Agents who refuse offers could lose out

Some estate agents are trying to manipulate the market by simply refusing to present certain offers to their clients - but they should watch out or they could find themselves bypassed.

Cases have been reported recently where agents have unilaterally decided to reject offers to purchase on the basis that they "know" their clients won't accept them because they are too low.

And with buyers currently being more resistant to asking prices, it is quite possible that agents will think some of their offers are ludicrous, says Aida CEO Alex Fenwick.

"Nevertheless, refusing to present any genuine offer is against the Code of Conduct for estate agents, and it remains the seller's decision to accept or reject any offer.

"What is more, serious buyers who encounter resistance from an agent in presenting an offer - no matter whether it is lower than the asking price or not - are quite entitled to bypass that agent and go directly to the seller."

Writing in the Aida in Action newsletter, Fenwick says: "After all, this may just be the only offer the seller is going to get, which means the agent who simply refuses to present it will definitely not be acting in his client's best interests."

On the other hand, says Fenwick, sellers do need to realise that buyers' resistance in the current market is very real, and enlist the help of experienced and well-informed agents in helping them set market-related asking prices.

Also, if they do receive a firm offer soon after their property is listed, they should not reject it out of hand and immediately up the stakes. "Well-established agents should have qualified buyers waiting for the right property to come on the market, and if the price is right, they will make a quick offer, sometimes even before the house is advertised or put on show."
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