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The Sunday Story – Estate Agents

CAVEAT EMPTOR – “Let the Buyer Beware”….
The Radical –
9th April 2017
…..Does not only apply to the property but also to the Agent you employ to sell it.
As long they are not banned by the Office of Fair Trading (who) or been Bankrupt.
And they do – Online  or in an Office High Street or as a Franchise.
Estate Agents are Agents for the Vendor so it is up to the Vendor 
to insist on the standard or move. 
Get quotes – choose online if cheaper
Give a short contract and extend it if necessary 
Make sure the property is placed online with a National company.
As I said we are moving !
And have been talking to all kinds of Estate Agents 
Nationals, Franchises of Nationals and Independents 
Sometimes  Independents who are working on commission give the best service
 but then there can be a few members of the gestapo working for them. 
Those who have forgotten who the customer is. 
Those who think they are doing the enquirer a favour. 
So what is our biggest beef ?
Agents who ask personal questions which are out of order. 
You ring to make a viewing, maybe one of several in the day so you have a time issue.
You say to the agent you arrange the viewing then if you can I will give you my details – 
Name, address and contact number is all they are allowed to ask.
But many want your details before they ask if a viewing is possible 
and if it is not it is a waste of time.
So I say to the agent if you cant arrange a viewing I can remember my name.
Then bugger me you find out the agents are doing the viewing 
and you have to fit in with them.
So I say to Estate Agents – stop cutting corners and offer a service,
 you are not a front for a SS.
On the other hand once the Estate management recognise at training sessions that buying
selling and renting is the biggest and most expensive experience likely to befall the customer,
things can improve.
DISCLAIMER – NOTHING WE SAY CAN BE RELIED UPON- Online or In Office the particulars
claim not to be accurate.
Not only that but they are ALWAYS incomplete and deviously omit important facts.
How many Agents fail to mention the property is in a Flooding risk area or a heavily
contaminated Radon Gas area.
Room sizes are, missing, wrong or there is no Floorplan 
The photos exclude the obvious – reality. – the fact their is an industrial building site next door. 
Economical with truth ? more than that gross deception.
The Truth never hurts so they say.
There are some agents who deal in repossessions
There are some agents who are blinded !
Describing a Semi – Detached property as Detached to get noticed
And a Cottage can cover almost anything that is not a “box”
Then there is the bungalow with more living room in the loft space than the ground floor
Then there are the two bed properties where one bedroom is in the loft with no head room.
Often the information on rooms garages outbuildings & gardens sizes are missing altogether
Who can be an estate agent?
The Magazine answers…
The Which? estate agents Cheatem & Ripoff
Open for business in just 24 hours
For most people buying a house is the biggest transaction of their lives. 
So just who can set up an estate agents and handle such an important job?
Buying a property costs people financially and often in blood, sweat and tears as well.
It places estate agencies in a powerful position, with so much at stake you would expect there to be stringent rules about who can set up such a business.
There aren’t. This may go some way to explaining the industry’s bad reputation, which has only been reinforced by a BBC investigation exposing agents lying to customers, faking signatures, obtaining false passports and doing dodgy deals with developers.
Under the Estate Agents Act 1979 anyone can set up in business as one unless they have been banned by the Office of Fair Trading or are bankrupt. But even with the latter, they are free to work for another estate agent – just not open their own.
No knowledge of the housing market or the laws governing the industry is needed.
Anna Adams
Undercover with estate agents
To prove just how easy it is, in 2004 consumer organisation Which? opened a fake estate agency in central London. It took 24 hours, cost just £143 to register the business with Companies House and Cheatem & Ripoff was in business.
Despite the name and the obviously fake properties advertised in the window, customers still came in and asked for more details.
“Just about anyone can set up an agency and start advising people on the biggest purchase of their lives,” says a Which? spokeswoman.
“People who have no knowledge of the housing market, have never bought or sold a house and have no idea about the law governing estate agency, which means it is very likely they will break the law unwittingly.”
Question Mark – from original architect’s doodle design for BBC TV Centre
A regular feature in the BBC News Magazine – aiming to answer some of the questions behind the headlines
The few laws that are in place covering the industry deal with how estate agencies conduct their business, not who they are.
Agents have to comply with the Estate Agents Act 1979 when they act for people who are buying or selling property and the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991, which makes it an offence to make false or misleading statements about property offered for sale.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) did approve its first code of practice for estate agents on Tuesday, aimed at ensuring that buyers and sellers get a fair deal and are less likely to be duped by maverick agencies.
The Ombudsman for Estate Agency (OEA) scheme can award compensation to buyers or sellers of property if it finds they have been badly treated.
However, it is not mandatory and at present only four in 10 UK estate agents are scheme members. Which? says if belonging to the scheme was a requirement by law, a bad estate agents could be barred from practising much more easily.

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