Estate agents charge more than lawyers

5 March 2014

High street estate agents charge more per hour than lawyers, private doctors and personal trainers, new figures reveal.

In some cases, traditional estate agents are charging an eye-watering £774 an hour for their services.

That figure is based on a high street agent taking just five hours to sell a property and charging commission of 1.6% on the average 2013 selling price, which was £242,000.

While the sky-high figures have been put together by low-cost online agent as an effective marketing opportunity, its assertion that the numbers are mindboggling seem fair – especially when they frequently climb much higher.

For example, some well-known high street agents charge commission of 2.5% of the sale price. So based on five hours of selling time, that would be well over £1,000 an hour.

And where property prices exceed £1 million - a common occurrence in London and other parts of the South East – the hourly fee can be anything up to £5,000.

Rising house prices are nudging fees higher, points out Paula Higgins, chief executive of consumer group HomeOwners Alliance.

“The sharp rise in house prices means absolute fees (which have stayed steady in percentage terms) have risen dramatically, even though the amount of work hasn’t,” she told Moneywise. 

“Anyone thinking of selling their home must do their research to understand the fees quoted and haggle – this could save you thousands of pounds. Aim for 1% + VAT.”

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"Typical high street estate agents are charging vendors extortionate fees for a service that is relatively straightforward," said Russell Quirk, founder of  

Online agents are able to significantly undercut the cost of high street agents with most charging between £300 and £600.

Of course, the process of selling a home involves more than just uploading photos to a property website and landing a buyer.

There could be a chain of buyers to deal with, not to mention the lawyers or if anything goes wrong. These are all things high street agents are used to helping with so there are pros and cons to going down the low-cost online route.

Hourly rates

Estate Agent 774
Lawyer 500
Private Doctor 250
Psychologist 165
Personal Trainer 150
Plumber 90
Electrician 90
Hairdresser 80
Dentist 60
Physiotherapist 55
Vet 33

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