Two-thirds of customers ‘have had problems with estate agents’ – NAEA

Nearly two-thirds of recent buyers and sellers have had problems with their estate agent – including, almost certainly, NAEA members.

In London, the proportion of buyers and sellers who have had problems with agents in the last five years rises to 83%.

The disclosure comes this morning from the NAEA itself.

It said that one in four buyers and sellers had not considered whether “agents were regulated” but suggested they might have avoided problems had they done so.

The NAEA’s press release advises consumers: “Make sure you look for the logo, and find a NAEA Licenced [sic] Agent.”

However, when Eye asked if there was a breakdown of problems experienced with NAEA and non-NAEA agents, we were told: “The research is not broken down so we cannot say if they were NAEA members or not.

“The main point of the research is to show that a fair amount of consumers did not check if they were going with a licensed agent, and obviously we’d rather encourage consumers to look for licensed estate agents to minimise any problems.

“Whilst problems can and do arise during the process of buying or selling a home, using a NAEA licensed agent will help put consumers’ minds at ease that any issues can be dealt with in a professional and safe manner.”

According to the NAEA’s press release this morning, almost half (47%) of consumers did not check whether their agent was regulated or not, saying it had not crossed their minds.

A further 16% assumed that all agents were regulated.

The NAEA said its research showed that 60% of people who have bought or sold a property in the last five years had a problem with their agent.

“However, over a third of buyers (39%) did not consider whether their estate agent was regulated, meaning their agent may not have signed up to a code of conduct or have any regulatory body overseeing them.

“With 60% reporting to have had issues with their estate agents, over a third (37%) admitted that these could have been avoided if their agent was better regulated.”

The NAEA says that the biggest complaint against agents is bad communication skills (21% of complaints).

Another 13% claimed the agent had not told them about known faults in properties, and 11% said their agent made promises they did not keep.

Over-pricing was a problem for 9%, with 9% also complaining about their agent’s dishonesty. One in ten complainants said that the agent had exaggerated their description of the property.

The research was conducted by Opinium in August among 1,102 people who had rented a property in the last five years and 1,240 who bought or sold.

The top complaints were:

  1. Bad communication – agent either chased too much or didn’t call
  2. Buyer or seller felt agent didn’t care about them
  3. Agent not revealing known property faults
  4. Agent making promises they could not keep
  5. Being too pressuring
  6. Exaggerating property description
  7. Over-pricing
  8. Dishonesty
  9. Agent not having all information required, such as Council Tax or service charges
  10. Not being able to contact agent
  11. Agent forgetting who buyer or seller was
  12. Gazumping
  13. Agent providing wrong information

* On the NAEA’s website, there are eight formal disciplinary cases dealt with this year, but the records stop at May.




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  1. Trevor Gillham

    'The NAEA says that the biggest complaint against agents is bad communication skills (21% of complaints). '

    That is why I created, it updates everyone automatically with viewings, offers, rejected, accepted etc. We're a Affinity partner of the NAEA.

    1. PeeBee

      Sorry – but WHERE in the above article does it state that the "bad communication skills" had anything whatsoever to do with updating concerned parties regarding "…viewings, offers, rejected, accepted etc…"? Your "etc" must cover one H£ll of a multitude of sins if you think that is a plug for your product…

  2. Robert May

    How ironic, I have been waiting 5 months for Mark Hayward to return my telephone calls.

    1. NewsBoy

      Email him You will get a reply.

      1. Robert May

        Thank you for that Newsboy. I tend to find that communication isn't necessarily the problem; invariably communication is the oven ready scapegoat for someone failing to do what they ought to have done.
        I really would be concerned if two members of the NAEA membership department and the PA to the MD have failed to communicate the detail of my calls into Arbon House on 4 occasions.

  3. ammik

    I used to be a member of both the NAEA and ARLA and was seriously considering the DipRea route. But I fell out of love with both organisations on realising other agents that were members of one or the other were ripping of vendor, landlord and tenant around me. So I no longer associate with them. I sell myself and my principles, not hide behind organisations that, let's face it, have no 'real' power.

    1. NewsBoy

      They would certainly have the power to deal with any member on a disciplinary level if you remained. Have a look at the website to see what they do to members who breach their rules!

  4. PeeBee

    Unfortunately, membership of ANY Trade Body, Association, Institution or 'Jolly Boy/Girl's Club' means squat. There are countless 'Members', 'Fellows' etc that simply get away with what they have done, and are currently doing. Sad, really…

  5. PeeBee

    "Nearly two-thirds of recent buyers and sellers… The research was conducted by Opinium in August among 1,102 people who had rented a property in the last five years and 1,240 who bought or sold."

    If FIVE YEARS is deemed "recent", then my opinion of 'Opinium' is that they haven't got a Scooby…

  6. Beano

    I hazard a guess that two-thirds of the complainants have 1) unreasonable expectations 2) Lack of understanding of the laws and processes of estate agency 3) A propensity to look for issues/problems 4) Preconceptions or prejudices over the job and 'estate agents'. 5) Mental Issues ;@(Apologies about this one, but really some must have)

  7. Estate Agent W1

    They are not licensed agents. They are members of an organisation. I do wish they would stop peddling the idea that they are licensed it is so misleading.

    1. PeeBee

      And those found to be acting in breach of the organisation's 'rules' are slapped on the back of the hand, fined, recommended to pay for (and possibly turn up for) a course – and if they've been weally weally naughty, they'll be kicked out of the Association… only to continue practicing… and NO-ONE will be any wiser!

  8. wilko

    I gave up membership of the NAEA years ago because they took the side of a member of the public in a complaint issue, in spite of the fact I had hard evidence to prove the complaint wrong. It seems that my case was not isolated and it seems to me that, for a trade body they are weak when it comes to looking after their members. I haven't missed them at all to be honest….in fact it's only when they send a press release like this that I remember they exist…..Shame really, as it would be nice to have a decent, strong body representing the industry.

  9. munro

    Two or three years ago I wanted to suspend my membership of the NAEA for a year and was told this was not possible and if I did not pay up my membership would be cancelled. I would have to re-apply with the clear suggestion exams would have to be re-taken. Having been a member for thirty plus years I was less than impressed particularly by the tone of their response!
    This got me thinking, I had paid the NAEA in subs, the thick part of 5k in today's money and for what? They seem to be toothless when representing our industry, and I can't remember any new business coming my way because I was a member.

  10. Tuf Luv

    So the death of NAEA has been greatly exaggerated, they were just sitting in a corner having a stroke – got it. Dude I’d rather queue for an iPhone than look for a logo so here’s some facts, 100% of complaints about the NAEA are about the NAEA. OK so I’m kidding but at first blush we got an organization getting all swollen off its own dirty talk so lets be real here, you can slice & dice it eight ways from Sunday but this BS still isn’t worth my small change.

    I get the rhetoric but hey, throw in a tree and a fat guy and we got Christmas so what gives because something tells me this aint a pay it forward moment. Me personally, affiliation sucks and I’m guessing the same for those involved in their eight formal disciplinary cases. I figure the NAEA’s making lemonade and that’s cool but boy does it need a shot of vodka.

    1. wilko

      Ros…….can you give tuf luv a weekly column on the eye please. Thanks.

      1. PeeBee

        …but don't forget an interpreter for us old f@rts… ;o)

  11. PeeBee

    I wonder how many complaints the NAEA will receive over the coming months over the OTM issue? A "watch this space", I suggest… ;o)


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