FAQ: How much does selling your property with an estate agent cost?

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FAQ: How much does it cost to sell your house with an estate agent?

ESTATE AGENT COSTSThis is one of the most commonly asked questions from home owners when they first consider selling their house. What many understand is it is usually the single biggest expense when selling their property and it’s therefore one of the biggest concerns of being able to afford to sell.

Here we discuss what are the costs of selling with an agent and how those figures add up for you when selling your home.

Estate Agent Costs

The cost of selling with an estate agent generally comes in two parts: fees and expenses.

Estate Agent Fees

The largest expense when dealing with an estate agent is always the sales fees. These are the fees an agent charges for successfully selling your house. Almost always they come when the house has been sold – typically the agent holds a booking deposit until exchange of contracts, then returns it to you the vendor minus their fees.

There are a number of different ways an estate agent might charge their sales fees, but in most cases it will be a percentage fee – a certain % of the final agreed sales price for your property. Some agencies will charge a flat-rate or a minimum flat-rate if the property value is below a certain amount or often in rural areas.

Estate agent sales fees range from between 1% and 2% plus VAT.

Typical estate agent sales fees in Ireland today range from between 1% and 2% plus VAT. Some rural or less valuable areas might be more than that. Most agents in Dublin for example will be in this range depending on a number of factors, such as:

  • The value of your property – generally the more expensive the house the lower the percentage fee because the overall total of the fee in euros will be higher. For example a €350,000 might be a 1.75% fee but a €1 million house might be only 1.25%.
  • Where in the country you are – as mentioned just above. In a very rural area an agent may charge 2 to 3% to account for the lower values, the distance to travel or the difficulty to sell. In Dublin estate agents generally charge between 1 and 2%.
  • How tricky your property would be to sell – This is more common in the country but can apply in urban centres too. For example if your property has issues, has site potential or some other unusual factor that requires an extra bit of effort or skill from your agent then they might charge a higher fee. Conversely the opposite is rarely true – lower fees for an easier sale – but we will often be very honest with our clients and say we know your property will sell fast and therefore it’s only right we can charge you slightly less than our full fee!
  • Which agent you choose – This is probably the biggest factor out there right now. There is a broad range of agent charging different fees. For example, some established chains such as Sherry Fitzgerald are know to charge top rate fees (and high expenses – see below) because they are seen to be worth it to be part of that brand. At the opposite end there are many local agents that only charge a 1% flat rate for all sales because they are desperate to win business.

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Find Out More

  • Selling with Churches – how much does it cost?
  • Estate agency fees and expenses compared
  • Why you shouldn’t choose the cheapest estate agent
  • The 2 big mistakes people make choosing an estate agent[/alert]

Estate Agent Expenses

The other part of the cost of selling your property with an estate agent is usually the estate agent expenses. These are cost the agent incurs to market your property. Although they are less than the sales fee, they can add up and they are payable even if your property doesn’t sell!

Estate agent expenses are less than the sales fee, but are payable even if your property doesn’t sell!

It depends on the agent but they are commonly charged upfront, before the agent will even begin to put your property on the market. If not charged immediately, they can be added to the bill at the end or paid at a certain date part of the way through the sale. But beware, if you don’t sell your property they will still charge you – after all they have still incurred these costs and think you should pay for them.

Here are some of the items that can go into these estate agents costs or expenses:

  • Online Marketing – putting your property on Daft.ie and/or MyHome.ie. This should be standard but sometimes you will be charged extra, especially if they push you to upgrade your property to a ‘Feature’ or ‘Promoted’ listing.
  • For Sale Signboard – a basic and important part of marketing your property but could see you charged €50 – €100 for a standard property and multiples of this if you have a large house or site.
  • Printed Brochures – depending on the agent and the size / value of your property. Some will want a basic 2-4 page print out, others will go in for a proper glossy printed brochure.
  • Professional Photography – proper photographs are important to a sale, for both online marketing and brochures. You will typically get charged for this if nothing else and can cost anywhere between €100 – €250 for a standard property.
  • Newspaper Advertising – most of the big national or citywide agencies are taking out advertising in the property supplements of the national newspapers – typically The Irish Times, Independent or Business Post. They will want to include your property in these ads but there will be a charge. This is usually the largest expense for the homeowner and can be anywhere from €500 up to €2,000 depending on the size of the property.

