Over half of Britons have faced issues with estate agents, letting agents and landlords in the last five years, new research from Propertymark reveals.
The organisation asked Brits who have bought, sold or rented a property in the past five years about their experiences with estate agents, letting agents and landlords, finding that more than half (54%) have faced issues.
Over one million homes were bought or sold in England and Wales in 2016, a clear majority of which will have involved an agent. However, the study found that 37% of buyers and sellers, and 42% of tenants didn’t consider whether their agent was part of a professional body before progressing with their transaction.
For 42% of tenants, it didn’t cross their minds to ask – one in six (14%) wrongly assumed that all agents are regulated. Of the 55% that faced issues with their property, more than half (57%) hadn’t checked if their agent or landlord was indeed covered, leading to issues such as:
- Waiting a long time for any issues with the property to be fixed (38%)
- Struggling to get old items replaced (20%)
- Not getting their full deposits back, and not being given a reason why (12%)
Those who did check if their agent was a member of a professional body lucked out, with shorter waiting times when things needed fixing in their property. Issues were typically being addressed within a week (41%). By contrast, just 25% of those who didn’t check had their issues solved within a week.
Less than half (47%) of buyers or sellers checked if their estate agents were regulated before moving ahead with their sale or purchase. As with tenants, a third (37%) didn’t think about it, while 14% prioritised the property and went with the agent because they were attached to the home they wanted to buy. More than half (53%) faced issues, such as bad communication (19%), feeling as if the agent didn’t care about them (12%) and feeling pressurised (10%).
On top of this, 70% of buyers worry that their sale won’t go through, even after the offer has been accepted, which, according to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, costs buyers between £695-£744 and sellers between £582-£740. Concerns over gazumping, and a sense of mistrust between buyers and sellers, also plagues property sales, making some transactions uncomfortable for all involved.
Propertymark’s Mark Hayward and David Cox comment: “Choosing a property, whether it’s to buy or rent, is a huge financial commitment and can be overwhelming, especially for first timers. We almost always go with the agent attached to a property if we’re buying or renting, but it’s important to at least ask the question.
“Property transactions almost always takes longer than expected, and you may be forced into negotiations mid-way through the process – particularly for buyers. Your estate or letting agent should be there to guide you through the process, and make it as smooth and pain-free as possible, which all Propertymark Protected agents will endeavour to do.”
They continue: “The number of buyers, sellers and renters checking to see if their agent is regulated has improved since 2014, but it’s still worrying that so many people assume all agents are members of a professional body, such as Propertymark, and aren’t considering this when choosing an agent.”