No Upfront Fees Online Estate Agents – Are They Worth It?


Using a ‘No Sale, No Fee’ online estate agent sounds like an amazing concept. But the problem is, paying only on completion comes at a cost (which many people don’t realise)!

In this blog post I take a look at the top ‘No Sale, No Fee’ online estate agents, and discuss whether they’re worth stumping up the extra cash for!

In short, I don’t think they’re worth it – find out why, and what my preferred alternative suggestions are…

No sale, no fee estate agent

Yup, Online Estate Agents are continuing to gather momentum – and to the utter disappointment of most high-street agents – it doesn’t seem like they’ll die a painful death anytime soon.

So, for now, we still have the luxury of choosing between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’, or ‘cheaper’ and ‘expensive’- depending on how you look at it – when selling our home.

Both methods have their own set of pros of cons, which you’re probably already familiar with. One of the major criticisms of the online model is that we have to pay a fee- usually upfront- regardless of whether we sell our property or not. Meanwhile, traditional high-street agents only charge a fee, a substantially greater fee in comparison, once the property has been sold.

For all intents and purposes, that’s a pretty good reason not to use an online agent, even if they are considerably cheaper.

High-street agents 1, Online estate agents 0!

In the spirit of keeping the fight alive, many of the online agents have started to swing their arms a little more aggressively in an attempt to even up the score. Yup, they’ve started offering ‘No sale, no fee’ packages, which means sellers don’t need to pay upfront fees until a sale is achieved.

High-street agents 1, Online estate agents 1!

List of recommended ‘No sale, no fee’ online estate agents

Estate AgentRatingDurationIncludes / NotesPrice
Rating

4.9

TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Until Sold
Includes / Notes

No Sale, No Fee package
  • Until Sold marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • Negotiation
  • For sale sign
  • No sale, no fee
  • 12 weeks Sole Agency contract

*£949 for properties in London within M25 (£999 without discount code)

Price £749Inc VAT
Normal price: £799

Discount available
Visit Website£50 Discount Code: Spring
Rating

4.9

TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
6 Months
Includes / Notes

No Sale, No Fee package
  • 6 Months marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • Negotiation
  • For sale sign
  • No sale, no fee
Price £1799Inc VAT
Normal price: £1999

Discount available
Visit Website10% Discount Code: PIP10
Rating

4.7

TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
12 Months
Includes / Notes

No Sale, No Fee package
  • 12 Months marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • Negotiation
  • For sale sign
  • In-person valuation
  • No sale, no fee
  • 16 weeks Sole Agency contract

*Selling fee of £2,999 £2,899 in a few specific London postcodes.

Price £1899Inc VAT
Normal price: £1999

Discount available
Visit WebsiteBook Free In-Person Valuation£100 Discount Code: HoHoHo100

BUT WAIT!!! THE CATCH…

Yes, there is a catch!

Agents charge a premium for the privilege of paying only on completion (i.e. when your property is sold), and that means you can find the exact same packages (with zero extra features and services) for a lot less! The agents really don’t make that entirely clear! Of course, that shouldn’t be surprising at all.

Here’s what the same packages offered by the same agents charge when you pay upfront…

Estate AgentRatingDurationIncludes / NotesPrice
Rating

4.9

TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
6 Months
Includes / Notes

DIY package
  • 6 Months marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • For sale sign
Price £517.5Inc VAT
Normal price: £575

Discount available
Visit Website10% Discount Code: PIP10
Rating

4.9

TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Until Sold
Includes / Notes

No Sale, No Fee package
  • Until Sold marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • Negotiation
  • For sale sign
  • No sale, no fee
  • 12 weeks Sole Agency contract

*£949 for properties in London within M25 (£999 without discount code)

Price £749Inc VAT
Normal price: £799

Discount available
Visit Website£50 Discount Code: Spring
Rating

4.7

TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
12 Months
Includes / Notes

Standard package
  • 12 Months marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Photograghs
  • Floorplan
  • Negotiation
  • For sale sign
  • In-person valuation

*Selling fee of £1,399 £1,299 in a few specific London postcodes.

