What Agents REALY Do!

Common Problems with Estate Agents
And What You Need To Watch Out For
Last year Estate Agents received over £1,000,000,000, YES £1000 Million! in commission from sellers and landlords, and in many cases by simply doing very little. The average seller paid them over £5288 in commission and the average landlord over £1184. They are the number one profession people love to hate. They are unregulated and the consumer magazine 'Which?' has for many years been putting pressure on the government to regulate them, and with good reason.

The most common complaints are listed below. Have you, your friends or people you know experienced any of the following?
  1. Unfair illegal contracts – Some Rogue agents are entering unfair illegal restrictions into their contracts. The most recent example is where a 'Sole Agent' contract has a phrase such as 'if you sell your property yourself via an internet advert the agents commission will still be payable'. THIS IS ILLEGAL!!. By having this phrase in a contract, the contract is now not a 'Sole Agent' contract and more like a 'Sole Selling rights' contract. The 'Estate Agents Act 1979' prevents Agents from doing this and the 'Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999' also enforces this. In this example the restrictive clause must be removed. The Agent should also be reported to your Local Trading Standards and the Office of Fair Trading. (YES NO)

  2. Sole Selling right contracts – The use of a ‘Sole selling right’ clause which results in you even paying commission even if you sell or let to a friend! How unfair is that? Do not confuse this with a 'Sole Agent' contract where you can sell or let yourself and NOT pay the commission. (YES NO)

  3. The Worse Contract of all - The use of the 'Ready willing and able to buy' phase. Basically if the agent finds a buyer and the sale is not completed your still have to pay the commission. This can exists in all types of contracts. Never sign a contract with this clause. (YES NO)

  4. Agents refusing to perform viewings – Excuses such as they are too busy! Do not do evenings! Or they refuse to do the viewings if you have a dog! So what is their job? The reason to you use an Agent is for them to sell or let your home. (YES NO)

  5. Staff with no experience -Sending the office junior to present your home, who has no experience in negotiating or knowledge of your property - how effective is this? (YES NO)

  6. No feedback after viewings - So you have no idea what you need to do to improve your property. Leading to a frustrated relationship and wasted time. We can show you how to employ a house doctor to help you prepare your property.(YES NO)

  7. Forcing customers to use their mortgages brokers and solicitors – So they can earn even more commission from you. Extreme cases include agents not putting forward an offer to you because the buyer has not used the Agents mortgage broker.(YES NO)

  8. Agents not managing tenants – Until you find out too late and the rent is unpaid.(YES NO)

  9. Misuse of display boards - Displaying 'for sale' and 'to let' boards at properties not on their books, and even taking down competitor’s boards is very common. A board outside a property is still one of the most effective tools to drive buyers and tenants into an agency. Next time you down a main road with a large block of flats count how many boards are outside. We can show you how to get your own board with your own number.(YES NO)

  10. Not advertising your property properly or infrequently in local papers and wasting valuable time. Many Agents have still not realised the power of new media such as the internet where 70% of home seekers now search(YES NO)

  11. Overvaluing your property. Many agents will overvalue your property in order for you to sign a contract with them. Later, when no interest has been shown, you will be forced to lower the price and you can't leave the Agent because you have signed a contract. That's why you can't rely on asking prices in Estate Agents windows as they are inflated. We can show you how to find out what properties really sold for, helping you price your property correctly so you can sell or let faster.(YES NO)

  12. Failure to inform you of ALL offers - Trick question, as you probably won't know. There are many cases of Agents promoting lower offers. Their motivation is always money. Many Agents not only sell or let property but also get paid finders fees from buyers and tenants. These Agents may not tell you of a better offer in order to make more money. This is illegal, as an agent must tell you of ALL offers. (YES NO)

    and the list goes on and on.

Frightening isn't it! The newspapers are full of stories of rogue Agents, and finding the good ones is increasingly difficult. Other countries such as the United States demand Estate Agents pass an exam and hold a license, but this is not the case in the UK, anyone can set up shop and reap the commission.

house sale websites can save you thousands of pounds in agents' fees but are they worth all the bother? Nigel Lewis investigates

Daily Mail, Friday June 10 2005

IN JULY 2003 Allan Vanass begun buying and then doing up properties as a sideline to his main job selling a fuel-efficiency system for vehicles. He bought two four-bedroom houses on Mill way in Bushey, Hertfordshire, and began doing them up. A year later he was ready to sell them but instead decided to move back into one with his wife and sell the second.

He put it on the market for £315,000 with several agents, many of whom he says proved to be 'useless'. 'I got very fed up with spotty teenagers barely out of college and with few sales skills,' says Allan (pictured). 'Their proposed charges varied between £4,725 and £7,100.'

So Allan put his property on the website www.houseladder.co.uk. - and by 7pm the house was on the website.' A schoolteacher and his wife viewed the house the following Saturday and put in an offer - which Allan accepted. 'There's a lot more work involved in a sale,' he says 'but it's worth it to save the agency fees.'

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