More than half of those who bought, sold or rented a home in the last five years had issues with their estate or letting agent. However, the majority didn’t check if their agent was regulated or part of a professional body before signing the contract.
After surveying over 2000 people we have found that a worrying number of Brits assume all estate agents, letting agents and landlords are regulated.
We asked Brits who have bought, sold or rented a property in the last five years about their experiences with letting agents, estate agents, and landlords, revealing that 54 per cent 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, our research found that 37 per cent of buyers and sellers, and 42 per cent of renters didn’t consider whether their agent was part of a professional body such as Propertymark before progressing with their transaction.
For 42 per cent of renters it didn’t cross their mind to ask; one in six (14 per cent) wrongly assumed all agents were regulated. Of the 55 per cent who faced issues with their property, more than half (57 per cent) 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 per cent)
Struggling to get old items replaced (20 per cent)
Not getting their full deposits back – and not being given a reason why (12 per cent)
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; with issues typically being addressed within a week (41 per cent). By contrast, only 25% of those who didn’t check had their issues solved within a week.
Buyers and Sellers
47 per cent of buyers or sellers checked if their estate agent was regulated before moving ahead with the sale or purchase. As with renters, a third (37 per cent) didn’t think about it, while 14 per cent prioritised the property and went with the agent because they were attached to the home they wanted to buy. More than half (53 per cent) encountered issues such as bad communication (19 per cent), feeling as if the agent didn’t care about them (12 per cent) and feeling pressurised (10 per cent).
On top of this, 70 per cent 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 Governments costs buyers between £695 and £744 and sellers £582 to £740. Concerns over gazumping, and a sense of mistrust between buyers and sellers also plague property sales making some transactions uncomfortable for all involved.