Lack of regulation for Estate Agents
Unlike most European countries, the UK has never insisted that our estate agents to have any kind of licence, although the National Association of Estate Agents does have a voluntary licence to regulate the industry. If you want to do all you can to protect yourself from unethical estate agents, then looking for this voluntary association is a good first step.
Outside of this self regulation route, estate agents in the UK do have to comply with the Estate Agent Act of 1979 that was updated back in 1992 where a section was added specifically for undesirable practices.
These are all areas that are designed to offer consumer protection but ultimately, anyone can set themesleves up as an estate agent wiith no skills, qualifications or knowledge. There is a requirement for all estate agents to be signed up with the property Ombudsman and while this affords buyer and sellers of propety a safety net this too has some issues. The main one being that you can seek redress but this is after the event.
Protect yourself and take care with estate agent selection
Protect yourself and don’t share more infomration than you have to. Do your due dilligence cheecks and it is increasingly unlikely that you will be takne in by one of the few unethical estate agents that there are on the prowl
Information you should never share with an estate agent
We are all at different stages and have different needs with our property buying and selling. It is natural to be enthusiastic and excited about the transaction BUT hold back and do not share too much information with your estate agent, this can encourage some bad practice if they do see an area that can be manipulated.
Never tell you estate agent any of the following:
- – that you are in a rush to sell
- – that you are NOT in a rush to sell
- – what your lowest sale price is
- – that you are thinking of moving to another estate agent
- – that you have seen the house of your dreams
Information you should get from your estate agent
- – how and where they will market your property
- – how they valued it (what criteria they used)
- – who and how you will be updated and who you will be dealing with
- – how you are charged, what the fee breakdown is
- – check the small print for any tie in periods and any withdrawal fees