Proposed minimum qualifications could lead to ‘draining the swamp’, says leading estate agent

A well-known agent says that the proposals announced early yesterday could ‘drain the swamp’.

Peter Wetherell, chief executive of  Wetherell in central London, welcomed the future need for estate agents to have a recognised qualification.

He said: “It’s the estate agency version of draining the swamp.

“It is amazing that you now have regulated bouncers for nightclubs, but you can be a window cleaner one day and then an estate agent the next.”

Another agent reacting to yesterday’s announcements queried whether voluntary tie-ins to transactions are really worth it, but said he would welcome standardisation.

Christian Warman’s firm, Tedworth Properties, had a case of gazumping just days ago, on a property that had been on the market a year. As a result, his agency endured a “volley of verbal excuse”.

He said: “Voluntary deposits to prevent gazumping are always a source of debate.

“They are sometimes used nowadays but often an inordinate amount of time can be spent determining the terms of the initial deposit, so it would be good to have this standardised.

“People often associate gazumping with a seller’s market. However, it also happens in a buyer’s market as we experienced last week.

“We agreed a sale at a price more favourable to the buyer than the seller but the former took his time providing solicitor’s details, getting his survey booked in, and providing details of his mortgage broker.

“Lo and behold, another buyer who had seen the flat beforehand submitted an offer at a higher amount as he had the confidence that someone else wanted to buy the property, making it more desirable in his eyes – two offers in ten days on a property that had been on the market for almost a year.

“Ultimately, the first buyer should have taken note of the phrase: if you snooze you lose.

“If he had provided the necessary information he had been repeatedly asked for in a timely fashion, rather than taking over a week to provide the most basic details, he would not have been gazumped and we wouldn’t have been subjected to the volley of verbal abuse.”

He added: “People often associate sales fall-throughs with poor estate agency practice but it is refreshing that at last focus being pointed at freeholders and managing agents as well as the searches that local authorities provide.

“Managing agents acting for freeholders can often take an inordinate amount of time to provide information about how a building is managed and financed, and  setting compulsory service standards on their response time will be a big help.

“And all too often the last piece of the conveyancing jigsaw is the local authority search despite often being the first thing applied for, so setting a maximum time permitted to provide a search will help too.”

Warman said he welcomed openness about referral fees, but said this should already be the case.

Also commenting yesterday was the HomeOwners Alliance, 35% of which is owned by conveyancing panel management firm ULS.

HOA  chief executive Paula Higgins said: “These reforms – which the HOA called for – will go a long way to bring more certainty for home owners and help stop sales falling through. In an industry tarnished by Wild West attitudes, these reforms will send the cowboys packing.”

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7 Comments

  1. Philosopher2467

    Bit harsh???

    i know a few window cleaners who take their responsibilities very seriously and provide an excellent service. ‘Getting shot’ of a window cleaner is a lot simpler than ‘getting shot’ of a bad agent imo.

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    1. spin2009

      It’s a Mayfair “thing”. 

       

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  2. spin2009

    Transitioning window cleaners will make excellent estate agents as their profession provides great property “insights” that will help them climb the ladder success.

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  3. AgencyInsider

    HOA  chief executive Paula Higgins said: “These reforms – which the HOA called for – will go a long way to bring more certainty for home owners and help stop sales falling through. In an industry tarnished by Wild West attitudes, these reforms will send the cowboys packing.”

    If you say so Ms Higgins. If you say so.

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    1. Garret2

      She is a total loon!..

      Conveyancing affiliate website masquerading as a “.org.uk” – Trading Standards should look into that no!?

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  4. malcolmroy63

    Funny how the loosing buyer thinks that we encourage gazumping, with fees at rock bottom an extra 10k offer is hardly going to pay our rightmove fees is it?

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  5. Certus

    I thought MLA2017 suggested that a sale cannot be agreed until buyer I.D. checks were done. I include proof of deposit and AIP before taking it off the market. Plus in sales letters you should include a timescale that it is off the market. Once compliant and we take it off the market for two weeks and list what should be done to keep it off the market.

    as a result – buyers will provide what we need pretty fast to get what they want.

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