Now I do not want to give the wrong impression, the vast majority of agents are honest hard working people. However the culture of questionable practice does seem to run deep
amongst many large corporate agents.
I think that if people knew how some big brand Estate Agents behaved, they may well think twice about their choice of agent and in turn do some research, not just relying on a known brand because well known and trustworthy are two completely different things.
Malpractice locally is so rife that just in the past two weeks here are three examples, all in our local area of very seedy practice.
Firstly by a large corporate that over values ( a lot.) We hope you understand that we cannot name names as we are the little guy here and have neither the time nor budget for expensive slander cases, however we can and always do tell the truth.
We had a Sole Agency with a client, a week later he naively signed up with said corporate after much pressure and a promise of a higher figure than we were marketing for. They were well aware that he was already on the market Sole Agency with us and did not warn him of his potential liability for two fees. They did not locate a buyer for the property, we did and the matter is proceeding.
Now they are claiming that he is in a Sole Agency contract with them and therefore owes them a fee! They have actually phoned me twice to ask who the buyer is. We know that they did not introduce this buyer and the buyer has confirmed that we were the introducing party. Nonetheless the agent is calling me and asking for the name of the buyer. I will not provide this to them because I fear given their seedy behaviour thus far, they will then ‘find’ a viewing which they allegedly carried out with this person.
Second scenario came a week earlier. We received a call from our buyer on a property saying that sadly they had contracted a life threatening illness and therefore could not proceed with the purchase. We immediately called our Vendor client to explain what had transpired and we promised to call all of our cash buyers and serious buyers with large deposits immediately. Two members of staff proceeded to do this. Another local corporate called our client and heard the story. They played on our clients frustration and pleaded that they had one cash buyer who had been desperate to get in and purchase the property, not advising our client that as he was a Sole Agent with us, he would be liable for our fees and theirs! Our client was in a vulnerable moment of weakness and agreed to this one cash buyer being introduced, all of course without our knowledge.
Next thing we know two of our cash buyers who we had already spoken to called and asked why we said we were the only agents when another agent had just sent them an email saying fancy this? With a link to our particulars. So we phoned our client and explained that clearly the other agent had no buyer, that even if they did, that would make him liable for two fees.
By this stage of course our vendor was not sure who to believe as the other agent had planted the seed of doubt that in some way we may have lied over the reason the original buyer fell through and if indeed we had received calls from our cash buyers.
We produced evidence of this and our vendor, having now realised had been well and truly lied to and misled by the other agent, called them and asked them why they had neglected to advise him of his liability for two fees and asked them never to call again.
The vendor now has complete faith restored in us thanks to this! He discovered that we had called all potential buyers after all and had just as many ( probably more ) contacts than said corporate.
Finally I have just discovered that the another corporate manager in our area has just been sacked for alleged dodgy dealing!
Now there are plenty of great independent agents out there, I hope the above has given you pause for though prior to appointing that big name, merely because they are a big name!
Independent agents like us are members of NAEA, ARLA , SAFEAGENT, Rightmove and Zoopla and we can provide both the coverage and indeed the personal owner in office coverage.