Estate agent fees can pile up quickly, but a little negotiation can actually bring them down quite considerably. While haggling is not generally traditional in Britain, when it comes to the selling fees, with a few pointers on how to negotiate, you would be surprised how much money you can actually save.
A key point to remember when negotiating is realizing that estate agents need you a great deal more than you need them. You might actually be surprised how much money you can save on the estate agent fees if you try out some of the tips below.
Some Exceptions to Negotiating
Estate agency chains that are run corporately are more difficult to negotiate with than small agencies or estate agents who work independently. Corporately run, nation-wide agencies tend to enforce some strict policies surrounding commission levels and their employees have to adhere to these. These chains can get away with this rigidity because they know that there will always be buyers and sellers who will accept the terms of their contracts and the exorbitant charges without doing research into it.
This does not have to concern you, though. The small agencies and independent agents tend toward being of far higher quality, so it is advisable to use them whenever possible. There are a few things to remember when speaking with prospective estate agents when looking to sell your property.
What to Keep in Mind
The VBEP is a state program that provides assistance to businesses desiring to “green up” their operations and recognizes businesses of all sizes for meeting a set of environmental standards. These standards are posted on the program website (www.vbep.org & www.vtgreenhotels.org). VBEP is a joint program of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Small Business Development Center that is voluntary and free of cost to participating businesses.
Vermont businesses joining the VBEP go beyond compliance with existing environmental regulations, using resource conservation strategies and implementation of environmental best management practices. In addition to attracting customers seeking environmentally responsible businesses, program members can save thousands of dollars a year by reducing energy and water use as well as waste disposal costs. They benefit from the operational advice and knowledge of VBEP representatives during an on-site assessment.
The VBEP program that started in 1998 now has 109 Green Hotels, 12 Green Restaurants, 4 Clean Marinas, 3 Green Links golf Courses, 69 general sector business Environmental Partners, and 5 Environmental Leaders. All of these businesses have implemented a variety of environmental best management practices including: energy and water conservation measures; waste reduction and recycling; environmentally preferable or green purchasing; communication of their environmental improvements; and various other best management practices.
Participating businesses are listed on the VBEP web site and are encouraged to identify themselves as Vermont Business Environmental Partners with the program emblem at their businesses and on their websites. More information on the program can be found
Timing is critical in finance, especially if you want to make a profit. Of course, you need to pick a good time to take advantage of the appreciation in value, but it’s equally important to keep an eye on the calendar to avoid paying a hefty amount as tax. It was a lesson learnt well by Mumbai-based Benny Abraham when he sold his house in 2011 within two years of purchasing it. “The property was fetching me nearly 60% in profits on the initial investment, so when I got an offer to sell it, I immediately agreed,” says Abraham, a brand consultant. Unfortunately, the 50-year-old had no clue about the tax implication of his hasty decision. Not only did he have to pay a substantial amount as tax on the profit, he also had to shell out the tax exemptions that he was availing of on the home loan.
This is because under the Income Tax Act, if you sell a house within three years of buying it, the tax benefits on the principal repayment and interest paid on the home loan are reversed. These are then included in your income when you file your tax return. Also, if a house is sold within five years of the end of the financial year in which it was purchased, all the deductions claimed under Section 80C with respect to the property are added to the taxable income in the year of sale.
Capital gain and indexation
Real estate is regarded as an asset, so the profit from its sale is assessed under the head ‘capital gains’. According to Manish Thakkar, director of Mumbai-based Thakkar Consultants, if a property is sold within three years of buying it, it is treated as a short-term capital gain. This is added to the total income and taxed according to the slab rate.
We, at ET Wealth, have not been immune to its caprices, swept as the rest into its contrarian fold. So, during the economic slowdown, into which we stepped with our launch on 13 December 2010, we felt laden with our readers’ expectations. However, two years later, having navigated you through financial undulations, we feel leavened by your response. Through it all, we have tried to maintain our own equanimity, which stems from our acute perception of your needs and the deep insight into personal finance. Between fielding time’s whimsies and setting you on the right course, we have reached another milestone – we have turned two. It’s a special occasion because in this short span we have learnt to tweak time’s truancy to our advantage. In its contortions, we have found a constant.
We call it the Golden Rules of Investing. A synthesis of the past learnings, these principles are our way of celebrating the present by securing your future. The mark of any rule is its universality and ability to transcend time. What we have framed for you are 10 canons that are based on these benchmarks, a compilation of our previous stories. They will act as a bulwark for your finances against the attenuating swipes of time. They will hone you into an aware investor in sync with your needs.
Most importantly, they will help you grow your wealth, so that we can keep the promise we made at the time of our launch – that we would lead you to riches in this golden decade of investing. In the following pages, we will tell you how to build a safe portfolio; how to work towards a fret-free retirement; ways to defend against the crushing impact of the unforeseen; how to juggle your portfolio and when to cut your losses; how to deal with the trap of taxation; how to make the distinction between insurance and investment; the much-brandished benefits of diversification, and why you need to factor in the eroding effect of inflation.
In essence, we offer a seminal guide that spans the gamut of personal finance. Still, our work remains unfinished. For, even though the country’s fiscal fate appears to be altering, thanks to the proposed reforms, the world has not quite remedied its economic ills. And while regulatory activism spells hope for the small investor, the responsibility to secure your finances ultimately rests with you. So time shall continue to remain a pulsating presentiment and will not stop throwing challenges at you. But you shall not be alone; we at ET Wealth will guide you through all your financial travails. And together we shall learn to tame time, perhaps even befriend it.