Brokers warn of rise in conditional selling practices at real estate agencies

“Buyers are advised that their offer to purchase the property will not be subject to the seller’s consideration unless they accept additional internal services offered, such as mortgage advice or legal services.”

According to reports, the negotiators of these agencies are essentially implying to potential buyers that their offers to purchase a property will not be subject to the seller’s consideration unless they accept additional internal services offered, such as mortgage advice or legal services. .

After speaking to brokers, Newspage says it appears some corporate realtors are using people’s desperation to buy and the strength of market demand to sell insider tips.

However, most brokers are keen to point out that the majority of real estate agents, especially smaller independents, do not use these “conditional selling” tactics.

Rhys Schofield, managing director of Peak Mortgages and Protection, said: “I won’t mince words: many agents repeatedly break the law and don’t care because clients are too scared to complain for fear of missing out on properties. Connells in particular pops up time and time again on In fact, i have collected evidence of a contact to bring to the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries meeting next month and i have an inbox of unethical and in some cases illegal examples from other brokers as well as our own customers.

“The most shocking story I’ve received is: ‘I suspect it’s the same old story, but I have a client who found a home he loved. They made an offer through Connells but heard nothing. They called to be told that the salesman had left with someone else. Strange as they are first time buyers living with parents and they offered full asking price. Some things didn’t fit, so I encouraged them to put a note across the front door of the house. The seller called them and said they only had one offer from a buyer who was using Connells to make their mortgage and they said no one else made an offer. He thought it was strange because my clients had told him that day how much they liked his house and he was waiting for their offer. The seller has withdrawn the property from the sale with Connells and is selling to my clients and now I am the intermediary between the seller and the client who go to the property mediator. They totally lied about presenting my clients’ offer and they also told them, before that, that they would be on ‘list A’ if they used their in-house mortgage broker and on ‘list B’ if they didn’t. and therefore would never get the first dibs on a property even if someone came after them. So wrong. This client is ready to register himself and others.”

Rob Peters, Director of Simple Fast Mortgage, commented: “The key issue is that some estate agents appear to be misleading potential buyers, and to the potential financial detriment of those selling a property. Buyers are advised that their offer to purchase the property will not be subject to seller review. unless they agree to the additional in-house services offered, such as mortgage advice or legal services.Obviously, by the time a buyer arrives at the estate agent, they have usually already verified that they can obtain a loan mortgage and for how much relationship with a mortgage advisor, backed by supporting documentation, known as a decision in principle.High volumes of client and broker feedback indicate that some real estate agents refuse to accept confirmation or documents provided that prove the buyer is “suitable” to proceed, instead insisting that they speak with their mortgage adviser in preferred dull. This is often followed by the unlikely rationale that “the seller asked for this” sp specific method. The unfortunate result is that buyers are misled into using services they otherwise would not have wanted or needed, at potential additional cost, in order to advance their purchase offer. Sellers, on the other hand, do not benefit from the higher sales offers they would otherwise have received, which results in a lower price. At best, these practices are unethical and irresponsible, at worst, illegal.

“As someone who’s spent many years making sure clients get the right result (and applying correction when they don’t), it’s very disappointing to hear that this type of thing happens. still produces. It’s reminiscent of archaic sales tactics that are best left in the past; tactics that have resulted in numerous customer reviews and billions of pounds in financial compensation. This behavior must be eradicated as it penalizes buyers and sellers and gives a bad name to the majority of what is a professional industry.

“Estate agents are bound by rules such as the Residential Estate Agents Code of Practice and the Property Ombudsman. Both of these are very clear that rendering a service, such as mortgage advice, is conditional on presenting of an offer to purchase property is not permitted. This is not a new problem, but one that appears to have worsened. If the industry cannot work together to resolve it, further investigation is required. close regulation to ensure consumers are protected and to move the industry forward and away from practices that belong to the dark ages.

“It’s equally important to understand that this doesn’t apply to all estate agents, most do a great job for their clients but, as always, it’s the minority that tarnishes the reputation of the many. However , there seem to be some big corporate names that are repeatedly mentioned as the culprits.”

Lewis Shaw, founder of Shaw Financial Services, added: “I have had numerous instances of estate agents trying to offer financial services to my clients; in the last three instances they have all been part of the Connells or Countrywide groups, in particular Bairstow Eves, Frank Innes and Burchell Edwards. They’ I push this silly line of ‘we have to qualify them financially’ even though all of the clients in question had tentative agreements. I spoke to real estate agents and said you had no business doing that, and their response was “It’s company policy.” I’m waiting for the “no, we didn’t say that” so I can upload the recorded phone call and it can be used as evidence for everyone to hear. It is illegal, unethical and a violation of consumer rights. These corporate real estate agencies are not good enough to win business by providing a quality proposal and service, so they use blackmail and coercion. Often these in-house mortgage services have limited panels, are never market-wide or independent, and push hefty life into insurance premiums, often from just one insurer – you guessed it – the one who will pay them the the highest commission rates and which rinses the consumer. It is time for this practice to be banned and for an appropriate sanction to be put in place.”

Financial Reporter has contacted Countrywide for comment.