Sherry FitzGerald is to increase the fees it charges for selling houses by 50 per cent because, it says, that the property market “has changed so much over the past year that it is only possible to continue a high-quality service with increased fees”. The average increase from 1 per cent to 1.5 per cent of sale price will add €2,000 to the cost of selling a €400,000 house. Initially, I was absolutely outraged by this incredibly shameless and completely indefensible price hike but then I read a letter in The Irish Times which showed me the error of my ways. I can’t link to it here – at least I can’t without charging you to access it! – so I will paste it below.
Madam, – I was surprised to hear that one of the country’s leading estate agents had raised its commission on residential sales by 50 per cent. Only 50 per cent? Surely, with the massive and long-running downturn in the Irish housing market, estate agents must be experiencing extreme hardship. Is an extra 50 per cent really enough?
For the past decade, estate agents have worked tirelessly to persuade a sceptical Irish public that having shelter is more than just a lifestyle choice, and have received scant remuneration. Imagine how unrewarding it must be to show up at a new development and wait, hand extended, to receive only 1 per cent of the €350,000 that miserly people have queued for days to pay for their new luxury bedsits.
I myself am not yet a home-owner. But I hope, 40 years from now, when I may be able to afford a cosy, mature property in a rural setting only four hours from Dublin, that I will be able to throw a few coppers their way in appreciation of the trojan work they do.
Chins up, estate agents, you are all heroes. – Yours, etc,
JOHN HEALY, North Brunswick street, Dublin 7.