The fee issue.

Ten years ago we published the first Home Moving Trends survey and since then we’ve researched over 30,000 people who, at each point we contacted them, were actively selling their property.

We’ve asked hundreds of questions about why they’re moving, how they selected their agent and what their experience has been like. One question we’ve asked every year is “did you choose the agent with the cheapest fee?” and back in 2008 just 4% told us that they did. But the response in 2018 is significantly different.

Indeed, 15%, almost four times the number of people currently selling their property, went with the cheapest option. And before you say, “damn those onliners”, this survey is of “traditional” agents and firms like PurpleBricks were not included.

However, I believe the principle reason for this increase in sellers choosing the cheapest option is principally down to the new models. Not just because they’re charging less, although this is a factor, but the fact that they’ve brought the subject of fees right out into the open whereas before it was largely a private conversation at the market appraisal.

What this requires then is a complete change to how fees are presented and substantiated. Ten years ago the subject tended to be left to the very end of the appraisal, most often almost in passing, “oh, and our fees are 1.5% plus VAT if you’d like to sign here…”.  Now though I suggest it’s best brought up at the very beginning – “If it’s the cheapest agent you’re after then I’m not the one for you. But if you’re looking for someone who will be here for you all the way and will do everything to get you the best buyer at the best price and is in the best position to move on your time table, then let’s walk round your home and we can discuss exactly what you’re looking to achieve.”

Of course, our survey confirms that fees are not the principal driver for 85% of people, but my sense is that they’re much more in sellers and landlords minds than ever before. And this requires a different approach and a rewrite of the scripts and dialogues that have served many well throughout their careers.

We’ve many more insights to offer from this survey and also those of 5,000 landlords and 5,000 tenants that we’ll be sharing at the EA Masters. Also, we have the summary of the 50,000 mystery shops we undertook for the Best Estate Agent Guide. And there’s more! We’ve compiled the thoughts and tips from 35 industry leaders and legends as to what they are doing to combat these challenging conditions and will be giving this compendium to every single delegate, along with the survey summaries and insights. Add this bundle to those also being given out by our Supporters and the presentations from the best speaker line up ever assembled for an estate agency conference and the £199+VAT ticket price looks an absolute bargain – you can get yours here.

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