When you're shortlisting potential agents to help you sell your property, one of the most important deciding factors is their costs. There are two key agent costs to consider – fees and commission.
Generally, the fees involved when hiring a real estate agent are designed to cover their costs for advertising and marketing your property, while their commission is a percentage of the sale price that they get for your property.
The average commission real estate agents charge varies between states and between metro vs. regional areas – the lowest is about 1.6% and the highest about 4%. Across the country the average charge is around 2% to 2.5% of the sale price of your home, or from $10,000 to $12,500 when selling a $500,000 house. Marketing costs usually come on top of this, and can also vary a lot – from around $500 into the thousands – depending on how far you want to reach and how diverse you need the advertising to be.
But agents don't all structure their fees in the same way. Some include the cost of advertising in the commission and quote a higher rate, while others will use a ‘sliding scale' or ‘tiered' commission, say 2% on the first $860,000, and 5% on anything above that, which acts as an incentive to work harder for a higher sale price (a practice quite common on more expensive properties).
Use our commissions calculator to estimate how much commission you'd be paying on the sale of your home.
What's important to remember from all this is that commission structures are flexible. In fact, it's common to negotiate, especially since there is no longer any legal regulation of commission percentages for the real estate industry.
For this reason, it's important to ask potential agents all about their commission structure when you first interview them, or when you have OpenAgent pre-screen them for you. Then you can compare apples with apples when deciding on the right agent.
Real Estate Agents VIC
Victoria's regional property markets have experienced slow but steady growth over the past few years, and Melbourne is considered to be Australia's most resilient property market. Selling in such a healthy environment, you should be getting the best possible price for your property and OpenAgent can help you find the real estate agent who can do it.
Our online database includes reviews on almost 1,000 Victorian agents, and details on more than 100,000 recently sold Victorian properties. Access to this information will allow you to review local agents in your area, and compare their sales records with the average sale price to find the agent who will work the hardest for you.
Why use OpenAgent?
The vast majority of today's home sellers use the Internet when they are searching for a real estate agent. They look for information on the person or company who will be representing their interests before they make a commitment. Unfortunately in the past, that information has been hard to find and time consuming to collect
Enter OpenAgent. We saw a gap in the real estate market and set about filling it by building an online tool that would do the research for you. We provide you with the information you need about those you are entrusting with your property. Our agent profiles include sales records, prices achieved, and testimonials from satisfied customers, as well as provide unique insights about agents that a formal company website can't reveal.
We also understand that budget is an essential factor for those selling their home, which is why choosing an agent with the best fees and commission to suit your needs is crucial.
The OpenAgent team have backgrounds in a range of different fields including real estate, business and IT, and our common goal is to create a winwin environment in Australian real estate, where those agents with highly satisfied clients are celebrated and rewarded. So whether you're in Melbourne, Geelong, Shepparton, Ballarat or Bendigo, if you want the right agent to sell your property, why not take advantage of our free service now.
Find an agent in Victoria now
Whether you live in regional Victoria or metropolitan Melbourne, we have lots of agents from your particular area in our database. Feel free to have a browse and compare at your leisure. If you need some advice or have a question, give Australia's number one real estate agent comparison website a call on 13 24 34.
Are cheap agents worth it?
It may be tempting to go with the agent who charges a lower commission. However, something very important to remember is that you'll usually be far better off with the best real estate agent rather than the cheapest.
Comparing cheap and expensive agents, the difference in final selling prices far outweighs the differences in agent commissions – that's because selling your property for a much higher price means more money in your pocket, even with a higher commission. Hence it's usually well worth the money to go with an agent who will work hard for you and has a proven sales record of delivering on promises.
Negotiating fees with agents
Once you've researched and shortlisted potential agents using OpenAgent's free service, the next step is to interview the top 2 or 3 agents personally. Here are our top tips for negotiating fees and getting the right agent on board.
- Ask each agent what their commission is, and don't be shy – let them know you'll be comparing them against one another. This way you might be able to get an agent you like more to “price match” against a competitor.
- If you want a record price for your house, don't expect an agent to drop their fee. Record prices require much more work, and you'll obviously have to pay a premium on it.
- Consider asking for a sliding scale rate structure (like the sliding commission discussed earlier). The idea is to incentivise the agent to secure you a better selling price.
- Don't just settle for the agent with the cheapest commission. As already discussed, more often than not you get what you pay for.
- To make sure you're comparing like with like, include the advertising fees in your cost estimates, since they may or may not be included in an agent's quoted commission.
- Don't forget that if your house is worth more than average, you can probably negotiate with the agent on a lower commission rate.
- When it comes to negotiations don't be shy – haggle on all the fees and costs. Of course the agents won't tell you this, but everything is negotiable.
- Lastly, make sure you get all fees and costs in writing from the word go. That way you won't be left high and dry when it comes to selling time.
Don't have the time or enough information to start interviewing agents?
Don't worry, OpenAgent can do all the tricky homework for you. A free service we offer is to pre-screen shortlisted agents for you. We'll then pass on the relevant information to you to help you narrow down your options as simply as possible.
Final cost tips
Here are some final tips on costs you'll need to factor in, to help you budget and choose the right real estate agent to sell your property. It's a good idea to understand all of these potential costs so there are no nasty surprises as you go!
- Advertising and marketing fees
Since not all real estate agents include marketing and advertising costs in their commission structure, it's smart to prepare for these costs in your calculations when budgeting for the sale of your property.
Based on the premise that your home is worth $500,000, the recommended budget for advertising and marketing is typically around $2,000-$5,000.
- Unconditional commission
It's common for a real estate contract to state that the commission payable is unconditional once the sale is complete, which is when contracts have been exchanged. This means that you will be liable for the commission even if the sale falls through prior to settlement, so it's recommended that the buyer's deposit is at least the figure of your agent's commission so you don't end up out of pocket.
You should also have your solicitor review all agent contracts prior to signing to ensure the clauses stated are reasonable.
A GST figure of 10% is required for all real estate transactions, and this will be in addition to any real estate agent commission charged.
- Auctioneer fees
Selling your property at auction requires paying an auctioneer's fee. Because most real estate agents are not registered auctioneers, this cost is most often considered as separate to your real estate agent's fees.
You can expect an auctioneer to cost, on average, around $400.
Other selling costs to consider
- Conveyancer or solicitor fees
Many people are surprised to learn that you need a conveyancer or solicitor not only when you are buying a house, but also when you are selling. This is because all of the same legal processes to be completed when buying must also be performed when selling your home.
You should put aside about $800 for these costs.
- Mortgage discharge fee
If you still have a mortgage when you sell your house, you can usually expect to be charged a fee by your bank for the paperwork involved in discharging the mortgage.
These fees vary between institutions and home loan terms, but around $1,000 is a good rule of thumb.
- Pre-sale renovations
Even if you're not planning on doing major renovations before you sell, you should put a little bit of your budget aside for small touch-ups to ensure your property is presented at its best. For example, doing things like painting trims, changing handles and taps, planting new flora in the garden, fixing cracks etc. will help get you the best possible sale price.
Open Agent recommends that you budget around $1,000 for such work.
Once you sell your home you, naturally you have to move out, so you should always include the cost of moving all your furniture and belongings in your budget.
As a general rule this will cost about $800.
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