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AIBU to not pay this Estate Agent a fee?

(34 Posts)
tigerbear Sat 03-Sep-16 11:10:08

I'll try to explain as clearly and briefly as possible:
- I made an offer an a house without mine being on the market yet, so relayed to the agent that I'd understand if the vendor didn't accept my offer until I had mine on market (this agent told me what their fees would be - 1.5% - to go on market with them. I said in an email that their fees were too high, and I'd be looking to instruct an online agent who charge flat fee of £1200
- Agent called the next day to say that the vendor had come up with a solution - that they would buy my flat to let out as an investment, effectively making the whole process chain free and allow us both to progress immediately. I was obviously delighted but at that point was trying to get my head round the whole thing (my 5 year old DD had also been diagnosed with Strep-A that day too and I was a bit stressed). I asked the agent what would happen with fees and he said they'd charge me 1% instead of 1.5. At this point I did think it was a bit cheeky and too much, but didn't query it
- Since then, I did the photos and property information myself to email to the buyer, I showed it to them when they came to view. At this point I realised that the EA would pretty much be charging me a fee for doing nothing, so he'd be asking for £4,800. So I told the buyer to contact me direct if he wanted to make an offer, which he did, and we agreed on a price.
- I've emailed the EA to say I don't think he's done anything to warrant a fee of £4,800, considering he's never set foot in my flat, hasn't marketed it, hasn't done photos or floor plans. He'd be benefiting purely by circumstance, and is obviously already making a fee on his commission of selling their house to me, and will also benefit by being the letting agent of my flat, when mines sold as a buy to let.

Hope that all makes sense: in short, my property has never been on the market with him and I've never signed a contract. AIBU to pay him nothing?

He's now asking for a compromise of £1,000 plus VAT, since I told him he's done nothing to warrant a fee.

Skittlesss Sat 03-Sep-16 11:12:38

I don't think they've done anything either... but I don't know the ins and outs of the law regards this.

Mouikey Sat 03-Sep-16 11:13:20

Did you sign a contract with the EA for selling your property? No? Then I don't believe you have to offer him anything as he has no written contract to come back with - the EA probably knows this as he has reduced his fee significantly. If you so wish you could offer £500 all in as an introductory fee but I don't think you would need to.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Sat 03-Sep-16 11:15:10

Your initial contact was through the agent, right? He/she "brokered" the initial arrangement about the house swop?

I would personally feel that some form of payment was due. But I speak as someone who has ever only bought one property, and never sold.

TaterTots Sat 03-Sep-16 11:16:28

I'm amazed he's offered a compromise to be honest. Not typical estate agent behaviour!

How well does the deal work for you? If it's perfect in all other ways, I'd be tempted to bite the bullet and cough up £1200. After all, you're saving money as you won't have to pay another agent a fee to sell yours. On the other hand, the fact that he's negotiating suggests he doesn't want to queer the deal either. You could dig your heels in - but if things fall through you'll end up having to find a new buyer and paying a bigger fee.

chitofftheshovel Sat 03-Sep-16 11:16:33

I would have thought that you have no obligation to pay the EA.

So no, based on what you've said yanbu to not pay, and I wouldn't either.

Sunnymeg Sat 03-Sep-16 11:16:56

I believe that if the sale came about as a result of the estate agent 's involvement then you do have to pay, whether or not your property was actively marketed. Presumably as he acted as an intermediary, he can claim that he had sufficient involvement to expect a fee. I am happy to be proved wrong though

ethelb Sat 03-Sep-16 11:17:08

If there was no contract you don't owe him anything.

You have already done him a favour by buying the flat through him anyway. He should be grateful not greedy.

Report this shit to the regulator though. It's not ok.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Sat 03-Sep-16 11:17:08

If you so wish you could offer £500 all in as an introductory fee but I don't think you would need to.

That sounds fair to me. smile I'm thinking in terms of moral obligation, not legal.

I wouldn't feel comfortable not offering anything.

Boogers Sat 03-Sep-16 11:17:34

What Mouikey said. And they wonder why estate agents have a bad reputation...

ethelb Sat 03-Sep-16 11:20:07

Moral obligation to an estate agent who has tried to charge nearly £5k for doing something he wasn't asked to do that was is his own interest anyway? hmm

God MN is WEIRD about housing.

tigerbear Sat 03-Sep-16 11:21:38

No, absolutely no contract signed, due to the fact that I never asked him to sell my property! I went to him as a BUYER not a seller. The vendor came up with a solution, not him.

