. I have passed this information on to my sister who is currently trying to sell her house.

    The info you mentioned for buyers would be excellent. I have had lots of problems with estate agents when trying to buy a house, as I am sure, have many others. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
    Nice to save.
  • MarcusMarcus Forumite
    14 Posts
    Greetings Rushnowt.

    In my experience decor makes only a little difference to the end price (within reason). However, decor does make a big difference to how quickly you sell.

    On the first point - if a house needs new carpets, decorating, tiling and the like then you and the agent can reflect this in the market price. So if your property requires £2000 worth of work (which is a lot) then you may price the property accordingly - or even better, not reflect this in the price but to use the difference as a bargaining tool if you get offers.

    For a quicker sale you need a clean, bright and fresh house. Painting darker rooms with warm neutral colours is good. Removing living smells is good (all our homes smell a certain way that we'll not notice - especially if you smoke or have pets).

    If I were selling my property now I would:
    Paint any tired rooms warm and neutral colours
    Tidy up the garden front and back
    Have a complete spring clean (especially windows)
    Leave some nice smellies about

    Have the house viewed at its brightest time of day.
    Have the house viewed at the quietest time of day (if necessary).
    Make sure any building projects were complete (shelves, tiles etc).
    Leave fresh flowers out.

    If an Agent does the viewings whilst you're out then I'd leave a radio on low (classic fm maybe).

    If it's you doing viewings then show before dinner, tv off, and as few of you in the house as possible.

    Named after my cat, picture coming shortly
  • MarcusMarcus Forumite
    14 Posts
    I was writing the above when you sent your link. Some good 'top ten tips'.

    I would seriously weigh up the pros and cons of spending vast amounts on home improvements. It's a lot of money with no certainty of a return. My view has always been that all you need is a light, fresh canvas for people to project their own. So good tips.

    Named after my cat, picture coming shortly
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