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Richard Cleaver, head of sales at residential estate agency, Shouler & Son, believes that only a local estate agent, with boots on the ground, can make the case for both types of fee.

Buying and selling property, plus the process of moving itself, are times of great expense. The temptation to reduce costs by selecting an agency who only charges fixed fees to sellers - and, in most instances, these are virtual agents who only operate online and remotely - may be difficult to resist.

There is a case for fixed fees but not for every property sale and in every market circumstance.

Buying a home is probably the biggest consumer purchase most of us are ever likely to make in our lifetimes. It’s a big investment and we arrive at the decision of which house is for us through a thought process combining our head and our heart.

As such, it’s probably best done through professionals whose own investment in the area of the property in question also combines a head and heart approach.

Local estate agents, with boots on the ground, are always best placed to make the call between a fixed or percentage fee - property by property and on a case by case basis in considering the seller’s position in the market too.

For established local estate agents, a fixed fee sales instruction does not equate to a fixed attitude. It certainly doesn’t indicate a tick-box, passive approach to putting the sale together or addressing any potential problems in any chain.

At the outset, even before a market appraisal of the property, an established estate agent, such as Shouler & Son, will bring the value of years of local experience and knowledge to the property and the particular neighbourhood in which it sits.

While it’s in our interest to get the best price for our clients, it is also the reason we will decide on whether the fee is to be fixed or a percentage of the sale price.

And it’s also the reason the most professional of estate agents won’t overvalue a house just to secure the instruction in the first place.

It’s in nobody’s interest to have a property instruction languishing on an estate agents’ books because it’s overpriced in the circumstances of that particular market at that particular time.

Achieving the sale is our motivation for ensuring the sale pushes through to the satisfaction and deadlines of all parties involved. That takes a lot of proactive effort and a lot of negotiation undertaken on behalf of our sellers.

In some property sales, because of the nature of a chain and the position in which our client finds themselves, or if they have an unexpected change of circumstances, we may have to advise a move on price - in either direction - in order to achieve the sale.

A good estate agent will always take a flexible approach and be prepared to be responsive to any changing market or in the personal circumstances of their clients as opposed to sticking to a fixed view of the situation.

Such an agent will be aware of the nuances of any particular sale in a way a remote head office or algorithmic calculation can never hope to be.

After all, whether a fixed or percentage fee, we don’t get paid until the sale is achieved.

For information about selling your home through Shouler & Son or for a market appraisal by its residential agency professionals, contact Richard Cleaver, 01664 560181, or see