Estate agent expenses can range from €250 – €350… right up to €2,000 or more!

So depending on the agent and your property you could expect a range of possible charges.

  • For standard Dublin home of up to say €350,000 you will typically expect around €250 – €350 upfront.
  • For a larger property from €400,000 up to €800,000 you might expect expenses of approx. €500 – €1,000.
  • And for really expensive properties above €1 million some agencies will charge €2,000 or more!

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Find Out More:

  • How much does it cost to market my property for sale?
  • Do I really need to pay newspaper advertising to sell my house?[/alert]

Don’t forget the VAT!

Remember all these fees are “plus VAT” at 23% so be prepared to add a quarter onto all these figures. That goes for the agent’s sales fee and marketing expenses.

Summary of Fees & Expenses

Here are some examples of potential fees and expenses you should expect from your estate agent when you decide to sell your property:

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Selling A €150,000 Property

If you were selling a lower value property for €150,000, you are likely to get a minimum fee of approx. €3,000 plus VAT. You might be able to waive the marketing expenses so your total fee including 23% VAT would be:

Total Estate Agent Fee: €3,690 (at completion of sale)[/alert]

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Selling A €250,000 Property

If you were selling a average property for €250,000, your agent will quote you 1.75% plus VAT. This would usually also require an upfront marketing fee of €250 plus VAT, leaving you with a total cost of:

Total Estate Agent Fee: €5,688 (€307 in marketing expenses upfront and €5,381 at completion of sale)[/alert]

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Selling A €500,000 Property

If you were selling a larger property for €500,000, your might find an agency fee of around 1.4% plus VAT. You would be charged at least €500 in upfront marketing fees, for a total cost of:

Total Estate Agent Fee: €9,224 (€614 in marketing expenses upfront and €8,610 at completion of sale)[/alert]

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Selling A €1 Million Property

Then when we come to properties of €1 million or above, you will rarely see a fee greater than 1% unless it’s a special case. With most agencies you will also expect a marketing cost of €1,000 to €2,000. That comes to:

Total Estate Agent Fee: €14,145 (€1,845 in marketing expenses upfront and €12,300 at completion of sale)[/alert]

Estate Agent Fees – Are they worth it?

Although these fees seem hefty on paper, in fact in the grand scheme of things they are fair and proportionate to the transaction taking place. While the smaller €250,000 house will pay just over 2% in fees overall (once you include all the VAT), the €500,000 owner is paying only 1.8% and the €1 million property just 1.4%.

Is your estate agent worth these fees? We hope so. Remember this is likely to be your largest financial transaction in a good few years. Plus this is probably your family home and largest asset. It’s important you have the right advice from an experienced and expert sales agent.

A good agent can make 5% difference to your sale price, more than double their fees!

If you have a good agent, they can make a huge difference in the price you achieve for your home. A good agent can be the difference in getting 5% more for the sale of your property – more than double the cost of their fees.

There is also the benefits of having a good agent you trust and that takes the hassle and stress out of your sale. This is worth a few thousand alone when you are dealing with the sale of an important asset and moving your family to a new home.

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Find Out More:

  • Why you shouldn’t choose the cheapest estate agent
  • The 2 big mistakes people make choosing an estate agent[/alert]

How to save on your estate agency fees?

The first question you should ask is: do you really want to pay lower fees? If your agent’s fee is a percentage of your final sale price, it’s arguably in your best interests to see the largest fee because that means the best sales result for your property. You will walk away with more at the end of the day – rather than trying to scrimp on your agency fees.

One way you can sensibly save money on your agency costs is to choose an agent with no marketing expenses – but that still provided the full marketing service. While some agents won’t charge you marketing expenses, you will get a stripped down service. Except with Churches – we provide the complete marketing package (online, brochures, signboard, professional photography and print advertising) FREE OF CHARGE…

Click here to find out more about selling with Churches Estate Agents…
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Ben Thompson

A qualified Chartered Surveyor with a decade of experience with some of the world's most prestigious property companies, Ben leads our Blackrock sales team and pioneers our marketing platform.