An agent has launched a campaign warning the public about portal juggling, which he said is now rife in the industry.
He has done so after friends were caught out after having had their hopes built up by what turned out to be a fake listing by a local high street agent.
The property they were interested in was originally listed in June. It was then listed as new last week, but a day later it was listed as new again but under offer.
David Mintz, director of Normie & Company in north Manchester, said juggling is “rife” and being practised by local agents in many parts of the country.
He called on the industry to “get a grip and start cleaning up its act”.
He added: “It has become so prevalent and the use of statistics by agents in order to win business has become the norm, that we cannot forget that these practices have a human element to them and it is the public themselves that ultimately pay the price.”
Mintz has written a blog on his firm’s website, plus an explanatory video.
In the blog, he said that an un-named local competitor listed the property last week, apparently as new.
Friends contacted him to ask his opinion about the property, and the prospects for the sale of their own property.
After much discussion, Mintz recommended his friends to contact the other agent to arrange a viewing.
However, before they could do so, the next morning they found the property had been re-listed as new, but this time marked ‘under offer’.
Mintz’s friends contacted the agent to be told that the property had in fact had a sale agreed on it for many weeks.
Mintz writes: “It’s frustrating, but these people had become the victims of portal juggling.
“Ever notice an agent listing stock as ‘listed today’ and simultaneously ‘Sold STC’? This might give you the impression that the agent has sold the property overnight. In some circumstances it causes buyers to think that they have to pay the full asking price in order to secure a property as they are flying off the shelves so quickly.
“In fact the truth is that these are old listings. They’ve been under offer or sold for weeks, if not months, and the agent is trying to mislead you.
“We can all manipulate the data that Rightmove and Zoopla provide to agents as a tool to win instructions, but at what cost?
“Further mistrust and the denigration of our profession by the public.
“It’s unfortunate that the unscrupulous and under-handed tactics of a few dishonest agents tar the majority of honest agents with the same brush.”
Mintz adds: “In the month of November and December there have been several instances of portal juggling in north Manchester in Prestwich, Whitefield and Salford by at least one well established agent. It’s not right and it needs to stop.”
Mintz urges members of the public who detect portal juggling to contact the industry regulator, NTSEAT.
The full blog is here
The video is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwx7V5wD9qk&feature=youtu.be