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Is this standard for estate agents.

(18 Posts)
polkadotdelight Tue 01-Apr-14 13:18:23

I've been reading through the contract I have to sign before putting my house up for sale and there is one thing I'm not so sure about.

It says if they find a buyer who is prepared to go to exchange of contract and we then pull out for any reason at all then we will be expected to pay the full estate agents fees. So, if a buyer was messing us about or decided to reduce their offer at the last minute we would have to pay the estate agents if we pulled out.

I'm also a little concerned that we could get an offer but not find something we like (we are looking and have only one prospective house) and then have to rent somewhere.

Is this a standard thing for estate agents to do?

2cats2many Tue 01-Apr-14 13:19:54

Ive never come scacross that before.

Crutchlow35 Tue 01-Apr-14 13:20:41

No, not in Scotland anyway.

LondonGirl83 Tue 01-Apr-14 13:24:08

No never. Walk away from the agent and tell them why. However, a firm trying to sneak something like that past you is probably best avoided even if they agreed to remove the clause.

stopeatingbiscuits Tue 01-Apr-14 13:25:08

It is standard in London. You can ask them to amend it.

itiswhatitiswhatitis Tue 01-Apr-14 13:25:42

Never heard of that before. I agree with everyone else find a different agent!

evertonmint Tue 01-Apr-14 13:26:56

I've never heard that. IME they only get fees on a successful completion (so effectively on exchange as I don't think anything ever fails after that) I would just tell than you aren't using them to sell your property unless they change or remove that clause. You have every right under E&W law to pull out right up until the point of exchange for whatever reason you want.

LondonGirl83 Tue 01-Apr-14 13:27:22

I've bought in London twice and have never seen a clause like that.

polkadotdelight Tue 01-Apr-14 16:46:16

Thank you for your replies. I think I'm going with another agent.

H2OWoe Wed 02-Apr-14 06:42:38

We sold in Twickenham and the agent had the clause. I didn't like it and I grilled them about it. They wouldn't agree to remove it but they did allow us to add an additional condition: that said the clause was invalid if we sold our house, but didn't buy house x (same agent was selling house x). They turned themselves inside out to make the deals go through. We sold our house at full asking and they expedited the (useless, feeble) vendors of the house we were buying. I would use that agent again even with the clause.

ThunderboltKid Wed 02-Apr-14 07:35:09

It's standard on all contracts I've seen (London & South East), but only applies to full asking price. I.e if the agent does the work required and gets you a full asking price offer, they should be paid? If you decide to pull out, seems unfair to not pay them when they have done all the work. If buyers lowered their offer then it doesn't apply.

evertonmint Wed 02-Apr-14 08:00:14

I don't actually think it's fair that they get paid before it happens. Everybody knows that in the buying process in E&W everyone is taking a financial risk until contracts are exchanged. If you're in the estate agency game, you know this and you work with this.

A few weeks ago, my PILs sale nearly fell through the day before exchange - the estate agents were incentivised to sort it out because they wouldn't get paid otherwise. If this clause had been in place, they would have no incentive to get it over the line as they'd be paid regardless. You pay an agent to secure your sale, not to get a certain price without sale guaranteed.

All aspects of an estate agent contract are negotiable. I wouldn't agree to this, but might agree to a higher percentage if they got us asking price or over as another way to incentivise them.

MrsJohnDeere Wed 02-Apr-14 13:28:58

Not standard.

ThunderboltKid Wed 02-Apr-14 14:29:14

Having this clause also stops people putting their houses on the market just to see what happens; which is a waste of everyone's time.

polkadotdelight Wed 02-Apr-14 16:51:52

I can never understand why people do that. I find it incredibly hard to keep the house (and garden) at that level of clean and tidy!

eurochick Wed 02-Apr-14 16:53:51

I don't think it's standard (haven't seen it when I have sold in London) and wouldn't agree to it.

thegraduand Wed 02-Apr-14 21:17:11

I've heard of it occasionally, but definitely worth challenging it and ensuring it is on only payable on exchange.

The other thing to watch for is sole agency vs sole selling rights, the latter means you would still have to pay them if you found the buyer yourself, e.g. sold it to a friend.

GuinevereOfTheRoyalCourt Thu 03-Apr-14 11:43:32

If it's standard then it's almost certainly not enforceable. How can they prove that a buyer is definitely prepared and able to exchange contracts? A buyer is as capable of a sudden change of mind any time before exchange as a seller is.

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