Or not, if Saturday’s article in the Daily Telegraph is to be believed. Penned by Ms Amy Willis it shrieked the headline, “Only the agent wins” with an indignation befitting a die hard Corbynista at the forthcoming annual party conference (definitely one for The Chesh’s diary). The first paragraph reported how as agents we are chortling among us ourselves that our main gig is no longer making money from selling houses but we are instead profiteering from mortgage broking and the associated conveyancing services. Really? As was oft repeated in a well-known Hollywood film, “Show me the money”. In seriousness, many agents do indeed profit from the many add-on ‘services’ proffered and we have blogged many times on how we feel about the matter. In fact the fee from the house sale is often outweighed by the add-on monies. But the latter do come about because of one thing; selling houses-the clue is in the title-unless of course one is an online facilitator of money changing hands, I mean selling houses….Anyway, that was a previous blog.
This is-despite Ms Willis’ best attempts to imply otherwise-nothing new. Go back to the mid eighties and every bank or building society was buying up chains of estate agents, simply to secure their mortgage book and increase their turn over and profit margin on the back of house sales and what went with them. This was way before data bases and data mining entered into the lexicon. Our scribe highlights many practices that are truly appalling and quotes ‘Jenny’, a whistle blower who has become jaundiced by the business to the extent that she has gone to the press (and 6/4 on got paid for her troubles) to report the nefarious behaviour. The Chesh would have had no problem having his name and visage across the national media, preferably within the single number pages and at least half the page. (It would be the least that I could do for you ladies).
Some of Ms Willis’ ‘tips’ to avoid being “stung” are a little wide of the mark. She advises not to use an estate agent that pushes mortgages as their tricks could leave you out of pocket. Not quite right Ms W. Advise people to ask questions. Some very good estate agents push mortgages and push the prospective purchaser to acquire a suitable product for their needs. Purchasers should be asking the agent what exactly he is getting out of the deal and how using an add on service will benefit them, the customer. Many of the petrol stations that I use have at the pay desk a range of chocolate and the cashier asks whether I would like one of their special offers. I don’t like it, I don’t want it, but it doesn’t stop me buying my petrol there.
This is not like buying a jumper at a well-known retail outlet. People buy houses, they are not sold a house akin to being flogged life insurance that no one is really convinced that they need. The whole point is that both purchaser and vendor should pick an agent that they believe that they can trust. This is done through asking the right questions to establish how the said agent operates and the core principles of their business. A good deal should benefit all parties, no scam involved.