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Estate Agents – The Art of Bewilderment Pt.3

29/06/2010

Avoid the estate agent ‘nightmare’

According to Home.co.uk, the number of UK Estate Agent offices operating at the peak of the most recent property boom in the UK as of August 2007 was over 17,000. However, the recession has reduced the number of offices to around 10,500-12,000.

This shrinkage of the market will no doubt have caused many agents to re-evaluate their business strategy.

Agents ‘working to raise standards’

To their credit, many estate agents are working to raise standards in the profession: in fact the majority UK estate agents have signed up to operate according to Codes of Practice as laid out by the The Property Ombudsman (TPO) [formerly Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA)] and/or the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

Both these schemes give added assurance to the client that the estate agent they are dealing with has addressed the issues of malpractice and have a clearly established complaints procedure should a breakdown in service occur.

In order for these self-regulatory schemes to work, greater consumer awareness of them is vital.  The Code(s) of conduct are available for download from the TPO website for sales here and lettings here.

And the NAEA rules of conduct can be downloaded from here

TPO Code of conduct from here for lettings & sales

A marked improvement

Christopher J Hamer, The Property Ombudsman said in his 2009 annual report

“For 2009 I have already indicated that workload was lower

than for 2008, 891 new cases in total being received, split 456

sales/435 lettings. This was 15% lower than my office received in

that previous year but still significantly higher than any year prior

to the peak in 2008. In total we resolved 1,047 cases, 7% more

than 2008, with the effect that we have reduced our waiting time

before a case is allocated to a case officer to between just four

and five weeks with around three weeks of that time span being

the period in which we are seeking and obtaining the branch file

and submission from the agent”

If you are not happy with your estate agent..tell them! If they don’t satisfy your comments then maybe you should consider taking action by reference to the complaints procedure and also, make sure you share your experiences here!

Link to NAEA complaints section

Link to TPO sales complaints section

Link to TPO lettings complaints section

The same goes for good experiences too, a good agent can make and/or save you thousands of pounds.

Please contact me via email rob@walkerfox.co.uk to share your experiences both good and bad and the best will be incorporated into my regular blog piece.

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