Estate Agent charging for NOT selling my house!

by Readers Question

22:56 PM, 5th June 2014
About 5 years ago

Estate Agent charging for NOT selling my house!

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Estate Agent charging for NOT selling my house!

Let the SELLER beware! Estate Agent charging for NOT selling my house

I was shocked when I recently gave notice to my estate agent but received an invoice for £480 trying to charge me for Marketing Expenses. This was after completing my contract term of 12 weeks and after giving them the proper notice period. In that time (nearly four months) they only produced two serious viewings so I decided to instruct another agent.

It seems ridiculous to me that they are trying to charge me for their failure to find a buyer for my property. I thought Estate Agents usually charge you when they actually sell your house!

I have disputed their invoice on the grounds that I have fulfilled my contract term and they have had ample time to sell my property. However they are still insisting I pay as it is clearly stated in the terms of business contract.

It looks like I will have to pay but think I should make this issue public to warn other sellers that they may be charged if they withdraw their property from their agency or take it off the market.

It also begs the question what is the point of signing up to a 12 week sole agency contract and a further period notice period when they still have the right to charge you something for moving to another agent. Maybe they are discriminating against me as I cannot believe they charge everyone on their books that give them notice to quit after they have completed the contract term.

Has anyone had any experience of this or can recommend a course of action?

I was thinking of at least giving this agent some publicity with regard to my dissatisfaction and to warn others.

Thanks

Angus



Comments

Mark Alexander

23:02 PM, 5th June 2014
About 5 years ago

Hi Angus

The case law which springs immediately to mind is OFT vs Foxtons - see >>> http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2009/1681.html - however, this was based on letting.

The legislation and principles are very similar though, see Unfair Terms In Consumer Contract Regulations >>> http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/2083/made

Property118 has a no name and shame policy but you may wish to make your views known at http://www.allagents.co.uk/ which is fast becoming the TripAdvisor equivalent for the estate agency and lettings market.

If the terms were clear then it is uinlikely you will win a case if it goes to Court, albeit not impossible. Your alternative to simply paying up would be to take your chances and let them take you to the Small Claims Court. At worst you will have the Court costs added to your bill if you lose, these are not going to be significant. Your credit rating will not be affected if you pay up within 30 days of any judgement. If you tell them now that you are refusing to pay what they are asking, but that you will offer make them a "without prejudice" payment of £100 as full and final settlement of your dispute, they may just take it it, especially if you explain that the alternative is that you will post your thoughts on various review websites and that your defence, should the matter go to Court, will be based on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract relations. If you do try this please let me know how you get on.

Good luck.
.

7:37 AM, 6th June 2014
About 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this story Angus.

Mark has given some good input.

What springs to my mind about this story is how, in an active market, this agent could only produce 2 viewings?!

Did you question why there were no viewings? Did you review the marketing materials and consider whether the property was over-priced?

I think the real failure here is that it appears the agent just stuck it on the market and did nothing more.

The two people that viewed it - what was their feedback? You could learn a lot from that.

If my property was not generating viewings after 3 DAYS on the market, I would want to know why! Most enquiries come in the first three days when the listing is "fresh" on the portals. After that they start to tail off in my experience.

I hope my input raises some thought processes that encourage you to seek answers, rather than just trying to re-market your property at the same price. 🙂

8:18 AM, 6th June 2014
About 5 years ago

P.S.

Sorry, Angus, I forgot to mention that, if you are motivated to sell your property, you could always sell your property for cash to an investor. No marketing, no viewings, no estate agent fees, no hassle.

One of my clients is currently in buying mode and is a genuine cash buyer. His name is **Moderated - unauthorised promotion - please see sponsors rules >>> http://www.property118.com/business-sponsorship/**. He will make a no obligation cash offer for your property and can complete in 4 days.

Angus Ryan

9:29 AM, 6th June 2014
About 5 years ago

Thanks for your input Mark and Vanessa.

As I still feel quite angry about it I am minded to take my chances and let them take me through the small claims court after I have sent them another letter refusing to pay along the lines of Mark's comments above.

It is an unfair clause as there appears to be no exit for a seller if they want to go elsewhere. I understand this type of sneaky clause is quite common in estate agency agreements but is invariably invoked.

They have picked on me but I will call their bluff and at least try and frustrate them.

Thanks again

Mark Alexander

10:14 AM, 6th June 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Angus Ryan" at "06/06/2014 - 09:29":

Sounds like you're nearly as blood thirsty as me! LOL

I'm happy to help, any time 🙂
.

Alasdair Melville - Hawk & Chadwick

16:53 PM, 6th June 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "06/06/2014 - 10:14":

Sounds deeply unfair to me Angus.

Can't really add more than what has already been pointed out - if you signed a contract then they can probably hold you to it - whether it's worth it for £480.00 is another matter. They might just drop the whole thing if you agree to leave it on the market with them and instruct somebody else alongside them - you could use that as a bargaining chip, and then just sell it through the new agent anyway - but make sure your new guys don't introduce somebody who has already viewed it through the original lot, otherwise you might be liable for two fees depending on the terms of your contract with both.

As Vanessa has correctly pointed out, in this market where stock is at a premium and there are literally buyers everywhere (not even kidding, I'm constantly responding to buyers looking for property, but I've run out of available stock!), if they haven't sold your property it's probably either because they're not converting enquiries into viewings, or you might have it priced a little rich for the location/style/decor.

Try using tools such as Home.co.uk, Mouseprice, Zoopla and recent sold prices on Rightmove to get a feel for what others have recently sold for, that should give you a good set of reliable figures.

Also as a note here for others, please beware of some on-line agents that will charge you an upfront fee to list your home, before even agreeing to come out and see you. If the property fails to sell and you walk away, they will also keep your initial fee! I think that's wrong - if what has been promised isn't delivered, you shouldn't have to pay for it. Period.

Best of luck with the case.

Alasdair Melville
Director
Hawk & Chadwick Ltd.

Mark Alexander

17:43 PM, 6th June 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alasdair Melville - Hawk & Chadwick" at "06/06/2014 - 16:53":

Hi Alisdair

Interesting that you mention a few websites to check values. Have you seen our Property Research Tool?

I think you will like it - see >>> http://www.property118.com/property-search-tool/
.


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