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C4’s Dispatches: An exposé of estate agent tricks

The HomeOwners Alliance calls for an end to estate agents' bullying tactics and a better regulated industry to protect home buyers and sellers

Our view here at the HomeOwners Alliance is forewarned is forearmed.

And that’s why we were on Channel 4’s Dispatches programme this evening highlighting what buyers and sellers need to watch out for when dealing with estate agents. Most are professional, hard working folk, but given that anyone can set up as an estate agent, it’s best to be aware of some of the nasty tricks they deploy.


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Paula Higgins, CEO of HomeOwners Alliance calling for an end to bullying tactics by Estate Agents and a more regulated industry, with C4’s Dispatches presenter Antony Barnett

First time buyers are particularly susceptible to some of the tricks caught on camera which include:

Promises of priority viewings: estate agents bully buyers by promising advanced notice of new properties on the market if they use the agent’s in-house  mortgage adviser. While it is an option, the agent’s mortgage broker may not find you the best deal, costing you more in monthly repayments. It will also cost you more in the short term because you’ll be paying the broker and estate agent’s commission: one undercover mortgage broker on Dispatches got £350 for every £100,000 mortgage.

Promises of prioritised offers: estate agents were recorded saying they would always recommend an offer from someone using their in-house mortgage broker. It’s actually illegal not to pass on all offers. So that agent is on some particularly dodgy ground!

Promises of the property being taken off the market: One agent guaranteed this for any buyer using their in-house mortgage provider, saying “we don’t gazump our own people”. Oh dear, and here we were thinking the estate agent works for the person selling the property!

 Your estate agent questions answered by the Experts

Do I have to pay estate agents fees when I sold the house?
A member’s tricky situation solved by our expert

If I switch estate agents will I still have to pay commission to my old one?
Our member want to leave her ineffective estate agent but she’s worried she will have to pay twice

How do I know third party offer is for real, and not the agent trying it on?
A member is worried the agent is lying to them to get them to increase their offer

Can my mortgage valuation surveyor be influenced by the estate agent? 
Find out what advice we give to a member worried about independence of their surveyor

Our expert explains best practice in the case of a gazumping

Can I lower my offer on the home I want to buy?
Oona has made an offer but thinks it’s too high but is worried she can’t walk away

And for more helpful advice, see our advice guides:


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