Estate agency should be regulated to avoid ‘carelessness and selfishness’

I went to lunch with my grandparents a couple of weeks ago. My grandfather has always been an avid watcher of the news and reader of the paper and so one of the topics on the tip of his tongue was the recent talk of the estate agency sector and it becoming regulated, with agents requiring their staff to be qualified. My grandad asked me what my thoughts were, to which I replied: 'I think it is a marvellous idea and well overdue.'

Kate Mamo-Lewis, Attik Property Services

Kate Mamo-Lewis, Attik Property Services

Currently other than anti money laundering and GDPR, there are only a few regulations around the setting up of, or trading as a an estate agent individually or as a business. Yes, there are professional bodies that agents can be accredited by, but this is not obligatory. Personally, I am qualified, as one of the benefits of working at a well-known corporate estate agents was the training and qualifications I acquired there. I would, however, think less than half of the agents working across the UK have received formal training.

Selling what can often be someone's largest asset, in my opinion, is not something we agents should take on lightly and I really feel this should be dealt with the upmost professionalism at all times.

Carelessness and selfishness of agents can cost vendors thousands of pounds and in some cases can lead to them losing out on their dream onward purchase, due to financial reasons and delays in a sale causing the breakdown of a chain.

Regulation will also ensure that agents are acting with integrity and with their clients' best interests at heart. An example of this is when agents rush to secure a sale, resulting in applicants not being financially verified before having an offer accepted.

Reasons for this could be to win the race of a joint agent scenario (a situation we have experienced ourselves twice this week), whereby the property in our chain was sold and sales memos drawn up, and there is no way the prospective buyer was financially viable, and the property has had to be remarketed. If situations like this are not established until weeks down the line, this can result in the vendor having to re-market their property and very often taking a lower offer or even having to reduce the price to achieve a quick sale. In worst case scenarios it can also lead to people missing out on the property they originally came onto the market for in the beginning.

Kate Mamo-Lewis can be contacted at Attik Property Services, column sponsors, on 01362 694800. Property Services has sponsored this column.