The rise of private property selling

Posted: 29 Mar 2006 10:57:41 GMT

            Property News - The rise of private property selling

The furore surrounding the BBC's Whistleblower documentary on estate agents shows few signs of diminishing, as experts suggest a new Code of Practice will do nothing to stop the corruption.

The new Code has been approved by the Office of Fair Trading and it was conceived in an attempt to put an end to the kind of rogue trading that was exposed in last week's television programme.

Speaking to LexisNexis Butterworths, however, Paul Marsh, a senior partner at Carter Bells solicitors, said that the effect will be negligible.

"The penalties for non-compliance with this Code are that the Council of the OEA will issue an informal warning, then a warning and then a notice of dismissal from the OEA. That's not going to scare anybody," he remarked.

"If someone takes away my practising certificate then I am out of business whereas they would just lose membership of the OEA. The Code doesn't have any teeth," he added.

Mr Marsh went on to observe that it is remarkable that such a Code was necessary, in that "it covers everything you would have expected [agents] to do as a matter of course".

In Mr Marsh's opinion, the average person has no idea who the estate agent is actually representing, in that they are ostensibly looking after the seller, but it is the buyer who will walk into the office for assistance.

Furthermore, in an increasingly "proactive and aggressive" market, prices are soaring and customers are becoming sceptical about the role played by estate agents in this trend.

With opportunities to advertise online and to buy and sell a home privately, it is clear there is an emerging alternative that is readily available to those would rather forgo some of the issues related to dealing with an estate agent.

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