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AIBU to think this Estate Agent's behaviour is unethical

(34 Posts)
albertcamus Sun 16-Aug-15 18:00:36

(Warning : I KNOW it's none of my business, but I care about his interests & welfare)

Our neighbour of many years is a shy, kind, old-fashioned, honourable guy. He lives in a small starter home & would like to move to a bigger house with a garden now that he's married. He contacted one EA (from a large local chain), who came out & told him she could find a buyer immediately; within 24 hours an offer was made by a man whom she introduced as her partner, who wants it as Buy To Let. He shook on a price (which was the same as a similar house in the same road was sold for back in April). He has tried so hard to find a property in our area that is a step up the ladder, but cannot find/afford anything if selling at that price. I gently suggested that it should have been marketed more widely, but he said: 'My word is my bond'. He's now looking at a tiny house 40 miles away which would mean a nightmare & expensive journey to work for both of them. He is really stressed over the situation.

AIBU to feel that this EA has been unethical & has not acted in his best interests ?

Yarp Sun 16-Aug-15 18:05:02

Since when do EA act in anyone's interests except their own?

YANBU

EvansOvalPiesYumYum Sun 16-Aug-15 18:05:05

An unethical Estate Agent? Whatever next? shock

Seriously though, I'd suggest your neighbour gets another EA (or two) around to price his property before he agrees to this - it definitely does sound rather dodgy.

ginmakesitallok Sun 16-Aug-15 18:08:06

What has the ea done that is unethical? Neighbour accepted an offer, is struggling to find somewhere to buy. Not the ea's fault?

PoshPenny Sun 16-Aug-15 18:09:26

That doesn't sound great. If you wanted to help him, I wonder if you could contact other estate agents for an informal "ball park" idea of what a house like his would go on the market for at the moment. Then (assuming that's a hell of a lot higher figure) tell him and let him know how much he's being ripped off by. In those circumstances your word doesn't have to be your bond and it's ok to change your mind.

NotDavidTennant Sun 16-Aug-15 18:16:13

It sounds like the EA has been open about her relationship to the buyer and the price agreed is based on a similar, recently-sold property, so I'm not sure she's really done anything wrong.

albertcamus Sun 16-Aug-15 18:16:19

That's a good idea, PP I could will tell him that our adult DC have been told to expect to pay £20k more, minimum in this area (true).

Thanks to all for your thoughts, your sardonic wit is appropriate !

FeckTheMagicDragon Sun 16-Aug-15 18:20:17

tell him to log onto zoopla and put his post code in, then select his house number - it will give him a better ball park figure of the current value.

then suggest that while he may be honorable, not everyone is - and is he will to let himself and his family be ripped off in order to let this EA cherry pick properties before they have even been put on the market.

www.zoopla.co.uk/home-values/?search_source=top_nav

AnUtterIdiot Sun 16-Aug-15 18:21:52

It bloody well is unethical if the only buyer she "marketed" it to was her own partner. Notwithstanding their abysmal reputation, estate agents are regulated by the Property Ombudsman and they have very clear duties to their clients which include providing impartial advice and disclosing a conflict of interest in writing (ie not just mentioning it).

Also, shaking on a price does not a contract for the sale of land make, they have to be in writing. Up until exchange he has no moral or legal obligation to go through with it if he has been conned.

If he reneges on the offer and goes with a different agency he might be liable for commission to this woman as well as any new agency if he doesn't give proper notice under the Agreement (if he even signed one with her and if she hasn't done this under the table, which would land her in hot water with her agency too).

Whole thing sounds v dubious although obviously I don't know enough to say what he should do next!

FeckTheMagicDragon Sun 16-Aug-15 18:22:35

I also bet it will be back on the market quicker than you can say 'Gotcha'

AnUtterIdiot Sun 16-Aug-15 18:23:54

Sorry, they're not all registered with the Property Ombudsman but they do all have to be registered with an appropriate redress scheme. Tell him to find out who they are registered with and phone that regulator/Ombudsman for advice.