It's true that he's been an intermediary, but come on, £1k plus VAT to copy and paste two or three emails?
As someone up thread pointed out, I've done him a favour by buying the house he's had to market for 3 months...

tigerbear Sat 03-Sep-16 11:24:06

So if I were to pay him this fee, he'd be profiting from the deal four times - the fee he's asking me for, the commission he's getting for selling the house, the fee to find a tenant for the flat once I've sold it, and an ongoing management fee for letting the flat out. He's making more than enough from it!

ethelb Sat 03-Sep-16 11:24:09

Don't pay the man a penny and cc him into the email you send to the regulator and trading standards about his misleading and userous business practice.

That is the only moral obligation imo.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Sat 03-Sep-16 11:25:21

Moral obligation to an estate agent who has tried to charge nearly £5k for doing something he wasn't asked to do that was is his own interest anyway? hmm

Ok, maybe I am a soft touch. confused £500 seemed fair to me in the circumstances, not £5k.

Hufflepuffin Sat 03-Sep-16 11:26:04

Hmm. The thing is he may well act as an intermediary while you actually sell (our agent has). As the deal seems good for you in other ways i would probably offer to pay £1000 inc vat. Or look up the cheapest online estate agent and offer that.

But you don't have to, you wouldn't be unreasonable not to. But we nearly did a private sale and I am SO GLAD we didn't because our agent has been his weight in gold chasing the buyers etc.

tigerbear Sat 03-Sep-16 11:28:24

Sunnymeg - but the deal didn't come about through the result of the EA's involvement. It was proposed as an idea by the vendor, not him.

ethelb Sat 03-Sep-16 11:29:01

Verybitchyrestingface, a soft touch? I think you are deluded.

There is no reason at all for this man to be given anything other than a dressing down by Trading Standards.

Do you normally give vast sums of money to crooks just because they asked for it? And than back them up when they try to abuse other people?

tigerbear Sat 03-Sep-16 11:30:01

Huffle - but wouldn't any queries from now on be dealt with by the solicitor or indeed directly between both parties? The vendor and I have each other's numbers and email addresses - the agent need not be involved at from now on.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Sat 03-Sep-16 11:32:10

Verybitchyrestingface, a soft touch? I think you are deluded.

Maybe! grin. Or maybe I've misunderstood the OP somehow?

But I note there are other posters on this thread suggesting even higher sums to hand over so at least I'm not the only one.

tigerbear Sat 03-Sep-16 11:34:30

Ethelb - exactly!!
I also feel he's trying to take advantage as I'm a woman buying/selling alone. He's quite old school, in his late 50's/60's and I'm 38 but look a lot younger and I think I sometimes get people trying it on because of this.
I may be wrong but I doubt he'd try this with a single man or a couple.

Also, he's taking the piss with trying to make it look like they were doing me a favour by initially stating 1% instead of their usual fee of 1.5, as a friend of mine recently sold through him and negotiated down to 1.3.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Sat 03-Sep-16 11:34:43

The vendor and I have each other's numbers and email addresses - the agent need not be involved at from now on.

How did you acquire the vendor's contact details?

Were they listed in the spec?

Did the EA give you the contact info and tell you and the vendor to sort out the fine detail between yourselves?

JudyCoolibar Sat 03-Sep-16 11:36:07

I believe that if the sale came about as a result of the estate agent 's involvement then you do have to pay, whether or not your property was actively marketed

Only if you have officially placed the house for sale with that EA and entered into a contract with him.

EA is getting commission from the vendor for the sale of that property. He's actually had to do less work than normal, because if the vendor hadn't come up with this idea then the EA would have had to do much more liaison with you to see how your sale was going, and presumably would have continued to market the property to other people. So you and the vendor have actually saved him work.

tigerbear Sat 03-Sep-16 11:37:50

I've copied and pasted his most recent email:

In terms of the fees, in fairness to try and justify any fee is very difficult as our fees are calculated on a straight percentage basis regardless of the work involved so whether it takes us 1 day or 6 months to sell a property it remains the same, it is of course on a no sale no fee basis, naturally I have many cases where I am instructed on a low key basis so no details are produced and we merely contact a few applicants who might be interested. I really want to move this forward for you so if we said we would charge a fixed fee of £1000 plus vat to cover our time and costs would you see that as fair?, I would stress that we will be acting for you as well and progressing both your sale and purchase so wouldn’t want you to think we will be doing nothing!.


tigerbear Sat 03-Sep-16 11:40:21

Verybitchy - the EA forwarded me emails from the vendor and admitted he'd just copied and pasted emails from both sides, so they could see my address and vice versa. When I did the photos myself and wrote the summary of the property myself, he just forwarded it on to them.

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