Below Market Value Agent Advertised Misleading House Prices

Below Market Value Agent Advertised Misleading House Prices

17:30 PM, 9th December 2011, About 13 years ago 1

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Estate agents quoting misleading below-market-value home sale prices have been reprimanded by the advertising watchdog.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld four complaints against Express Estate Agency, run in Manchester by Sell Quick.

The firm was told not to publish the offending adverts again and to make sure advertised prices were a true reflection of the value of the properties for sale.

The ASA was told about several properties the firm offered for sale:

  • One two-bedroomed terrace house was listed for sale at a claimed £22,500 below market value discount of £49,950.

    A buyer had an offer of more than £49,950 rejected. Express explained the seller had decided not to accept the offer even though the advert stated: “Express Estate Agency offers this attractively priced property to buyers who are in a position to buy relatively swiftly. This property is priced low to encourage a quicker than normal sale.”

  • A three-bed terrace was priced at offers over £74,950 – a claimed 21% discount on market value of £95,000 set by an independent surveyor. The Express advert said: “The property is offered significantly below market value. These genuine discounts are offered based upon the property’s independently verified market value. All of our surveyed properties have been valued by an independent Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Valuer in order to confirm that all of our properties are offered with true discounts.”

The ASA heard that Express Estate Agency offered homes at marketing prices, not asking prices, and they tried to sell at a higher price than the advertised marketing prices.

Three of the complaints questioned whether the prices were true as when offers were made Express Estates told them the sellers wanted offers at a much higher price than advertised.

The ASA also told Express Estates to have ‘robust substantiation’ of any future advertised property prices.

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12:12 PM, 13th December 2011, About 13 years ago

We answered an Express Estates advert for a 3 bed house at 69,950. At first, they played us about. But, when we eventually got to view the property, the seller said the offer price is now 88,000. It seems that they were using an eBay auction strategy where they start with a ridiculous price and get buyers to bid against each other.

I've crossed the Express Agency off my list. I feel sorry for sellers who use them - unless of course they're in cahoots.

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