The pro’s and con’s of differing estate agency models.

There are many options for you to choose from when selling a property.  They range from a DIY service to a fully fledged bells and whistles offering from a local expert; and near about everything between.  The hard thing to work out is deciphering who is who when each estate agency model claims to offer the best value.  So how do you decide?

As an estate agency owner, working out how to pitch our business without compromising on the key important parts is really quite a challenge.  We fit really well with people that want a very honest, incredibly high quality service from an expert they can count on and trust.  That doesn’t actually fit with everyone.  A fair number of people simply want a no-frills service and to make their own decisions.  Some people simply feel far more comfortable when having as little contact as possible with an estate agent.  Some just wish to pay as little as possible.

When I first started Mr Green (nearly 6 years ago) I did a trial run at selling property for £995 + vat as a fixed fee.  This was at a time when the overheads for Mr Green were about 1/10th what they are now.  It was cheap and for those that know me, I can’t help but try my best for every client, so they had as much of my time as was necessary to sell the property.  I stopped the pricing structure as no matter how I tried to make it work I simply couldn’t make it profitable without sacrificing on service and more importantly some truly key parts of ensuring you sell a property for the best price.

So which model fits what types of people?

The low fee estate agency.

Upfront, after, mid-way or part and part, if the fee is low, there is a reason as to why it’s low.  You can’t get something for nothing.  But you can get nothing for something, which is why this route is particularly attractive to some people.


  • It’s cheap.
  • Full coverage on property portals.
  • Lots of control over the process yourself.
  • No pressure once on the market.

Con’s – unfortunately there are some.

  • Don’t expect the best price.  There will be very little (if any) advice or expertise going in to the marketing other than your own.
  • Photos will mostly be poor.
  • Buyers aren’t checked prior to viewings (high volume, low quality)
  • Offers aren’t checked properly, so the fall through rate on sales is very high.
  • No sales chasing done.  If you want this moving along, you’re on your own.
  • No advice post sale.
  • If the property doesn’t sell, don’t expect any advice or work from the agent to help get things going.
  • If you don’t sell, you’ll likely still have to pay the fee.

Choosing a big estate agency.

There’s a certain level of security that people feel when dealing with a long established, big estate agency with many offices.  I personally find them very hit and miss.


  • Lots of staff.
  • High street office for you to visit.
  • Full market coverage.
  • Only pay if they successfully sell your property.


  • Restrictive contracts.
  • Valuations can be wayward.
  • Expensive.
  • Poor photography.
  • Heavily target-driven staff, so can be quite high pressure.
  • Staff turnover is high.
  • Added services they sell aren’t always great.

Independent estate agency

There is a real mixed bunch in this category and they’re really in the same bracket as the above.


  • Only pay if they successfully sell your property.
  • Local
  • Smaller teams so familiarity builds.
  • Reliant on reputation, so service is often friendlier.
  • Likely more competitive on their fee.
  • Not so target driven, so less pressurised service.
  • Will often deal with the business owner.
  • Will receive more advice.


  • Marketing is often to a poor standard.
  • Can still have restrictive contracts.
  • Cost is medium to high for the service.
  • Valuations can be wayward.


If you look at each type of estate agency, there will be things that fit and things that don’t for differing people.  Often it comes down to who you as the client feel most comfortable with.  Standards and ethos varies from agency to agency regardless of category and it will be the people in each estate agency that makes it work or not for you.

Selling houses is a marketing and people business.