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How Can Estate Agents Justify Raising Fees?

The UK has the lowest agent fee (along with the Netherlands and Singapore) according to Voice of the Agent Survey. Our average agent commission is a tiny 1.3%. Our agents are not being valued or valuing themselves highly enough. Fees have become a race to the bottom. These low fees coupled with excruciatingly high costs of property portals have put estate agents in a difficult position.

Agents need to respect their work, join together  as an industry and raise fees so the client sees the value they offer. Homeowners simply do not appreciate just how much hard work it takes to sell a property.

If your valuers struggle to win an instruction without reducing your fee, are you sure that they’ve had the right training in fee negotiation? There are plenty of strategies agents can employ to articulate the value they provide and justify a fee increase to their clients. Read on to find out what they are.

What is the problem with fees?

“The other agent said he’d accept 0.5%.”

Sound familiar?

How do you react to vendors when they say they’ve found another agent offering a lower fee? Many fear losing the instruction. They end up just folding and agreeing to match the fee.


What you should be doing is standing firm and justifying why your fee is higher. Provide proof. Do you sell the most properties in your patch? Are you the fastest? Do you achieve the highest price? Show the vendor your stats, talk them through what experience you have and what value you offer. Sell yourself with evidence so the client is clear on why you charge more.

Let’s also not forget that when you agree to match to a lower fee, what does that tell the vendor about your negotiation skills? Surely, they’ll now be questioning how well you’ll negotiate their house sale later down the line?


Do all vendors opt for an estate agent with a low fee?

If all vendors were truly driven by the lowest fee, wouldn't online agents have been more successful?

According to the 2022 Property Academy Home Moving Trends Survey, only 11% of sellers listed ‘lowest fee’ in their top five reasons for choosing their estate agent. Only 6% of vendors made their choice based solely on low fees. They surveyed 10,000 homemovers and the top reasons for choosing an agent were ‘Listening to and understanding needs’ at 73% and being ‘courteous and professional’ at 72%.

The truth is that higher fees signal professionalism, expertise and superior service. Many clients will pay a premium for this level of service. If you don’t value the service you offer, how do you expect homemovers to value it? If you can prove your worth, guess what? People will pay you a higher fee!

Take Foxtons. They charge a fee of around 2.3%, which is double some of its competitors. They are able to achieve this because they effectively communicate the worth of their services and vendors are willing to pay.


How can you increase your fees?

  • Demonstrate expertise and market knowledge

Vendors will pay more for an expert. Invest time and resources in staying informed about market trends and industry developments. Positioning yourself as a trusted advisor will instil confidence in clients. People will pay more for a bit of ‘hand-holding’ through the complexities of buying or selling property. Remind the client that if they opt for the cheapest option, they risk their home being on the market for longer.

How many years of experience and knowledge have you built up? Tell the client! Provide them with your background so they can feel confident that you’ll effectively market and sell their home.

Top tip – Share key property market stats on your social media channels to show you’re in the know.


  • Provide a personalised service

Moving home is a huge life event, so if a homemover invites you into their life for this journey, you need to provide value. Tell them what you will do for them to be worthy of a higher fee.

Relocating can also be highly stressful. Estate agents who provide a personalised service and attentive support throughout the process will be valued highly. Build a connection to gain the vendor’s trust. Give them attention and invest time in understanding your client’s needs and concerns. Vendors will pay more when they feel supported, and confident that their agent has their best interests at heart.

This type of personalised service is likely the reason why fees are much higher in countries like Australia and the US. They nurture their leads for weeks, months and years so that the seller feels they have built up a relationship with the agent. As a result of this connection they’ve developed, the fee is then much less of an issue. If you can get to a stage where you are a client’s ‘agent for life’, it becomes easy to get 2%+. How do you do that? By providing a top-notch, personalised service and staying in touch!

Top tip - Send feedback via voice notes on WhatsApp after every viewing. This type of regular communication keeps the client in the loop and displays your commitment to selling their home.


  • Highlight your success stories and results

Your past performance serves as a powerful testimonial of your capabilities. Justify a higher fee by highlighting your track record of achieving favourable outcomes for your clients. Whether it's negotiating a higher selling price, securing a competitive offer, or navigating a challenging transaction, concrete examples of past successes demonstrate the value that you bring to the table.

Top tip – Video testimonials work fantastically. If you can get your satisfied clients to provide one, this type of credible content is much more relatable for prospects.


  • Invest in Marketing

If you offer innovative marketing strategies, you can differentiate yourself from your competitors and justify higher fees.

Up your game and offer the next level of service. There are plenty of ways you can do this, everything from presenting your valuation at the vendor’s home to developing a personalised marketing plan. Provide a point of difference for them to pick you over another agent. Show them that you will invest in their home. You could offer presenter-led video tours of their property, home staging or drone photography. Tell them how you will invest money into selling their property to show them that you’re worth your fee.

Top tip - Don’t wait around for the listing to go live on the property portals – get the property advertised on social media straight away!


Can you raise fees when the market is tough?

Why not? In a tough market, your job becomes even more difficult. There are fewer buyers and those that are in the market, negotiate harder on property prices. Don’t let a tough market put you under pressure to offer a low fee just to secure a listing. You’ll have to work harder and should be paid accordingly for that.


The evidence-based solution to increasing your fees

Your USP should not be ‘low fees.’ The public will only see a difference if you offer a better USP.

Need help finding out your USP? TwentyEA can provide you with the evidence you need to prove you’re worthy of your fees. Through our Insight tool, we provide agents with detailed information on the competitive landscape of their patch. This includes market share, completion timescales and who is over/undervaluing properties. Our Agent Health Report highlights your strengths and what you need to work on. Once you’re armed with statistics and factual data about your average completion time, how accurate your valuations are or what your market share is, you can win vendors over. Use our Spotlight tool to send out bespoke reports that highlight your strengths – this is factual data, not guesswork that can damage your credibility.

Insight also provides valuable market intelligence including the average property price and the number of New Instructions, SSTC and Exchanged properties per calendar month. When you’re well-informed about the market, you’ll build trust in your vendors.

Our Search tool also helps you to present yourself as an expert. It gives you information about 32 million residential properties, including the property type, number of bedrooms and the estimated value thanks to our highly accurate AVM. You’ll have any prospect's property information available to you at the touch of a button.

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Sound good?

Check out our pricing packages that include these tools, as well as our marketing solutions! Our Grow package will help you to get more leads, convert more appraisals and raise your fees. Ideal for 3-10 branch agents, it includes Insight, Spotlight and Search. You’ll also have access to our direct mail marketing, and we’ll set you up with a highly effective mobile marketing campaign.

For agents with up to 10 branches, Grow or Accelerate are our gold-standard product packages.


Don’t let fee objections throw you off your game. If you come to the vendor with solid evidence of your worth, you can justify and receive your fee.