There’s been a notable increase in the number of estate agents overcharging not just sellers, but buyers of residential property as well, the country’s Property Ombudsman Christopher Hamer has warned. Have you ever experienced this?

The Ombudsman has been notified about cases of agents forcing people to pay far higher fees than they need to from the entire country. These murky practices involve hundreds of agents, he told ITV News on Monday.

One of the methods estate agents use to cash in on surging demand for homes is charging buyers thousands of pounds in “introduction fees”. Sellers, on the other hand, are charged extra via an “admin fee”.

If a person is selling a house with a £200,000 price tag, for instance, he/she would be likely charged an “admin fee” of £180. The buyer would be then told to pay a 2% “introduction fee” to snap up the property, via sealed bids, with the amount going as high as £4,800 when VAT is added.

Facing an agent fee of thousands of pounds after paying a deposit, stamp duty and legal fees is “crazy”, one buyer told the news programme.

Asked to comment on this increasing practice, a government source told ITV News that this double-charging is quite concerning. A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovations and Skills said that the Consumer Minister has been aware about agents obtaining fees from both the buyer and the seller and has expressed concerns about the risks this emerging practice might pose to the property market.

If you want to avoid these extortionate fees, have a look at the properties here on eMoov – the nation’s largest, low cost online estate agents.

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