By Nick Taylor of Hadley Taylor in Norwich
If you’ve ever heard an estate agent say “I’ll only put your offer forward if you come into our office to see our mortgage adviser,” or “I’ll make sure your offer is accepted as long as you use our legal service,” then you have been in the presence of at best an incompetent or at worst a crook. This is because the agent doing the talking either doesn’t know his business or he knows it but chooses to flout the law. You see it’s not just an agent’s moral responsibility to put all offers before his client; it is also his legal obligation to do so. Estate agents who run in-house legal and mortgage services do so in order to make more profit although they will tell you they do it to provide a more comprehensive service. What they are doing is running the risk of introducing a conflict of interest into their business and although some agents successfully manage to walk the fine line between providing additional services and falling foul of the law some don’t. If an agent puts their sales people on commission to sell all these services across the board they could have a recipe for corruption. So if you ever hear this sort of thing going on please report it to the Estate Agency Ombudsman who will be very pleased you called. You see not every estate agent wants to be the butt of dinner party jokes or tarred with the same brush as these types. Some of us run businesses following strict codes of conduct where conflicts of interest have been deliberately removed from our day to day activities. If buyers and sellers want advice as to which professionals to use for legal and financial services we tell them who to speak to but this is where the relationship ends. Selling houses is our business and we tend to do it quite well.
Nick is on 01603 250248.