Buyers warned of exploitative agents

Posted: 24 Mar 2006 10:35:23 GMT

            Property News - Buyers warned of exploitative agents

The Whistleblower programme on estate agents from the BBC seems to have opened a can of worms, with homebuyers warned of a culture of exploitation in the business.

One of the most disturbing findings in the documentary was that some agents and mortgage brokers are more than happy to swap confidential client information to get as much money as possible out of homebuyers.

London company Ground Level Properties has been disturbed by this trend and has referred to the "serious flaws in current agency market domination".

It is a sentiment that adds to a growing chorus of disillusioned buyers and experts, after this week's documentary raised concerns that had perhaps remained unspoken for too long.

"The BBC has courageously exposed what we have always known to be the case - that whilst many agents run reputable businesses there are a significant few who will stop at nothing to make a sale and line their own pockets at the expense of their clients," said Ground Level Properties managing director Josh Boulton.

Recent reports have shown that house prices are continuing to rise in the UK, putting particular strain on the lower end of the market.

In his Budget this week, Gordon Brown introduced a series of measures to alleviate some of the pressures, but experts are already suggesting that initiatives such as the £5,000 increase to the stamp duty threshold will have very little impact.

The fallout from the BBC documentary seems to have only strengthened claims that getting a foot on the property ladder is now more difficult than ever, with estate agent fees merely adding to the existing stresses of the transaction.

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