Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2020
Imagine placing your home with an estate agent, agreeing with them a selling price and then learning that they’ve ‘sold’ your home at well below what had been agreed. Sounds impossible? Sadly it’s not. Such scandalous incidents can occur, putting home sellers at risk of losing large sums of money.
But there’s good news - Trading Standards are onto these rogue estate agents. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with selling your home quickly. We all have different circumstances, and a reputable estate agent will be sufficiently knowledgeable and flexible to advise you as to the best selling price, depending on your own particular needs.
Maybe you’ve seen adverts on social media and in the national press, where estate agents promise to sell people's homes within seven or fourteen days. Many of these estate agents may be acting in good faith … but not all.
What must be avoided are instances where people lose tens of thousands of pounds off the market value of their homes … just to give the estate agent a quick sale.
Where things go wrong is when the estate agents have reduced the offer price of homes, without the knowledge or permission of the owner. Trading Standards, fortunately, have these companies on their radar.
In one incident, Bethany Johnson (not her real name) is concerned that her four-bedroom semi, which she agreed to put up for sale at £290,000, has effectively been devalued by the company she used. The agent dropped the asking price by £25,000 without her permission or knowledge.
When she found out, Bethany says she was "completely devastated".
"There’s no chance I would ever give my approval for that price. I was absolutely stunned. How they could get away with reducing the price of my home without talking to me first is totally beyond me.”
"In one fell swoop, they’d potentially wiped out all the equity I’d built up in the house. This could have really impacted on my future.”
Fortunately, Bethany was able to cancel her arrangement with the unscrupulous estate agent. She relisted with another, more established agent and was able to sell her house for a ‘proper’ price.
Although a satisfactory sale eventually went through, Bethany’s experience caused her to suffer enormous unnecessary anxiety and stress.
Any estate agent who drops the sale price of a property without the seller's permission is breaking the law - a potential breach of the Consumer Protection part of Unfair Trading regulations. The offence is punishable by up to two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
One of the difficulties is that, although consumers have rights, many don’t know where they should go to complain. If you think you’ve been dealt with unfairly by a quick sale estate agent, then Trading Standards should be your first port of call. Alternatively, you can approach one of two government-approved organisations - the Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.
Every estate agent in the UK must be registered with one of these schemes, which are able to provide financial compensation to people who've been left out of pocket.
The lesson here is simple. If you’re looking to make a quick sale on your property - in fact, if you want to make any sale - make sure you carry out research on your estate agent. Find the one who will work for you. Take a quick look at our article on the 6 key questions for your estate agent.
Be sure to read the small print of the agreement you sign. And never allow yourself to be pushed into any price you're uncomfortable with. Always go for an estate agent who is regulated and has professional indemnity insurance.
In short, your house is your biggest asset - don't be rushed into making any decision.
At Privilege Homes, we’re the West Midlands’ premier estate agent for luxury homes. We’ll be your trusted partner in all matters relating to selling your property - fast and for the right price.
Why not get in touch and find out for yourself?
Call us - 0121 7054040
Or send us an email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call in. The kettle’s always on -