Understanding your estate agency contract

Understanding your estate agency contract

If you are ready to sell your property, you may be wondering what to expect from your contract, what you will need to pay, and how long you will be tied in for. We have broken it down into easy to digest sections to help demystify the complicated world of estate agency contracts. 

Contract types

There are many different types of contract, but with a traditional estate agency you are likely to encounter one of the below:

  • Sole Agency This means that only that estate agency can sell your home throughout the contract's length. 
  • Multi-Agency This type of contract allows you to enlist multiple estate agencies to sell your property, with you only paying a commission to the one that finds your buyer.

Each contract type has its pros and cons however, most estate agencies will only offer a sole agency contract. In terms of marketing, it can be off-putting for a potential buyer to see a property listed multiple times with different agents, especially if each is taking a different marketing approach (including price). A further complication is juggling the viewing requests, with other agents offering different viewing times. Overall, most sellers will choose one agent they trust and have one point of contact throughout the selling process.

Contract length

Your contract length can vary significantly from location to estate agent. The average for the Hitchin, Hertfordshire area is 12 weeks, although it isn’t uncommon to see a 16, or even 20 week contract. The length of the contract can give a strong indication of how well the agent feels they will be able to generate interest in your property, so it is always worth giving serious thought to anything that ties you in for an extended period of time. At Wellington Evans, we offer a 14 day rolling contract, as we want our vendors to stay with us due to the high level of service we provide, not because they are tied in with a contract.


Ending a contract

Every contract will give you the notice period you need to provide should you change your mind on selling or want to reach out to an alternative estate agent. Bear this in mind before signing your contract to make sure it works for your individual circumstance, it may be that there is a charge for ending a contract early, so it is good to know this in the first instance.

Understanding the commission

Most contracts will state the % of the commission you will be due to pay. This will often not include VAT, so make sure to add this when working out the full commission. Fee’s will vary greatly depending on the experience and service that an estate agent brings to the property market. As with many things in life, you get what you pay for, so decide for yourself what you expect from your estate agent and look accordingly. Of course, many people do wish to try and negotiate the fee. It is worth bearing in mind that this negotiation can also reflect how they will negotiate on your behalf when it comes to sales.


Whichever estate agent you choose, your relationship with them will last months. Your agent must be someone you like and trust enough to have your best interests at heart. Your agent should be approachable and able to ask any questions you may have, as well as be able to adapt to the property market as needed. If you think Wellington Evans may be the right choice, get in touch today.

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Estate Agents in Hitchin
14 Day Contract

“It’s so important to find out how much your home is really worth. If you are considering selling your home, Nick or I would be delighted to offer you an accurate valuation and an update on current market conditions. Simply enter a few brief details and we will be in touch to arrange a convenient time to visit you.”

James Evans, our Estate Agent in Hitchin