Cowboy Estate Agents Crack Down

Published / Last Updated on 09/04/2018

Equity Release Explained

On Sunday, the Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP, issued news that the government will legislate to crack down on cowboy, rogue and unqualified estate agents.

Just like the financial services industry has been on a road to change over the last 20 years or so with a requirement, rather than it being voluntary before, to be professionally qualified to a ‘degree’ level, to be registered as advisers and to quote transparent fees for services, it is now the turn of estate agents.

Following a government consultation last year, the government will introduce rules to make the process of buying, selling and renting property less stressful for all.

The Government estimates that 1m properties were bought/sold in England alone last year but 6 out of 10 buyers and sellers suffered stress.  In addition, some 25% of sellers would not use the same estate agent again.

Measures include:

  • Professional estate agent qualifications
  • Transparent fees
  • Disclosure of relationships and introducers fees paid to estate agents from mortgage brokers, solicitors, surveyors and other parties that your estate agent may introduce you to.
  • Set fees for leases
  • Voluntary buy/sell agreements to discourage gazumping and either buyers or sellers pulling out causing financial losses if application fees, surveys, searches and legal fees have been incurred.
  • HM Land registry to further develop digital services to make the whole process of searches and registering title and mortgage ‘charges’ at the Land Registry quicker and simpler.

Comment

This is long overdue.  Most estate agents are already professional qualified but it is the ‘cowboys’ that give all industries a bad name.  For many, bricks and mortar is their biggest asset and indeed, with a mortgage, the biggest expense.  It makes absolute sense to make the whole process of buying, selling and renting easier and quicker within a more professionalised and hopefully better trusted estate agent sector.


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