£2.5 billion. This is the sum homeowners pay to estate agents each year due to their undervaluing and failure to negotiate the best price for their property, helping estate agents generate commission from quick sales as a result. As the housing market is picking up again, banks are becoming more willing to loosen lending standards and facilitate consumers’ access to mortgages. But the home market’s revival is bringing an array of dirty tricks that estate agents use to get fast cash. Homeowners planning to sell up should be aware of the cunning schemes estate agents use, property expert Alistair McGovern told the Express newspaper.

McGovern, who has worked as an estate agent, says that one of the most widespread schemes used by estate agents is when they conspire with a buyer to reserve a property for them. The estate agent tells the owner that the property has attracted no interest and then the buyer appears with an offer that is significantly lower than the asking price. The discouraged owner, who has been warned that complaining too much about the price won’t help strike a deal, is left with no other option but to accept the reduced offer. The agent is paid a commission for the sale and also gets a payment from the buyer for the favour.

People seeking to find buyers for their property also encounter problems during the sales process due to estate agents’ poor negotiation skills (resulting from their inadequate training or lack of experience). Sometimes they just want to earn a commission the faster way, but this can trigger losses of between £5,000 and £25,000 to the seller, the Clear Property Advice website warns. In London, the sum could reach £50,000 per property. Yet agents appear not to care about this since it’s not their money, the property adviser says.

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