If you are selling remember to budget for your estate agents fee. The amount will vary a little from agent to agent but more from area to area. In the North of England it could be as low as 1%. In central London it may be 3.5%. In most of London and the South East 2% to 3% seems to be normal. Remember to add VAT at 20%.
Don't assume the cheapest agent will be the best value. It's better to pay a good agent 2.5% and get the best price than pay an inexperienced agent 1% and end up selling your home for less than it's worth.
A sole agent or multiple agents. If you use one agent only he or she will probably offer you a slightly lower commission rate. After all, they know they will have a good chance of earning their fee. If you instruct several agents, only the one who eventually finds the buyer will get paid. To cover the risk of doing a lot of work and then receiving nothing multiple agents will usually ask to be paid a slightly higher percentage commission if they are successful.
Using several agents may give you exposure to a wider range of potential buyers. But it's just as likely that most people looking for a property in a specific area will have signed on to the mailing lists of every agent in that area.
In the end the most important thing is to use a reputable company with local experience. They are more likely to have good quality applicants and to vet prospective buyers properly.
Solicitors fees. We believe that the fairest way to work out our charge to you is to link it to the amount of time we spend on your case. If your case is simple and quickly dealt with, you pay less than if it is difficult and slow. This is very similar to the way you pay more for a long taxi journey than a short one.
We work out how much to charge for our time by adding up the cost of running our office for one full year. This includes the wages we pay to secretaries, bookkeepers, filing clerks and our support staff, the money we pay to our suppliers for equipment, stationery, electricity, business rates and all the other bills that come in. We then divide that amount by the number of hours our solicitors can reasonably be expected to work in a year, taking into account the normal holiday entitlement, sick leave and the time they to spend on administration, training & other similar requirements. This arrives at the amount each solicitor has to earn an hour to ensure we can pay our bills and stay in business. Finally, we add to that a profit margin of 15% from which the solicitors themselves are paid.
The current hourly charge works out to approximately £125.00. To simplify our sums, the Law Society allows us to assume that a basic letter received or sent or a telephone call received or made would take up about six minutes or one-tenth of an hour. This covers the cost of getting a file out, thinking about what needs to be done, making a note and, if necessary, dictating, typing a letter, checking, signing it and posting it.
We provide a good, reliable professional service. We keep our clients informed about what we are doing and why. We treat every one of our clients as an individual and treat them with the respect and courtesy they deserve. We think that's real value for money.
The Licence to Assign. If you are selling an existing lease you will almost certainly need to get the freeholders permission to do so. They will want proof that the incoming tenant can afford to pay the rent and will comply with all the other responsibilities that a lease imposes. Only when they are satisfied will they authorise their solicitors to prepare and hand over a Licence to Assign. The freeholders will want someone to pay all their expenses and these can be anything from £600 upwards. Whether it is the person selling the lease or the new tenant who pays or if the cost is shared between them is a matter for negotiation between the buyer and the seller.
What else? In some sales there are a few unexpected costs. We may need to get copy documents from the Land Registry. If so they will charge us about £20. If we need copies of planning consents from the local council that may cost anything from £5 to £40. If you are selling a lease some freeholders charge a fee for providing up to date information about insurance or service charges. One major landlord will not answer any letters until it is paid £150. If we have to make payments to anyone else in order to get the information we need to allow your sale to proceed, we will let you know in advance and ask you to cover the cost. Let me stress… these will be payments demanded by other people or organisations, not fees kept by us.