Thursday, November 12, 2009
"Estate agents regularly lie to home buyers"
This rather emotive headline from the Daily Telegraph (see full article here) seems to have caused hysteria throughout the internet with most people saying "yeah, tell us something new".
I have two thoughts:
Firstly, most of the estate agents I know are honest, hardworking folk who would not knowingly mislead anyone who came into their office. If you look beyond the headlines it says that 24% of agents were deemed "not to be complying with consumer protection laws" which actually could be the most insignificant thing. Sure one or two agents are bound to lie and be unscrupulous but tarring everybody in the same way is just too easy to do and smacks of lazy headline writing.
Secondly, traditional agents act for the vendor who ask them to portray their house in the best light possible and to the widest possible audience.
Buyers need to recognise this (particularly if they are buying abroad or in an area they don't know). Put simply, the agent is acting for the other party and will get every penny out of you he can on behalf of his client. Other professionals like lawyers & management consultants do this in business every day and people understand what to expect.
When they sign a mandate with an estate agent most people don't say - "I want a fair price", they say "I want the best price you can get please".
If you want a fully impartial opinion and someone to help you negotiate the lowest possible price you need to appoint a buying agent.
Sure they will charge you for their services but they will almost certainly save more than this cost by helping you buy at the lowest price as well as giving you peace of mind that no-one is pulling the wool over your eyes.
If you're thinking of buying a house in the UK you can find a list of buying agents through APFBA (The association of property finders & buying agents).
If you're thinking of buying a property in France follow this link to a list of registered property finders who would be happy to act for you http://www.frenchentree.com/french-property-finders/