Price £789Inc VAT
Normal price: £889

Discount available
Visit WebsiteBook Free In-Person Valuation£100 Discount Code: HoHoHo100

My very initial thoughts? It’s terribly appealing to only pay a fee if a sale is achieved, even if it costs a little extra. I can see why people would, and do, opt for the eye-candy.

But then.

I actually thought about the situation for more than a 10 seconds, and I realised… that’s all it is, eye-candy! While I wouldn’t discourage anyone from opting for a “No sale, no fee” package, I have to say that it rubs my tits the wrong way that these agents are charging a lot more for a package without actually adding a single iota of extra value.

You seem to get the same bang for your buck in terms of service, despite paying a shitload more.

Nope, not even an insulting novelty fun size toy that’s worth pennies to help absorb the blow. Of course, a shitty toy imported from China wouldn’t make me feel any better, but at least they’d be trying. As it stands, you’re literally having to agree to paying nearly DOUBLE if a sale is achieved. Seems like daylight robbery to me.

From the business perspective, I get it. However, from the consumer perspective, it’s bullshit, and I don’t give a crap about the business perspective.

Aren’t they simply saying, “Pay us extra for doing our job, or pay us less in case we don’t do our job”?

Should you opt for a ‘No sale, no fee’ package?

If you only want to pay if you actually sell your property and you don’t mind being temporary locked into a “sole agency contract” (which is something like 99% of high-street agents lock you into), then absolutely. Go for it. You have nothing to lose.

However, my only word of caution is to be wary; do the maths first, because in some cases, depending on the value of the property and which online agent you choose, it can actually be cheaper to use a high-street agent, who provide a ‘no sale, no fee’ model by default.

Traditional high street estate agent fees drastically vary, typically between 1% – 3%, some even charge less.

The whole point of using an online agent is to save thousands on fees, so if you’re not doing that, you may want to reconsider your plan of action. Personally, unless I’m literally saving thousands, I can’t see the value in using an online agent. I feel like some of them are getting greedy and losing their way.

The cheapest online estate agents, are they worth a punt instead?

I recently wrote a blog post covering the cheapest online estate agents (which I highly recommend you read if you’re in the midst of weighing up your options), and it was mostly about the following two agents:

Estate AgentRatingDurationIncludes / NotesPrice
Rating

4.9

TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Until Sold
Includes / Notes

Standard package
  • Until Sold marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Negotiation
Price £94Inc VAT
Normal price: £99

Discount available
Visit Website5% Discount Code: HomePIP5
Rating

4.8

TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Until Sold
Includes / Notes

Standard package
  • Until Sold marketing on Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Negotiation
  • For sale sign
Price £99Inc VAT
Normal price: £159

Discount available
Visit WebsiteFree "For Sale" sign with Discount Code: NOV19

Yup, you can currently privately sell your property on Rightmove on Zoopla for as little as £94. Mind-blowing, I know. But those deals are legit.

Without entirely rewriting what’s in that blog post, I made the point that you shouldn’t really use an online agent for personal and impeccable customer service (because there’ a good chance you’ll be sorely disappointed), but more so as a vehicle to get your property listed on Rightmove & Zoopla in order to generate leads. That’s it.

So I offer you the following food for thought: instead of splashing out on a ‘no sale, no fee’ package with an online agent, maybe you’d be wiser to gamble on one of the two cheapest online estate agent packages, which provide Rightmove & Zoopla listings.

Worse case scenario? You pay £94 – £99 and don’t get a sale.

Not exactly ‘end of the world’ stuff.

So, what do you think?

On a sidenote, I personally favour 99home, because their service is awesome, even though they charge peanuts.

List of online estate agents

If you’re interested, here’s a more complete list of online estate agents, which allow for better comparisons.

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