Are these ethical sales tactics?

by Readers Question

9:26 AM, 21st September 2016
About 2 years ago

Are these ethical sales tactics?

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Are these ethical sales tactics?

I would be interested to know what other people feel about this behaviour from an estate agent? I saw a property that I very much wanted to buy and after having my original offer turned down I decided to offer the full asking price.Sales

I was informed that there were 2 other parties interested but I was the only one who had offered the asking price, however they had decided to give all parties the chance to offer a “final and best” bid. This in itself was strange as the asking price had been reached. I understand of course that they were looking to achieve the best price and so had little choice, but to go along with it. It was made very clear to me that the highest offer would get the deal.

Because I wanted the house I significantly upped my offer and baring in mind the other parties hadn’t even offered the original asking price I was confident of winning.

Now this is where it gets a bit murky. I failed with my bid, I pushed them for a reason as I was convinced my bid was highest. They seemed to imply that my bid may well have been the highest, but that other criteria had come into play. They were very vague on what this criteria was and would not tell me what the other bids were, stating this information was confidential. I doubt it is confidential especially as the winning bid would then be a matter of public record at the Land Registry when the sale completed.

I am suspicious that the “final and best” offers weren’t adhered to correctly and that underhand methods have been used. If indeed other criteria were involved, why was I not informed of what this criteria was beforehand. I offered what I believe to be the best price and was in a position to pay cash if required so I can’t see what other factors may have swayed the deal.

If I was cynical I would think that one of the interested parties had an inside track and were always going to win the deal, whatever I did. It could of course all be sour grapes on my part because I lost.

David



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:34 AM, 21st September 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi David,

I have no idea what happened here other than the fact you were obviously not told everything and what you do know may not be correct!

Price offered is one of the biggest factors vendors consider, but also things like speed and security the sale will go through eg. Cash buyers etc.

The only thing we know for certain is that a Selling Agent acts only on behalf and in the interests of their vendor and getting the best price and deal for their seller is the number one job.

I would always walk away if I sniffed being messed around to get a better price and then if it is serious they will always come back to you, but you will have the upper hand.

Onslow Clough

18:14 PM, 21st September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "21/09/2016 - 09:34":

Thanks Neil, my feeling is that something very underhand was going on. There was no need for all the secrecy and i am inclined to believe that my bid was not even presented to the seller and that the whole "final and best bidding" was just going through the motions. I just wondered if anyone else had similar experiences.

Mark Alexander

7:02 AM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Onlsow

Have you considered approaching the vendor directly?

Have you considered asking for the agents complaints procedure and which redress scheme they are members of?

If there have been underhand dealings by the agent which the vendor is unaware of this will certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons.
.

Adrian Jones

10:30 AM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Absolutely Mark, I would write to the vendor. stating what your offer was - and still is presumably. At least you might get some clarity.

Luke P

11:03 AM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Make your offer conditional of the property coming off the market. If they want to offer it to others, then your offer no longer stands. A partial solution...?

Steve Bower

11:24 AM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

The process was a bit opaque, but not necessarily underhand. I've sold property on a 'final & best' basis, simply to avoid many rounds of tiny increments, & it is often more professional to give a limited timescale for offers, or even a closing date. I've also bought on that basis, & my offer wasn't the highest, but it was the best deal (cash, quick completion etc). It depends on the vendor's criteria. Acceptance *should* be that though - no going back to failed offers to push them higher, so maybe that's why you lost out.

Agents won't always take a property off-market either, in case a deal falls through. It *ought* though to be marked SSTC, and further viewings cancelled.

Ian Narbeth

11:41 AM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Onslow Clough" at "21/09/2016 - 18:14":

You say: "i am inclined to believe that my bid was not even presented to the seller". Agents are legally obliged to pass on offers: https://www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/estate-agents
As Mark says you could try to contact the vendor directly. If your offer was not passed on or if the agent said there was some impediment to your bid, then complain to the Property Ombudsman.

John Constant

11:50 AM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

David, this situation makes my blood boil. I have been in this situation quite a few times as a financial broker over the years acting on behalf of clients. A client once offered in excess of the asking price, on a best and final basis, only to be told that someone had bid higher and could we put an even higher bid in.

I was suspicious, because something similar had happened a couple of months earlier with the same branch of estate agent (a major High Street name, who will remain nameless here). After discussion with my client, she decided to pull out and withdrew her last "in excess of" offer. Within 20 minutes, the estate agent called back and said that the other party could not be contacted, as they were in the wilds of Mid Wales, and if you want it, you can have it for the "in excess of" offer. Needless to say, my client told him to relocate the house to where the sun doesn't shine!

The system is open to abuse; in my view, repossession negotiations should be handled by solicitors, and in an open, transparent way. It would cost more, but at least everyone knows where they stand.

Adrian Jones

11:52 AM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve Bower" at "22/09/2016 - 11:24":

Morning Steve,

David says the agent made it very clear the highest offer would get the deal.

As I said earlier, I agree with Mark and he should contact the vendor giving full details of his offer and the sooner the better.

Certainly no point going back the agent if he suspects foul play.

Good luck David.

michael fickling

15:47 PM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

This sort of thing is very annoying and all sorts of thing could have happened here and one of them could be simple incompetence.Over the years i have several times had estate agent offices.,.fail to return calls,,fail to promptly pass on offers to vendors and even fail to respond sometimes in ANY way to offers..including some very good ones. On more than one occasion ive been told they couldnt get hold of vendors etc..only to find out later from the vendors that they were at home and had received no attempted contact whatsoever from the agents. Sounds crazy I know but I had another similar incident just two weeks back,,,so it could be shady or it could be just incompetence, Good luck!

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