NotDavidTennant Sun 16-Aug-15 18:33:52

"Also, shaking on a price does not a contract for the sale of land make, they have to be in writing. Up until exchange he has no moral or legal obligation to go through with it if he has been conned."

No-one has suggested otherwise, have they? If OP's neighbour wants to operate on the basis of "my word is my bond" that's his prerogative.

albertcamus Sun 16-Aug-15 19:05:30

Thanks all

Feck according to your linked Zoopla, it is estimated at 10k more than has been agreed, I am going to tell him this

AnUtterIdiot Sun 16-Aug-15 19:07:40

I wasn't answering anyone else's comment. I was giving my own view on what the NDN has said to OP, which is that I don't think he should feel bound by his word.

AnUtterIdiot Sun 16-Aug-15 19:09:48

(When I started my post, there was no other comment posted.)

albertcamus Sun 16-Aug-15 19:12:05

I agree with you Idiot it's a sad world where seemingly unethical behaviour prevails over a kind & decent person

SugarOnTop Sun 16-Aug-15 19:17:29

so he's an 'old fashioned' type who has been taken advantage of by the EA....i would go and get him valuations from other EA's and then also tell him that he owes himself and his his future family ( i presume that is something they want?) a decent family home - which he will not get if he allows himself to be ripped off.

Anyway, as his whole point of selling is to upscale then how does he think he can afford that if he's not selling for the most he can get for it? i'd also put in a complaint about the EA - she must have spotted him a mile away and knew exactly how to manipulate him angry

OrangeVase Sun 16-Aug-15 19:18:27

Not unethical. She was open about her relationship, said she had a buyer lined up - easy quick sale. If that is what he wanted then everyone is happy.

If he wants more money and is happy to go through the whole marketing/viewings/ offer/ negotiation etc process - then that is his choice.
Depending on how much more he thinks he could get - it is a reasonable trade-off.

I sold my flat at slightly below market price as it was empty and a long process would have cost me money. I could possibly have got an extra 10K but I couldn't do the viewings and didn't want it empty for four or five months.

However if your neighbour is not in a hurry and is happy to go through the process then he should try for more money.

FeckTheMagicDragon Sun 16-Aug-15 19:19:44

Happy to help- remember it is an estimate - based on number of rooms, average value for area etc - if he has made any improvements and its in a better than average condition it may be worth even more. House prices have been on the move again recently - not shooting up, but demand is high and people are moving.

albertcamus Sun 16-Aug-15 19:26:11

That's true Sugar he was putty in her hands

I can see what you're saying Orange, he's not the type to negotiate

I'm hoping he realises from the Zoopla approximation that he could do better

CheekyMaleekey Sun 16-Aug-15 19:30:30

Not unethical. Presumably she sold it privately not actually through the estate agent, so she's saved the vendor a lot of time and thousands in estate agent's fee. It's his own lookout if he didn't get it valued properly.

OrangeVase Sun 16-Aug-15 19:33:32

You are good to look out for him though. And if you do think he could do better it is kind of you to try to help him.

AnUtterIdiot Sun 16-Aug-15 19:39:51

Whether he feels that she has been unethical or not, no one goes through with a sale if they can't find a house to suit them. Why on earth would he be contemplating leaving the area he wants to live in, in circumstances where he can't find a house that's better than his in that area, so that the EA's partner can buy his family home as a rental investment?!

AnUtterIdiot Sun 16-Aug-15 19:41:23

I mean, that's madness even if the EA and her partner hadn't blatantly and colossally taken advantage of him. This isn't like selling to a hopeful young couple or a little old person who have fallen in love with his house and want to live in it.

AnUtterIdiot Sun 16-Aug-15 19:42:16

Sorry, OP, I can see EXACTLY why you're concerned about it.

If the EA's partner found a better BTL investment he'd be off like a shot...

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