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Costs vs. Fees – What’s the difference?

What is a Home Report?

It is not uncommon for people to say that their estate agent charged them such and such to sell their home and that indeed will be the total costs of selling. But it is perhaps worth explaining the differences between the third-party costs in selling your home and the fees paid to the estate agent or solicitor estate agent.

What are the third part costs?

The costs of selling your home fall into two categories – those costs that are paid up front (ie. before the start of marketing) and those that are paid at the end (ie. once the sale is completed).

The Upfront Costs:

These are the costs which have to be paid before your property can be marketed and briefly these are:

  • The cost of the Home Report
  • The cost of the ESPC marketing fee
  • The cost of the photos, floor plan and video
  • The cost of the printed schedule

For the average property with a value of around £150,000 the upfront costs work out at about £1,100 but the costs will vary as some of the costs (for example the cost of the Home Report) varies depending on the value of your property. Some solicitors and estate agents might also charge you a marketing fee and/or make a charge for the cost of the For Sale board. This is not something we at Cameron Stephen and Co. do.

So, as you can see, the initial upfront costs are not cheap but it is worth bearing in mind that as your solicitor estate agent, although we ask you to send us the funds to meet these upfront costs, none of the funds are kept by us as fees.

The Final Costs:

The final costs which are paid at the end of the sale process and usually taken from the proceeds from the sale of your home are mostly costs involved in the Conveyancing part of the sale process and these are generally:

Registers of Scotland get paid for the Advance Notice and the registration dues on the Discharge of the Standard Security for your existing mortgage = £70

The cost of the usual search reports = £145

Those are the standard costs but sometimes additional costs are incurred and typically these might include:

  • The cost of a Coal Authority Report if your property is located in an area where there has been coal mining in the past
  • The cost of a Plans Report from Registers of Scotland if the title to your property is not yet registered in the Land Register of Scotland
  • The cost of obtaining missing title deeds or alterations documents

The Fees

And finally there are the fees payable to your estate agent or estate agent solicitor. It is only usually at the end of the sale process that the fees for the Estate Agency services, and the Legal Services to complete the conveyancing, are paid to your solicitor.

Transparency about Fees and Costs:

So, as you can see, it can be quite expensive to sell your property in Edinburgh.

The good news is that we at Cameron Stephen Solicitors & Estate Agents Edinburgh charge a fixed fee for our estate agency service and a fixed fee for our legal services and we think that these fees offer great value for money. Before you instruct us, we shall give you full details of the fees and the other costs involved so that you have a clear understanding of what the total costs are expected to be.

Of course we cannot always guarantee that there will be no additional costs incurred but we shall always let you know if those costs need to be incurred as soon as we discover that they are required.

Some things to consider…

When you are thinking of selling your home and invite a few estate agents or solicitor estate agents round to give you a valuation and an idea of their fees and costs, here are some things to bear in mind:

  • If they are charging you a marketing fee, ask what this covers and why it is not included in their estate agency fee?
  • If they are charging you for the For Sale board, ask why this is not included in their estate agency fee?
  • Ask them if they charge extra for a viewing service
  • Ask them if the photos will be done by professionals
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