Fee Fact

In the next week, (via our members and other estate agents), we will be asking thousands of people, (sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants), who are in the process of moving home, to take part in our 12th annual Home Moving Trends survey (please register here to take part for free).

In order to improve further on this initiative we’ve appointed data gurus Dataloft to work with us and not only will they be analysing the responses to this year’s survey but will also be looking back to glean additional insights we can share with you.

In preparing for this project I’ve had a quick look back at the first survey we did in 2008 and drawn a correlation between a question we asked then, (and each year since), and something we’ve learned following this years tenant fee ban.

Every year we’ve asked sellers and landlords, “did you choose the agent with the cheapest fee?” and also asked whether this was the key factor in their decision process. For more than a decade, the response from the overwhelming majority (90%) can be summed up as “No, I didn’t select my agent solely because they were the cheapest but I did want to pay as little as possible.” The main reasons why people select one agent over another are:

  1. They like and trust the agent
  2. They believe the agent will market their property to a higher standard

It’s not about the fee.

Now I can already hear some of you saying, “that’s not the case in my area” but actually it is. We have the data and the facts to prove it. Across the country, all price ranges, all property types, all demographics of sellers and landlords, over 70,000 people have told us that the fee is not the main issue. Now I can imagine some sellers and landlords might say to an agent, “we went with ANO because they were cheaper” as this is more palatable, (and typically British) than to say, “we went with the other agent because we like and trust them more than you.” Of course, if two or more agents look the same, act the same, offer the same service, etc. then it shouldn’t be a surprise that the fee will become the determinator but it’s not the principle method of selection for 90% of people, (there are a minority who do buy on price as there is for everything).

This fact has in part been proven following the recent tenant fee ban. Initially, many agents believed that their landlords wouldn’t agree to an increase in fees to offset the lost revenue but this hasn’t been the case, (at least not for the majority of Property Academy members). In addition to a host of additional income generative initiatives and cost management most of our members have put up their fees to existing and new landlords and the overall majority are now paying the higher rate. I’m not saying some didn’t grumble and that none took their business elsewhere but over 90% have accepted that their agent’s fees had to increase.

This confirms my long held belief that the fee “issue” is actually an agent mindset problem. If you can demonstrate that you deliver superior value, are likeable and trustworthy then you will be selected and at a higher fee – but only if you stand firm and negotiate more effectively with the very same people you’re trying to persuade to trust you with the negotiation of their property sale or let.

If you would like to take part in the Home Moving Trends Survey and have the chance to compare your results with the overall summary then please register here – it’s completely free.

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