I’ve had a debate on Twitter this morning about estate agency fees. Again.

It stemmed from some analysis eMoov.co.uk has done on what the industry habitually charges property sellers. We estimate that, in London for instance, the equivalent hourly rate that agents charge is far higher than lawyers, doctors, plumbers etc. In fact higher than just about any industry that we can find. It’s £774 by our reckoning given that a transaction takes about ten actual hours to conclude in all.

The research that we did has now been featured in a dozen or so publications including the Mail Online; FT Adviser; Money Week and the Independent. And has caused quite a stir in the property industry with, in the main, estate agents rushing to defend their significant fees, typically £7,000 plus in London but with the substantial consumer standpoint being that agents are totally unjustified in charging people so much to sell a house. You’ll easily guess which side of this debate we are most comfortable siding with given that we are a low cost fixed fee estate agent that charges just £395 plus vat regardless of property value or location. Fair fees.

I quite understand that the property profession will seek to defend its fees. Its very livelihood is at stake after all. And that it will jump to justify why, in 98% of cases according to the Homeowners Alliance, it hides its fees and terms and conditions from public view.

But perhaps it’s about time that this was properly challenged. In public. Where the stakes are meaningful.

So, if as a property industry heavyweight with a high fees is ‘best’ philosophy, you fancy a head to head with me filmed on You Tube for all to see, just let me know at russell.quirk@eMoov.co.uk and we’ll set it up at a mutually agreeable location.

Yes, this is a gauntlet. Pistols at dawn and all that.

We’ll publish the debate on You Tube for a month and promote it with a survey question alongside it asking ‘Are conventional estate agency commission fees justifiable nowadays?’

The loser pays £1000 to Shelter, the homelessness charity.

Ladies and gentlemen of the estate agency industry, take this as a glove across the face. In the nicest possible way.

 

Russell Quirk

Founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk

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