Working with Property Agents

Realtors, or property agents, manage the transaction on behalf of buyers and sellers...

When deciding which agent, or agents, are going to sell the property, the seller will agree to the agents' written terms and conditions. There are four types of agreements:

Sole agency: The services of one agent are employed to market the property for an agreed period (typically 12 weeks). If the property is sold through another agent before the agreement with the original one has ended, the seller will still have to pay the original agent their fee. Likewise, the original agent must give the seller the service they have agreed.

Joint sole agency: This is when two agents are employed to sell the property. The agents agree to split the fee on the sale of the property. The agent that sells the property usually gets a higher percentage of the fee. The percentages are pre-agreed with the seller and written into the agreement.

Sole selling rights: This means that the appointed selling agent will be due the agreed fee, even if the property is sold privately or through another agent.

Multiple agency: This is when the services of several agents are employed. The agent that sells the property takes the whole fee.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

When selling property, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be commissioned. The estate agent may be able to organise this for the seller. An EPC tells the seller and the prospective buyer how energy efficient the property is, the impact the property has on the environment and includes recommendations on ways to improve its efficiency.

The EPC must be ordered by the time the property hits the market. Copies should be given to all potential buyers at the earliest opportunity and certainly before an offer is accepted and contracts exchanged. Only accredited Domestic Energy Assessors can prepare an EPC.

The costs involved in buying and selling a property depend on many factors, such as the value of the property and the complexity of the transaction. The following is a checklist of potential costs for both buyers and sellers. The costs include those that apply to the buying and selling process, plus some others that may arise. For every potential cost listed, different providers will charge different fees, so it is always best to get a range of quotes.

Sellers

  • Estate agents' fees
  • Conveyancing fees
  • EPC costs
  • Removal costs
  • Contingency fund

Buyers

  • Mortgage arrangement fee
  • Mortgage indemnity guarantee
  • Lender's valuation fee
  • Conveyancing fees
  • Land registry fee
  • Surveys
  • Removal costs
  • Contingency fund
  • Home insurance
  • Contents insurance
  • Stamp duty land tax:
    • 0% paid on properties costing up to £125,000
    • 1% paid on properties costing between £125,001 and £250,000
    • 3% paid on properties costing between £250,001 and £500,000
    • 4% paid on properties costing more than £500,001

For first-time buyers, the stamp duty threshold is £250,000. This only applies if you have never owned a property in the UK or overseas. And, if you're buying with another person, they too must be a first-time buyer.

Information provided by James Trimble, Franchising Manager at Winkworth Franchising Ltd Tel: +44 (020) 8576 5580, e-mail |Website