The government has been called on to instigate the reforms to estate agency that were detailed in a report by the Regulation of Property Agents working group, chaired by Lord Best, once leader of the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust.
The move follows a number of homeowners who have experienced problems with estate agents.
One woman was pressurised into signing a sales contract with a ‘quick sale’ agent – before the final details were revealed several days later during a phone call. She discovered she had agreed for the agent to be the sole seller of her property for a year, during which time she received no contact or viewings of her property. Her calls were answered by an answering machine.
Before asking a ‘quick sale’ estate agency to buy your house, or find a third party buyer for you, check the company out first with the National Association of Property Buyers to ensure you have redress if things go wrong. There is also good advice on the website of the HomeOwners Alliance.
Another customer said her estate agent had lowered the asking price of her home without her consent. The reduction subsequently caused the house to appear overpriced, as an online search soon reveals the incorrect reduced price.
The report made recommendations including the creation of a new independent regulator, and a requirement for all those carrying out property agency work including auctioneers, property guardians, estate, lettings and management agents, to be licensed, individually qualified and signed up to a Code of Practice.
The recommendations were supported by the National Association of Estate Agents and the Property Ombudsman, as well as the Association of Residential Letting Agents.
The report recommended that regulations be in place within two years, and qualifications rolled out from that time … the clock’s ticking.
If you’re a first time buyer or are planning a house move, get in touch with a Property Surveying independent Chartered Surveyor for expert advice on your new property.