April 12, 2021

Three in five house sellers stung by unexpectedly large estate agency fees

The majority of UK homeowners are unprepared for the large estate agency fees when selling a house, a new study has revealed.

The research[1], conducted by free online estate agent, Strike, surveyed 1,000 people who have sold a house in the last decade and found that nearly three in five (58%) sellers had to pay more than they’d expected. Over a third (34%) were charged significantly higher fees than they had budgeted for.

These figures are higher for those who have sold their homes recently, with 62% hit by unexpected charges in 2019, compared to just 48% in 2010. This trend correlates with an increase in prices over the same period, with fees having risen by 42% from £3,035 in 2010 to £4,319 last year.

With average house asking prices reaching record highs this year[2], these figures will continue to grow, as most agency fees are calculated by taking a percentage of the property’s value.

Over the last decade, the average price paid by UK sellers to estate agents is £4,779, but many pay far more. More than one in ten (11%) Brits pay over £10,000 to move.

Interestingly, millennials pay far higher estate agency fees than other age groups. On average, 25-34 year olds are charged £6,421 when selling, with nearly a fifth (19%) paying over £10,000. This is more than double the amount paid by other generations, with 55-64s spending just £2,836.

Gender is another factor, with men paying 19% more than women. Male sellers pay an average of £5,226 to sell their home – £820 more than women (£4,406).

The most important variable, however, is location, with sellers in London paying by far the largest fees in the UK. With an average of £6,573, estate agencies in the English capital charge more than twice as much as those in other major cities, such as Cardiff (£3,255), Manchester (£3,265) and Glasgow (£3,273).

The cities with the largest estate agency fees are:

London – £6,573
Birmingham – £5,622
Southampton – £5,481
Bristol – £5,316
Belfast – £4,667
Norwich – £4,338
Liverpool – £4,221
Edinburgh – £3,690
Sheffield – £3,405
Glasgow – £3,273
Manchester – £3,265
Cardiff – £3,255
Newcastle – £3,167
Leeds – £3,000
Nottingham – £2,854

Despite such high fees, more than two in five (44%) UK sellers were unhappy with the service provided by their estate agents. Dissatisfaction was greatest in Belfast, where 58% said they were unimpressed. Homeowners in the Northern Irish capital were also the most likely to pay more than they expected (83%), suggesting a strong link between fees and overall selling experience.

Sam Mitchell, CEO at Strike, said: “Estate agent fees are often the most significant expense when moving house, especially with the current stamp duty relief, and it’s really interesting to see which factors affect how much people pay.

“At Strike, we help people sell their homes for free, which saves them thousands of pounds, no matter where they live. With no estate agency fees, you have more money to spend on the things that really matter, like your new home.”

For expert advice on how to save money when selling your home, visit: https://strike.co.uk/latest-news/how-much-does-uk-waste-estate-agent-fees