Estate Agent Red Flags

March, 2023

Tips for sellers: Red flags when dealing with Estate Agents

As estate agents, we work for you and should always work in your best interest. Unfortunately, there are a few agents out there that will attempt to "pull a fast one" on their client. These agents will put their profits ahead of you and not always put your interests first, so you should be knowledgeable about estate agents' insider tips. Here are a few examples and some tips for handling them.


Excessive property appraisial

You'll likely speak with a variety of estate agents and discuss each one's appraisal of your home's value. Their marketing prices could differ slightly by a couple of thousand; this is normal. But some will differ by tens of thousands of pounds. But be very wary of higher valuations and do not choose based on them valuing the property the highest; overvaluing a property is a sneaky trick used by unscrupulous estate agents.

If you list your property for too much money, you might end up waiting in vain for offers and then having to lower your price—by which time your property has been overexposed to the market, which might turn off potential buyers. So make sure your property is valued accurately. 



Undervaluing your property

In a similar vein, be careful when dealing with estate agents when selling your home to avoid having your home valued too low. It implies that while they'll close the sale quickly and make their commission, you might suffer a sizable loss. 


Establish a common agenda

It's critical that you and your estate agent are on the same page when selling a home. Determine your top priority: is it to sell as soon as possible or to get the highest price? The majority of agents will quickly comprehend and support your goals, but occasionally there is a chance that their agenda will take precedence over yours. Find the best estate agent for you by shopping around to avoid this. Getting the right valuation and a sales strategy that suits you will be key.



Selling you additional marketing

If your home isn't selling, you might want to consider modifying your strategy. One of the tricks of the trade used by estate agents is to suggest doing more to market your home at an additional cost to you. improvements in photography, social media marketing, drone imagery, property tours, and so on. 

Consider this estate agent ploy carefully: why haven't they already done everything possible to market your property? And if you still don't receive an offer, is the additional money refundable?


Overstating accomplishment

It makes sense that an estate agent would want to portray themselves in the best possible light when competing for your business. However, don't just believe them when they say they are the top-performing estate agent. Check out unbiased reviews, ask for referrals, and look at how accurate their listings are.   


“Hundreds of Registed buyers”

When an agent is attempting to convince you to sign up with them, one of the tricks of the trade is to tell you about the hundreds of potential buyers registered with them that they have waiting to buy a property similar to yours. However, since the majority of buyers now begin their property search online on portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, if a buyer is actively looking to buy a house, as long as your property is on the portals, the majority of buyers will see it regardless of which agent has signed you up. Do your research to find the best estate agent, and don't be duped by this ploy used by some agents. 



Lengthy agency contracts

The majority of estate agent contracts will include a tie-in period, and these can differ greatly between agents. The most common durations are six or twelve weeks; any longer is superfluous. Negotiate if the length of the contract is greater than this. If you're satisfied, you can always renew your contract when it expires; if not, you can choose a different agent. 


VAT-free commission rates

Be wary of fees that are listed without VAT. In accordance with The Property Ombudsman and the Advertising Standards Agency, "Fees advertised by estate agents must be shown inclusive of VAT - alongside a statement confirming that VAT is included." However, we frequently see quoted estate agent fees without VAT (which is currently 20%). Check to make sure your fee includes VAT when it is quoted so you won't get a surprise later.


Taking action if an estate agent lies

We've now looked at some estate agent insider tips, but what should you do if you believe the estate agent broke the law? Although it might be expensive, you might be able to file a claim in court. Additionally, if you have tried every other option to resolve your dispute before turning to the courts, the judge is more likely to view your case favorably.

The estate agents' internal complaint processes should first be used, we advise. Following that, you can file a complaint with The Property Ombudsman

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