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Whiff of possible fraud by estate agent - wwyd?

(24 Posts)
fourwalls Sat 29-Sep-12 09:36:40

Went to see a flat yesterday. It was newly listed at beginning of week but had no lease details or service charge figures.
because of it's position over shops - it is more naturally a Buy to let type of flat but we liked it as owner occupier potential.
I have emailed the EA a number of times prior to the viewing to get further details on the property - lease etc
She said seh had forwarded questions to vendor.
Heard nothing more and met EA yesterday who showed us flat.
Everything we asked about she replied she didn't know - how long the owners had lived there, why they were selling etc - don't know, don't know - all blank faced.
This is a 40 year old adult woman - not a teen school leaver.
I said, did you get answers from vendor to lease questions.
Agent said no response from vendor- I went through the questions again saying why they were important and how nobody would buy without answers to those questions - blank face - and then 'was that in the email you sent me? I nearly fell down the stairs!!!
Yes I said.
She said I'll email her again.
After we left I got a call from her - she said: I forgot to ask you what your position is, have you sold, do you need a mortgage!!!
Gave the info.
Wait for it .... she never even asked for our address!!! After emails, phonecalls and a viewing!

I think this agent may be deliberately trying NOT to sell the flat - either to convinve the vendor there is no interest, and then get a cheap price for the EA herself or a mate OR to get the vendor to rent it out through her agency.

Have you ever come across this? WWYD?

Still haven't heard any more from agent.

When we arrived for viewing we saw vendor leaving to take her child for a walk in pram so that agent could do viewing. I know vendor is 'real' but think estate agent is con artist.

God! Estate agents make me so angry - thieving gits!!!

ThunderboltKid Sat 29-Sep-12 09:39:21

Pop a note through the door to the vendor saying you're interested but are having difficulty getting further info from the agents - could she call you at a convenient time to discuss further.

wendybird77 Sat 29-Sep-12 09:45:17

I lost a property recently due to EA misleading me and vendor, I suspect because a mate had already made a lower offer on the property. Go knock on the door if they live there and ask or slip a note through their door with your contact details. Tell them about the EA who is clearly not working to sell their flat. I'd be furious if I was the vendor!

fourwalls Sat 29-Sep-12 09:46:08

I could be overreacting - I have a predisposition to despise and mistrust EAs based on years of negative experiences.

The vendor could of course be a dreamy dweeb and have simply employed an incompetent estate agent but..... I can't believe how much people pay EAs and never really find out how rubbish they are.

Unfortunately, they're 80 miles away. I might be up there again next week though - could drop a note in then.

mollymole Sat 29-Sep-12 09:49:51

Why do you have to wait to go back up there to drop a note in, you could post a letter to them by first class post with your contact details

tricot39 Sat 29-Sep-12 12:26:49

Dh had something similar when he bought his business premises. Offers were not passed on to the vendor etc.

We knew a planning application had been made so dh went to the planning office and got the architects's details. Then got vendor's details from him and made direct contact. Agent got sacked and dh bought said property.

When looking for our last house i saw a developer working on a house i liked. I got the owner's address of land registry. He made contact (but wanted too high a price) with us.

Those sorts of methods will be quicker than a note through the door if the owners are not resident.

sparkle9 Sat 29-Sep-12 15:57:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Brycie Sat 29-Sep-12 16:23:22

Yes, I would try to contact the vendor in this case, most definitely. Without a doubt.

gregssausageroll Sat 29-Sep-12 16:24:00

Why do you think it is a con? The propery has only been marketed a week and may be they don't have the details yet. I don't take personal address information from anyone wanting to view with me and if I was asked for it as a buyer they'd be sent away with a flea I their ear. My address is no ones business.

Also sorry but the length of time someone has owned a property wouldn't put me off buying if I were interested.

If it bothers you that much stick a note through the door for the seller.

Brycie Sat 29-Sep-12 16:24:20

If it is a tenant, they would have the landlord's details, or might be willing to contact the landlord to pass on YOUR details.

HecateHarshPants Sat 29-Sep-12 16:25:16

could it be there is a problem that the agent doesn't want you to know about?

1605 Sat 29-Sep-12 17:25:33

If someone has bought and sold again very quickly, that would raise MASSIVE alarm bells for me, unless they were a developer.

Greg, reading between the lines you're an agent yourself - and if you don't know someone's address what the hell are you doing taking them to a building? Quite apart from the fraud/theft/timewaster opportunities, this is how Suzy Lamplugh's killer got away with it.

OP, find the vendor's address via the Land Reg and write to them directly, making a complaint about the EA's unwillingness to share information. For the price of a stamp you could probably save the vendor and yourself several thousand pounds in wasted agents' fees. If she's failed to put your offer forward, the EA isn't entitled to claim her percentage.

fourwalls Sat 29-Sep-12 18:21:58

Are you an EA gregs?
I don't really hold with an EA not knowing the details because a flat has only been on the market a week - let's face it most of them even have the internet and you can look up the previous sale details.
I don't think you can really argue that when they take instructions to sell a leasehold flat, that it's optional to ask what the terms of the lease are - it's bleedin' obvious.
And I don't believe that a vendor will not have a vague memory of their last service charge or how long their lease is - pull the other one, it's got bells on it.

