Estate Agent United Kingdom
Estate agent is a United Kingdom term roughly synonymous with the United States term real estate broker, a business that arranges the selling, renting or management of homes, land and other buildings.
In the United Kingdom residential estate agents are largely unregulated (although legal provision exists to introduce regulation). Some estate agents are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the principal body for UK real estate professionals. However, the vast majority of RICS members - known as Chartered Surveyors - who practice estate agency do so on commercial property.
For residential property a trade association, The National Association of Estate Agents exists, but as a non-professional body it has limited scope for disciplining members when appropriate. There is no legal requirement to belong to this organisation in order to trade as an estate agent.
Few national residential estate agents chains exist, with the majority being locally or regionally specialised companies.
Several multi-national commercial agencies exist, typically being Anglo-American, pan-European or global. These firms all seek to provide the full range of property advisory services, not just agency.
Only a handful of large firms trade in both commercial and residential property.
Estate agents leasing commercial property normally charge between 7-10% of the first years rent as fees. This will be the total fee. If, say, two agents are charging 10%, they split this between them. Estate agents selling commercial property (known as investment agents) typical charge 2.75% of the sale price.
Estate agents selling residential property generally charge between 1-3% of the sale price, depending on the contractual arrangement and whether an individual firm as sole rights to the sale.
Residential letting agent's fees are more variable, depending on whether the agent manages the property or simply arranges new tenants. Note that most residential lettings in the UK are executed through a form of licence (known as a shorthold tenancy) rather than a lease. These licences give less protection in terms of security of tenure.