Estate Agents Act (EEA) / Property Misdescriptions Act (PMA)

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Estate Agents Act (EEA) / Property Misdescriptions Act (PMA)

14/09/12

It has been just over 24 hours since the new proposals have been announced to change the Estate Agents Act (EEA) & Property Misdescriptions Act (PMA) to open the private selling market. This will essentially allow homeowners to advertise and sell their property privately, and the website doing this will not face any repercussions if the property is not described correctly.

Since the announcement, I have been amazed by how many people have missed the point, and disappointed that once again, people want estate agents' heads on a stick. Just reading people's comments on any newspaper website should give you an idea.

I am all for opening up the market, and if people want to sell privately, they can, but why has everyone missed why people use agents in the first place?

I started my company with one mission - and that was to add value. I want every buyer and seller to thank us for helping them and at the end of the transaction, to be happy that we stumbled upon each other. For good estate agents (and there are some!), a lot of work goes in to selling a property, and I will try and explain this complicated process.

Firstly, we need to accurately value – and this is more difficult than people realise. Please remember that a property is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it. Banks will also value (if the buyer needs a mortgage), and they will gather comparables and try to compare, but this sometimes causes issues. What happens when your buyer fails to get finance?

We then need to market the property and encourage quality buyers to visit. Floor plans, quality photography and an accurate description are all very important to gain the best selling price. We then accompany each viewing to make sure the seller is getting the best exposure, but most importantly to make sure there is no security issue. Who will police this? We have had some horrid experiences in the past and estate agents biggest concern is security, and vetting the potential buyer.

Once several potential buyers have looked, we need to find the right buyer. Who is going to qualify them? Who is going to make sure they are financially savvy? And in most cases, who is going to talk to the property chain? This is a highly complex process to make sure that if their buyer/seller needs to sell/buy, to make sure that their buyer is right (see above, and repeat). I have worked on property chains 5-6 people long - in a private chain, who is going to run this? Conveyancing firms, solicitors and lawyers are great, but they do need following up and someone needs to do this.

And then there are mortgages, and the challenges we are all facing getting finance - who will qualify this, and who will again make sure all is in place? If someone fails finance, who will tell whom?

Selling privately is one way of selling, but I think this is riddled with problems. I also think that for any agent who is confronted with a private sale within their chain (which we have in the past); these buyers will be seen as the weakest link, as they won't have been qualified professionally. Of course, only time will tell, but for anyone who wants the process to run as smoothly as possible (who said moving was easy?), to meet deadlines, and to minimize the possibility of being messed around - I suggest you call in a professional.

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