‘Portal juggling’ banned by The Property Ombudsman
Industry regulators are cracking down on devious estate agents who manipulate the house-buying public through online property portals, as new codes of conduct are introduced.
While the prevalence of online portals for selling homes has made it easier for potential buyers to find their dream homes – as well as making it easier for estate agents to reach a wider audience – it was only a matter of time before unscrupulous cowboys found a way to exploit the system.
One sneaky tactic, known as ‘portal juggling’, sees deceitful estate agents removing properties that they cannot sell from sites such as Rightmove, eMoov, and Purple Bricks, lowering the asking price, and then re-listing the property with slight changes to fool the vast majority of browsers on the sites.
While it may not seem a massive issue, it severely limits a potential buyer’s ability to negotiate a lower price, as the house in which they have shown an interest can seem as if it has only been on the market a short time, whereas in reality it has been on sale for much longer.
The practice also works in the favour of the estate agent, who can claim that they sell homes in a much shorter time-frame than their competitors, as well as hiding the fact that they were forced to lower the asking price of a particular property in order to process a sale.
From this Saturday however, with applause from many property selling experts, The Property Ombudsman will outlaw this approach to create a more honest and transparent housing market.
“Our codes already state that all advertisements must be legal, decent, honest and truthful,” said Gerry Fitzjohn, chairman of The Property Ombudsman Board.
“But now, they go one step further to clarify that ‘portal juggling’, in its various forms, is misleading to consumers.”
Those who disregard the new codes of conduct will be subject to a review by the Ombudsman’s disciplinary panels, as well as being reported to Trading Standards.
Vendors who have entrusted their homes to estate agents of questionable ethics while looking for a fast house sale are rightfully upset, as not only can they lose money, but their experience fails to serve as an example for others who could wander into the same trap.
Those who are worried about ‘portal juggling’, and the traditional long-winded house-selling process, can always use property buying companies – which process a purchase in a much shorter time-frame.
Have you had your home repeatedly relisted by estate 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.
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