Estate agent commission charges on property sales have become very unpopular. People no longer feel that such a charge is fair. This has its roots in two main problems: first, in the rise of insufficiently trained agents who charge high commissions and deliver a very poor service and secondly due to the promotion of property selling as a something that can be done by anybody for themselves. These two reasons have led to a devaluation of the services offered by estate agents, and resentment at the estate agent commission charges.
This reasoning, however, is very badly founded. Try applying the logic to other professions and it results in disaster. What would happen if it was decided that doctors and dentists were no longer necessary and we should all self-medicate? How successful would you be if, after some brief internet research and some cursory advice from a subscription legal service, you decided to defend yourself in court? We hire and take advice from doctors and lawyers because they are professionals with years of experience in their field. They have the knowledge and skills to guide us through what needs to be done, while being able to recognise and avoid any potential problems.
To return to the case in hand, the application of this logic to the property market is aptly illustrated by the example of a man who sold his house without assistance from an agent. He agreed with his buyer that, until his bond was approved, he could move into the house and pay occupational rent. The bond was never applied for; the rent was never paid: the buyer was revealed to be a squatter. Had an estate agent been involved their experience would have enabled them to spot this problem in advance, and the expense of having the squatter evicted would have been avoided.
Some complain that the estate agent commission fees of 7.5% charged by estate agents affiliated with a large franchise are too high but, when the agency’s share of this commission is deducted, this is only really enough for the agent to survive. Since independent agents do not have to give any part of their commission away, they can afford to charge less, which could be anywhere between 3%-6%. Estate agents do not receive a regular income from their work: on average they may make one or two sales a month, but it may also be that they do not make any sales at all for several months. When averaged out across a year, the estate agent commission they take work out to be not dissimilar to an average salary.
Just like the rest of us, estate agents have families to support, homes to run and expenses to pay. To deprive them of the commission they have earned is equivalent to your employer not paying you a month’s salary. A qualified estate agent uses their knowledge and expertise on your behalf and in your interest, and it is only fair and just that you pay them for their work.