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How to Spot a Rogue Estate Agent

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Selling your home is a big deal; having a reliable estate agent can make the process smoother. But how do you sort the genuine, professional estate agent from those rogue estate agents who dominate press headlines? We share some tips.

What is a ‘rouge agent’

The term ‘rogue estate agent’ has been a term adopted by the UK press to explain agents who operate dishonestly or unethically.

These ‘agents’ typically don’t know of or follow property industry regulations or guidelines. As a result, they fall foul of misrepresenting the homeowners who have instructed them through often high-pressure tactics to win instructions. 

The vast majority of estate agents in the UK are experienced and highly reputable, however, it’s always these few bad apples that hit the headlines and create homeowner anxiety.

How to identify a ‘rogue’ estate agent

1. Pressure selling

If you’re feeling pressured to make quick decisions without time to consider your options, then this should ring alarm bells.

A professional agent knows the importance of due diligence and won’t rush you into making a choice. They expect to be compared to other agents and will allow you time to consider your options.

2. No industry accreditations

Reputable estate agents should be registered with a redress scheme and are members of relevant industry bodies like Propertymark and The Property Ombudsman. Look for the logos that should be displayed on their website.

Ask them about their industry accreditations and if they don’t have it or are unable to show you anything, it’s another glaring red flag.

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3. No customer reviews

Customer reviews are important, and estate agents’ reviews are no different. They can provide valuable insight into their service. It can give you an idea of the quality of service delivery, including their expertise, alertness, and all important communication. Reviews can also help you make an informed decision based on the experiences of previous customers.

4. Property portals

It’s common knowledge that property portals are the first port of call for many when it comes to property searches. A savvy estate agent usually showcases their listings on at least one major platform. These portals play a key role in the visibility of a property. That being said, if an agent opts out of these portals, it isn’t always a reflection of an agent’s proficiency.

Some estate agents make a conscious choice to avoid these platforms due to the hefty fees involved, yet they still maintain high standards of service. It’s fair for property owners to inquire about alternative marketing strategies, but it’s important to remember that the presence on a portal isn’t the sole indicator of an agent’s capability.

5. If they accept cash

A reputable estate agent should have a secure system for handling client funds and will not handle cash. If cash transactions are even being mentioned, then your alarm bells should be going off!

Identifying a reputable estate agent

As mentioned above accreditations are really important so make sure your estate agent is registered with industry bodies and redress schemes. Ask for proof and quiz them on what these schemes mean for you as a customer.

There should be complete transparency on fees and hidden costs, and they should be able to give you a good understanding of the local housing market. Check out what previous clients have said in reviews and testimonials. Also are they courteous, on time and how do you find their communication? They are going to be working for you and it’s important you like and get on with them.

The Propertymark difference

Finding a great estate agent can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. So, a good place to start is looking for one who is a member Propertymark.

Propertymark is the professional trade body for estate and letting agents in the UK and their member agents abide by a strict code of conduct.

They’re also qualified, meaning they have sat exams and have regular training to ensure they are up to date on all policy and legal changes. Transparency is a hallmark, ensuring fees, processes, and terms are crystal clear from the outset.

By keeping these pointers in mind, you’ll be better positioned to spot rogue estate agents and make a wise choice, giving you the confidence to move home with confidence.

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Last Updated: November 22nd, 2023

Phil Spencer

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