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unreasonable to break contract with estate agent because they overvalued ?

(14 Posts)
MrsPickles Tue 19-May-09 22:53:53

I've been completely sucked in by my estate agent who valued our property too high. I knew it was too high, but agent persuaded me I definitely wouldn't get less than £X, and eventually went with that agent, although did put on at price less than he had suggested. I now am certain that is still too high - recently found out a v similar property round the corner sold for £15k less last week, and we've had hardly any viewings. My friend owns the similar property and she had loads of viewings & 3 offers in less time than ours has been on the mkt.

I want to drop the price. But stupidly stupidly stupidly signed a 1.5% commission contract with agent for 12 weeks. Didn't realise this was far too high in current market & I shld have negotiated - another agent later told me they'd have had done 1%. Basically, if we drop price, we'll lose money on sale, will get less than what we bought for, SO want to say to agent that because of their twuntingness (i.e. I only entered into contract with them because of over high and unrealistic value) I want to renegotiate commission.

Otherwise I thought I'd threaten to sack them and dare them to sue me for breaking the contract. In my favour, the day I signed the contract I then realised my stupidity (after speaking to other agent who offered 1%) - immediately tried to renegotiate to multi-agency and the director of the EA said he'd promise to reconsider in 2 weeks time and we'd see where we were then. We're now 4 weeks later & hardly any viewings.

My other idea was, if we do get an offer which is way below asking price (but which I think is reasonable becase its on too high), to refuse to accept it unless EA drops their commission.

I know I shouldn't have agreed to 1.5% and am trying anything to get out of it!!

unavailable Wed 20-May-09 09:19:30

How far into the 12 weeks are you? Is it worth just sitting it out? I'm sure you could do without the hassle of a dispute with the EA whilst trying to move.

If you knew the price was too high, you must have known you were unlikely to sell for that price. If they get you a sale, they have fulfilled their purpose, and surely it would be cutting your nose off to reject an offer you consider reasonable for the sake of 0.5%?

SusieDerkins Wed 20-May-09 09:21:36

You can drop the price at any time, you don't need to wait for the 12 weeks to end. It's a variable within the contract so you can't sack him because he overvalued.

noddyholder Wed 20-May-09 09:24:37

You can't sack for over valuing as presumably you agreed it.You could call their bluff and say you are thinking of taking it off the market for a while and see if you can open the negotiations for a reduction that way.Otherwise just wait til the 12 weeks are up and then think again.Drop the price though now as you need some interest!

moopymoo Wed 20-May-09 09:27:11

I think that I would sit it out as well. As I see it, if you do get an offer that is much lower than the price that the agent has it on at, you are not obliged to accept it and at then point are well able to renegotiate their comm - eg I will only agree to this sale if you drop to 0.5% or whatever. Or get back to them and say I want to drop the price to reflect the current market value but I want to renegotiate the commission. I wouldnt get too bogged down in being tied down to the contract - ime they are not worth the paper they are written on unless an sale goes through and you try to pay them nothing at all even when they introduce. Also - get on to them to 'hotlist' you and hassle them - tell them you are not satisfied with the service etc. Sorry if that all sounds a bit obvious.

MrsPickles Wed 20-May-09 16:17:05

Thanks for the comments. My problem with the EA was is that I believe they deliberately overvalued when they said "we think you'll get X amount for your house" in order to get me to sign up. I thought it was a bit high, hence put on the market for lower than suggested, but it now seems obvious that it was A LOT too high.
Got another 9 wks of contract left and am desperate to sell as want to buy a property which we've inherieted a share of but the other beneficiaries are not prepared to wait for us much longer! Arrgh.

Think best idea is probably for me to hassle hassle about them getting a sale, and then if get offer, say I'll only accept if EA drops commission. Moopymoo - good idea re asking for lower commission when drop price, but think EA has no incentive to agree that at the moment, although I'll try. Can't bluff to take off market as they know I'm desperate to sell!

If I do get an offer for the value the EA suggested was achievable I will eat my words and wld in those circs be happy to pay him the 1.5% !

KathyBrown Wed 20-May-09 19:42:11

Well of course they did Mrs Pickles and you being greedy fell for it, if they had found you a buyer at that price would you be complaining ?

Why on earth would they drop their commission after they have done there job and got you a buyer ?

Are they the best agent in the area ? Everybody knows who the most aggressive sales people are in each town (houses wise) if so they will sell your house whilst the others will sign up at a cheaper rate, lower asking price and the house will sit in their window for days/weeks/months until it sells itself.

MrsPickles Wed 20-May-09 20:17:28

Absolutely not KathyBrown I would not be complaining if they found me a buyer at that price - in that case I'd happily pay the 1.5% commission, as I said.

I do think it is dishonest to overvalue properties deliberately to tempt in sellers. I questioned the value, but he was insistent I would not get less than £X, and gave me examples of other properties like mine on the market with them for similar price to £X - which I have since found out have been sitting there for a long time no doubt because they are overpriced!

The reason they may wish to drop their commission AND have an incentive to do so is because I will not accept an offer at a much lower price to THEIR value - they don't have to drop it, but then they won't get a sale. I've no idea if they are the best agent in town and I think its simplistic to say the best agents who charge the most are the most aggressive - I wouldn't be complaining if they were getting me viewings but I've had very few because its priced too high on their advice! Are you an estate agent by any chance?

KathyBrown Wed 20-May-09 20:46:32

No I'm not an estate agent but it does make me laugh that people think they can negotiate terms after the job has been done, and you aren't the first to try it.
But what will you do if they say no, turn down the buyer, I don't think so. So you're in a very weak position, be up front, be the better person and deal with it now.

KathyBrown Wed 20-May-09 20:48:15

And no they aren't dishonest, they haven't got any more idea what a property will sell for than you or I, when will people wake up to that, it's guess work.
You saw the pound signs and took a chance, it's not paying off, but it could have, that was the chance YOU took when you signed the contract.

moopymoo Thu 21-May-09 07:41:48

Not sure that I agree with you Kathy - I used to be an estate agent (long ago - have retrained as a counsellor since - more transferable skills than you might think!) and we were absolutely encouraged to take on property at a value that was intended to hook in the vendor, then renegotiate for a price drop later. not clear why you think the OP is being greedy as she now wants the realistic market value for her property. the estate agent hasnt actually done the job yet - house not sold! agree about it being (slightly educated) guess work about value of property, and that it isnt exacty dishonestly, more whistling in the dark...

KathyBrown Thu 21-May-09 13:11:48

You've basically just agreed with everything I said moopymoo.
The vendor only has themselves to blame if they see pound signs and agree to be "hooked in"

NoseyHelen Sun 31-May-09 01:07:43

I don't understand why you won't drop the price now. Aren't you biting your nose off to spite your face?

slackrunner Sun 31-May-09 07:33:29

Agents around my area are charging 2% shock - the remainder are charging 1.5%. I'm sure the other EA is saying 1% to try and hook you in as a disgruntled vendor, but there's no guarantee that s/he would have actually offered that to you a few weeks back when you were first negotiating.

Agree with the others - drop the price. If we'd been seduced by one EA, our house would have been worth 28% more than it's just gone for - at March last year post the Bear Stearns crash hmm. Realistically priced property is selling.

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