Top Complaints Against Estate Agents

It may come as no surprise to you that for some the service received by their estate agent was less than satisfactory. In fact it's probably only bankers and politicians that are disliked more.

Research carried out in August by Opinium found that among 1,102 people who had rented a property in the last five years; and 1,240 who bought or sold, two thirds of buyers and sellers had an issue with their estate agent.

The top complaints were:

  1. Bad communication
  2. Buyer or seller felt agent didn't care about them
  3. Agent not revealing known property faults
  4. Agent making promises they could not keep
  5. Being too pressuring
  6. Exaggerating property description
  7. Over-pricing
  8. Dishonesty
  9. Agent not having all information required, such as Council Tax or service charges
  10. Not being able to contact agent
  11. Agent forgetting who buyer or seller was
  12. Gazumping
  13. Agent providing wrong information

The top complaints seem to revolve around the main issue of the agent not caring as much as they should. They can't care if they aren't giving regular feedback, they can't care if they promised to sell it for x and are now suggesting I should accept a far lower offer. Not being honest is a big theme too: did they honestly believe their valuation or were they just trying to win a sale? Do they honestly feel that this offer is the best offer I'm going to get or are they just suggesting I take it because they want their commission?

It seems that a lot of basics need to be addressed before trust is restored. This is why we feel so strongly about winning business honestly (i.e. not overvaluing property just to win business), being open for calls 24h a day and employees always returning your call. It's the very least we feel we can do.

Points 3 and 6 likely stem from the fact that the agent acts for the seller, not the buyer, and so their duty is to the seller. An agent is always going to push the positives and as with all house purchases, it's a case of buyer beware. But this should never tread into the scope of dishonesty! Buyers, in our opinion, for their own protection should always use a good solicitor and get surveys done - when you're spending a huge amount of money why wouldn't you? Our approach is to be honest with the seller and buyer right from the beginning. We tell them that any issues will always come out during viewings or in the survey anyway so what's the point in trying to hide them?

Point 12. Gazumping: This really is a tricky one, as sometimes a seller can put an agent in a difficult position in terms of how they want them to act. If a client asks us to accept a new, higher, offer over one they have already accepted (aka gazumping) then we have to follow their wishes. The agent is often the one who gets the blame for this from the unsuccessful buyer. Again though, the agent can only act on behalf of the seller even if we feel they make a decision which we don't always support.

If you'd like to hear how we overcome any of the complaints addressed in this list please get in touch and we'll be happy to show you how we operate so that you'll never experience the same problems.


Source: Property Industry Eye October 2014

Published on 11 November 2014

Source Trinity Sales Wakefield

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