MortgagesFeb 7 2023

Broker calls for better regulation of estate agents amid buying struggle

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Broker calls for better regulation of estate agents amid buying struggle
Photographer: Simon Dawson/BloombergFor sale and sold signs for estate agents outside residential flats in the Balham district of London, U.K.
ByJane Matthews

Greater regulation of estate agents is needed, according to a mortgage broker who has had three property purchases fall through in the past six months. 

Adele Forbes, managing director of brokerage West Yorkshire Money, told FTAdviser that she has seen first hand the difficulties that exist in the current market and believes better protections for buyers are needed. 

Forbes feels that estate agents are overvaluing properties and are not appropriately preparing their clients for the possibility that they will have to renegotiate on price if their property is valued at less than they hoped to sell for.

She is particularly concerned for buyers who do not use a mortgage adviser when purchasing a property, as they likely do not have the knowledge or support to spot and handle the issues she herself has faced in the past few months. 

Forbes, who has lived in her current property for nine years, began her search for a new home just before the pandemic but parked her plans until last year when the market improved. 

West Yorkshire Money managing director, Adele Forbes

She listed the property again in April 2022 with the hope of downsizing and although she managed to find a buyer, she has had less success finding a new property. 

In the past four months Forbes has placed four offers down on different properties, but so far three have fallen through.

Down valuations

After paying £400 to get the first property valued, Forbes was told that it was worth £15,000 less than what the owner was willing to sell it for. 

“There are lenders who offer a free survey but this particular lender didn't so I had no choice but to pay that money. I thought as much as it might get down valued, the seller should really have negotiated the price down,” Forbes said. 

“They were open to it about two weeks later, but that was too late. I was in a chain where my buyer was buying with cash or was buying with bridging, which put me under more pressure to sell,” Forbes explained.

But as the seller was unwilling to negotiate, she was left to look for a different property.

The second property Forbes found also did not work out as it went into probate following the death of the owner. 

As this can take up to 12 months, Forbes was not in a position to wait for the property. 

By this stage, Forbes had been looking for a new home for more than eight months.

She thought she may be lucky third time round and had found another property she was happy with but again, this was down valued after she had a homebuyer’s survey done.