Estate agents putting for sale boards outside properties that they haven’t even been asked to sell tops the list of dodgy tricks used by unscrupulous firms, according to a new study by independent estate agent James Pendleton.
It’s no secret that estate agents have earned a terrible reputation because of the dodgy tricks used by an unethical minority.
He is now lifting the lid on the underhand ways that he and his consultants have seen other firms trying to gain the upper hand over the competition – and even their own colleagues.
James Pendleton’s experts have hundreds of years’ of industry experience between them and have come across dozens of troublesome tricks over the years – they’ve named the top ten worst ones that you need to look out for.
Topping the list is the way that some agents stick for sale boards outside properties that they haven’t been asked to sell, just to give potential buyers and sellers the impression that they’re the most popular local agent.
In second place is telling clients not to accept offers from buyers that they have invented, to make it look like they are generating interest in their property.
The third spot is agents who keep vendors in the dark about a sale falling through while they frantically try to find another buyer, in case the seller takes their instruction elsewhere.
The full top ten is below:
- Putting boards up on properties that they haven’t been asked to sell or let.
- Advising clients on offers from fictional buyers.
- Not revealing to a seller that a deal has fallen through, while they scramble to find another buyer before they lose the instruction.
- Dreaming up fictional offers from non-existent viewings to push buyers into raising their offer.
- Refusing to hand over the keys to rival firms when more than one agent is marketing a property.
- Refusing to pass on an acceptable offer to the vendor, knowing the buyer will go higher and boost their commission.
- Deleting applicants and their offers from the firm’s database, so that buyers registered with colleagues are out of the running.
- Gazumping their own buyers with a better offer from another customer.
- Under-valuing a property in order to sell or let it to a developer or friend.
- Recommending offers from buyers just because they are signed up to their solicitors and brokers.
Lee James Pendleton, the Founder Director of James Pendleton, says: “This is the truth about the underbelly of this industry. It is unregulated and, as a result, attracts some pretty unscrupulous characters. You’ve got to remember that someone a day out of prison with no qualifications or ethical compass can set up an estate agency and sell your home.
“It’s vital consumers realise this and shop around. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming all estate agencies are born equal, far from it. Regulation may be the only way to stamp out the poor practices that undermine the hard work of the vast majority of agents.”
He adds: “All estate agents have to be a member of an ombudsman scheme and, like regulation, there is a cost attached. However, there’s scant evidence in my view that enough is being done to raise standards sufficiently where it’s most needed.”
When buying, selling or letting a property, remember to look for an ethical, reputable estate agent to avoid these dodgy tricks!