An infuriated agent has hit out at an article in a national newspaper which slates the industry.
The Express has advised the public to beware of estate agents’ “tricks”.
For example, it advises buyers where the agent has told them that someone else has made a higher offer to demand written proof – even though this could breach data protection laws.
The advice quotes the HomeOwners Alliance warning about the trick, said to be used by estate agents to get buyers to offer more.
The article says: “This falsely increases what sellers will get, but also the commission estate agents will pocket.
“Buyers should always make sure they see something in writing.”
The article quotes the HOA as saying: “Your below-asking-price offer has been accepted, the property you are buying is off the market, and it’s all steam ahead towards completion.
“Then the next week, the estate agent calls to say that someone who viewed the property previously has put in an offer a few thousand pounds above yours. You smell a rat.
“If you suspect this is a false bid, challenge the estate agent and ask to see proof in writing that this third party exists and they are willing to make a higher offer.”
The article goes on to discuss another “trick”.
The article advises: “[Make] sure you don’t reveal the minimum you will accept for your home, if selling.
“While estate agents want to get good prices for the homes they sell, they also don’t want to work too many hours to get their commission.
“For this reason, they may be angling for their sellers to accept a lesser offer than they want.”
Surveyor Alan Batt said the article amounted to a gross misrepresentation of the industry, adding: “The advice encourages the breach of so many data protection and consumer regulation laws, I don’t know where to begin.”
Batt, whose business is in Wigan, went on: “There are approximately 20,000 agents in the UK, the vast majority of which work very long hours, with many open seven days a week, providing a professional service.
“We continually invest time and money into professional development, employ thousands of employees, trainees, graduates and apprentices, get involved in and encourage local community projects, and raise significant sums of money for a wide variety of charities.
“Most of all we care about all our clients whether they be buyers, sellers, landlords or tenants.
“But of course that doesn’t count as news.”