When this information is brushed over by an agent, it raises suspicions in a buyer's mind but, if you're the sort of agent who is surprised by this revelation, it's worth remembering that the other other respondents to this thread would also be hacked off (not just me) - there's a lesson there for any future interactions in your EA business - bullshit isn't respected or appreciated.

I have no fundamental interest in how long the vendor lived in the flat per se.
I asked why are they selling - the agent said - don't know.
In order to then ascertain whether they were a developer or leaving a a hurry because of some 'issue' - I asked how long they had lived there - agent said - don't know.
That raises the question, what do you actually know?
Or do you know it and are not telling me? If so, why so?
You're a very trusting person if you wouldn't be cautious with a large investment.
The reason I was surprised the agent didn't ask for an address, is that I alluded to making an offer if the lease details were forthcoming - I didn't say she should have my address just to wish me good day.

The worst thing is not that estate agents are muppets - no, the worst thing is that they treat me as though I'm a muppet but if you're an EA this will no doubt all just sound like wah wah wah in your ears or white noise on your TV:

www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/15-reasons-why-estate-agents-are-idiots/

fourwalls Sat 29-Sep-12 18:23:00

I'll pop a note through the vendor's door - they can then weigh up whether their estate agent is worth the commission.

LynetteScavo Sat 29-Sep-12 18:32:49

It sounds to me like the woman doing the viewing isn't actually the EA, but someone employed (but not trained!) to do viewings.

You should have been asked what your position is, and your adress prior to viewing, sounds bizare that you weren't.

TBH, does it really make any difference to you how long the vendor has lived there, and why they are selling (they are not exactly going to say it's because they hate the place, wish the kitchen was bigger and find the traffic at night too noisy, are they?) But if she's trying to sell you the property, she should know people are likely to ask these questions, and have a bit of background on the property.

I would be asking to speak to the office manager, and mentioning poor service, rather than thinking they are trying to con me.

Levantine Sun 30-Sep-12 07:17:32

I don't know. In the last six months I have sold a house, bought a house and lived in rented house that was for sale - so estate agents doing viewings there.

In my experience, most, though not all estate agents DO NOT TELL THE TRUTH. This was particularly obvious living in someone elses house that was for sale as they didn't bother to cover their tracks particularly with us as tenants.

OP I think there is something going on.

Levantine Sun 30-Sep-12 07:18:36

That's based on what you say here, not on my experience - in spite of all the bullshit about prices/offers/ people's proceedability I never had an estate agent just say they didn't know that sort of thing - they do know - or should do.

nameuschangeus Sun 30-Sep-12 07:23:42

This happened to us - and we were the vendor! Supposedly no interest, ea never bought anyone around for weeks. In the end I got a friend to ring up for a viewing saying she was a cash buyer and ready to move in. Guess what? She was told it was under offer and we'd asked her to take it off the market. We did exactly that but put it on again with a different ea. I'm sure she was sitting on the flat so she or someone she knew could make a low offer and we would be grateful.

It sold with the second ea to the 3rd person who looked at it and it was within 3 weeks.

I'd stick a not through the door of the flat asking the vendor to ring you. smile

nameuschangeus Sun 30-Sep-12 07:24:44

Or even a note blush

Brycie Sun 30-Sep-12 08:23:17

nameus: shocking, and how easily the agent was fooled.

I read some article about why your agent doesn't care about the property you're selling or letting. Something to do with their financial loss being only a tenth of yours if it's sold cheaply but they have the advantage of high turn over, money in pocket etc. I just don't trust them at all, they say different things to buyers and sellers. They just aren't "invested" in any transaction. You think you're agent is going to care about doing the best for you - not in a million years.

gregssausageroll Sun 30-Sep-12 08:46:37

Yes, i am an ea but in Scotland thank goodness and not England where you hear so many horror stories. My team just don't act like that and if they did they would receive warnings.

We don't take addresses as we have security in place at viewings and people tend to give false ones anyway.

And for what it is worth, I do care about my clients and the property I am selling. I work in a small town with a big rural area. Doing things properly is a must as word of mouth is a massive part of getting work here. Of course we make mistakes, we are only human but we we not cocky agents, I wear marks and spencer clothes, dive a people carrier filled with Kids stuff and don't give the hard sell!

Brycie Sun 30-Sep-12 08:54:37

sorry Gregs I was talking about my experience partly.

MoreBeta Sun 30-Sep-12 09:01:55

I agree with what other say. Contact the vendor directly.

I routinely bypass estate agents by writing directly to the vendors. That way I can be sure my message has been passed on.

However, don't be so quick to jump to conclusions about EAs being dishonest. A lot of owners are very devious or just oblivious or just deluded.

The EA may be doing their best with a difficult client.

MoreBeta Sun 30-Sep-12 09:06:16

That said, sometimes EAs are not entirely honest either. I went to view a property yesterday that the EA told me was beiong sold because the owner was downsizing.

Err... no they aren't. I could see they had 2 children and the house was too small for their needs. It was obvious they were either getting divorced s needed to buy two smaller properties or wanted to buy a bigger house.

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