Dispatches investigation into estate agents

In case you didn’t get chance to see Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches – The Property Market Undercover’ program you can watch it here until the 28th November.

The program starts by showing that anyone can set up to be an estate agent within 48 hours with no qualifications. This shows the lack of regulation in the sector.

The Help to Buy scheme has been brought forward by the government in a bid to kick start the housing market and the wider economy. This should mean a greater number of mortgage applications being submitted. Most estate agents have ‘in house’ mortgage advisers who can search the market for you. In a lot of cases they are not always able to search the whole market which means you might be missing out on the most suitable mortgage for you. Sales advisers and negotiators are given incentives in order to get potential buyers to use their ‘in house’ mortgage lender. They do this by “prioritising offers” for those who use the in house services trying to force you to use their service, even if you already have your finance arranged. For the sellers they may also be losing out on prospective buyers because of it.

Some estate agents are also pressurising buyers saying that they will reject any other offers for a property if they are to use their in house services. Even if another buyer is in a better position for their client, the seller.

The lack of regulation means these dirty sales tactics will happen all at the detriment to both buyers and sellers of properties. There are many frustrated sellers on the market who have had little or no feedback from their estate agent. Maybe if their customer service was improved, estate agents would not have to use underhand techniques in order to sell properties.