Government vows to keep rogue estate agents in check
In an effort to keep rogue estate agents in check, the government is proposing legislation for all businesses to require a professional qualification, while simultaneously introducing guidelines that could help the house-buying process become more transparent.
As of 2018, there are currently over 20,000 estate agents operating in the UK. This is somewhat unsurprising considering the number of sold house prices confirmed every year. What is surprising, however, is that there neither is, nor has there ever been, a professional qualification needed to practise as an estate agent in a professional context.
For vendors and buyers who were unaware, this revelation could be considered rather worrying news, as there is no way other than word-of-mouth to know whether or not their agent of choice reaches the standard that is expected of them.
As a result of this loophole, a slew of ‘rogue’ estate agents have cropped up around the UK, taking advantage of clients and ultimately diminishing consumer confidence in an industry that is already fighting in vain to restore its reputation before brick and mortar outlets cease to exist entirely.
Luckily, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that in the future, all estate agents must hold a forthcoming qualification in order to operate, and all managing or letting agents must reveal any fees, or house price quotes that they receive from solicitors, mortgage brokers, or surveyors to both customers and the industry watchdog.
In the UK, over 250,000 property sales fall through every year as a result of either sellers or buyers withdrawing from a sale due to a lack of oversight regarding legal documents, or simply because of sellers ‘gazumping’ a buyer with whom they are in negotiations with, in favour of a higher offer from elsewhere.
The new legislation being drafted aims to lock both parties into an agreement once negotiations have started or face a hefty fine. The bill also aims to help educate the general population in regard to how the buying and selling process actually works.
“Buying a home is one of the biggest and most important purchases someone will make in their life. But for far too long buyers and sellers have been trapped in a stressful system full of delays and uncertainty,” said Mr Javid.
“So we’re going to put the consumers back in the driving seat.”
However, while hopes remain high that reputable estate agents will gain a boost in business by adhering to these new standards, many vendors who need to sell their house fast may still find it beneficial to opt for the services of house-buying companies, who are happy to operate in an honest and open fashion, helping their clients to process a sale with minimum stress.
Prefer to avoid high street agents? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.