We have had our house on the market with a local estate agent since January. We have in the interim secured a private sale, not through another agent, completely privately. This came about as we wanted to buy her house, put a note through her door (expecting nothing to come of it) and she called back, and by coincidence said she needed to downsize and wondered if we would be interested in a swap.
She has never looked at our house on rightmove, never spoke to the estate agent, was not even looking to move house (very immediate divorce so only just getting round to thinking about sorting the house situation out), and we don't have a board up.
The estate agent says he is still due his fee.
The contracts says we have to pay if contracts are exchanged: 1. with a purchaser introduced by the agent 2. with a purchaser who has been in negotiations with the agent 3. with a purchaser introduced by another agent (it's a sole agency agreement)
Is this worth us fighting over or should we just pay up? I feel that as they had no involvement at all, and due to the unusual way the sale came about (which can to some extent be backed up by computer files etc.), they are not due anything except the 'withdrawal fee'.
The agent is not due his fee according to the terms of your contract. Pay the withdrawal fee and nothing else. The agent doesn't have a leg to stand on without evidence that he introduced you to the purchaser.
The withdrawal fee is £200 for us to end the contract (i.e. take it off the market). This would be due whether or not we had a private sale, and in all fairness, is to cover their administration of e.g. the details brochures, website marketing, arranging the few viewings we had etc. We're more than happy to pay this!
Thanks for replies, I thought he was trying it on! Trying to get to CAB tomorrow morning for back-up, then going to draft an initial 'here's your £200, don't even think about going for the rest' letter.