Why you should think twice before paying estate agents fees 'up front'.

The decline of the High Street in the UK has been forecast for many, many years, but thankfully here in Worle we still have a busy and bustling High Street, as witnessed by the fantastic turn out on Friday night for the Worle Street Fair. A really good night was had by all and if you missed it, make sure that you don't next year (including the free mince pies and mulled wine from Iles and Jenkin if you get there early enough).

The move away from High Street estate agents towards online-only estate agents has also been well documented, however, given reports this week that one of the largest online estate agencies (Emoov) has gone into administration, we feel it is important for sellers to review how they use these agents if they choose to do so.

Most of these agents work on the basis that you pay at least some, if not all, of their fee upfront. Even if they offer you a deferred payment option, you will find that you have signed a credit agreement and that at some point you will receive a demand for payment, whether your house has sold or not. That's right, whether they have sold your house OR NOT!

So, stop and pause for a moment. What other service or product would you ever consider agreeing to pay up front for, regardless of whether the work was carried out or not? Would you pay for your car to be repaired, and then leave it to chance that the garage actually fixed it for you? Would you pay for a painter and decorator to come along and decorate your home, and then just keep your finger's crossed that they showed up? No? Then why would you part with your hard earned money to an agent who promises to sell your home - but who just as likely may not sell it?

Under Consumer Protection Regulations at the very worst you may be expected to pay for a product before it is dispatched to you, but if the contract was to supply you with a product and it doesn't arrive, then you would be protected in law and would have the right to claim your money back.

However, with estate agency, this is not the same. Your money up front only really pays for that online agent to advertise your property with absolutely no guarantee of a sale. There isn't even a guarantee that you will get any service from them and in fact, you may never hear from them again, as once you have paid your money there is absolutely no incentive for them to do much more for you as they have been paid - whether they sell your home or not!

We at 'Iles and Jenkin' do not operate on this basis. You only pay us when we are successful in giving you what you want, which is to sell your property! So, our advice is NEVER pay an estate agent up front, only pay for performance and for getting the job done. Thank you for reading!

Sue Iles