And then tell you that "the market has changed" and try to get you to drop the price by a skip-load. They then get a quick sale [and an earner] and you get shafted.
I had this game selling 3 properties ... eventually found one honest Agent [through a mate]. Everyone is trying the same trick ... sign for a short deal, and howl your head off if they try the trick. I had the MD of one in my house, and told him "We either kill the contract now, or you are all over the local papers. Your call." He killed the contract, and we moved on.
Obviously cheaper is better but.... When we tried to sell our old house the first time I haggled a stunning 1.2%. However, this was ruined by the agent putting absolutely no effort into the sale. A neighbour who agreed 2% (identical house and same agent) had loads of people looking around.
When i was looking into selling my house recently, an agent came to do the valuation, he informed me that becuse they would have no problems selling it, they would reduce their fee from 1.5% to 1% and that was without me even asking for a discount.
Haggle with an agent, and shop around. Play them off against one another, if you can. Remember - they want your business.
Keep a note of exactly what they do to achieve a sale, and look very carefully at their fees bill - which should be fully itemised.
If there is any dispute, a court will uphold your right not to pay them a penny more than they have actually earned. They are obliged to seek actively for a buyer for you. So take no nonsence from pomaded ponces in cheap, flashy suits . . . They are often merely canuteish wide-boys.
Fee's depend upon where your house is and what it's worth. If you can, it could be in your interest to ask for a sliding fee scale ie:
If you put your house on for Â£X but you achieve Â£X plus 25k, the agent gets an increase in the fee but it should also work the other way. When it comes to price, get every singe agent in the area in, take all the valuations and find the average price add 10k, then go with the agent that you had the best feeling about and you give them the price. An agent that just talks at you about the market is not one to go with, they won't have the ability to listen to their purchasers. Be wary of what sounds like a great deal, the good agents don't need to cut great deals!
Also, ask your agent of choice to do block viewings on Saturdays, give them 2 hours when you are out of the house and get them to do all the viewings during the 2 hours. This creates a sense of urgency amongst the purchasers plus you are out of the way which makes people more comfortable. You should also get honest feedback at least every other day, if you're not getting feedback or is the agent is saying just nice things about your home, change agent..... they are lying to you. Not every single person is going to love your house and if it's something major, you need to know.
1% should be easily achievable in the current market. Have you considered cutting out estate agents all together? As nearly 90% of sales are researched online first there are plenty of sites now doing all the work for very low fees (in comparison). It depends if you have the time to put in a bit of effort.
Oh and it goes without saying that anyone involved in the whole housing buying/selling trade will advise against it, how else do they finance their own mortgages.
A friend of mine didn't even go that far, he stuck a "for sale" sign up with a phone number. Sold within a week. Admittedly it was a very desirable location but saved him a packet.