Some estate agents are resorting to dubious practices to obtain sales mandates in the current slower property market.
This warning comes from Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International
property group, who says some unscrupulous agents are now trying to bulldoze homebuyers into awarding mandates for the sale of their current homes.
"Some agents are now including a clause in sales agreements stating that if
a buyer signs an offer to purchase on condition that his own property is
sold, the agent will automatically be awarded a mandate to market that
property. In some cases the clause even states that the agent will hold the
mandate for up to 180 days."
Everitt says in other instances agents are inserting a clause in rental
agreements to the effect that should the owner decide to sell the property,
the rental agent managing the property is automatically appointed to market
"Several issues are of concern here, the greatest of which is that this
practice denies sellers the right to deal with their property as they see
fit. It interferes with their right to appoint an agent of their choice,
based on that agent's marketing skills and resources. This is clearly
contrary to the public interest.
"The duration of such mandates is also cause for concern. Mandates effective
for a period of 180 days, for instance, are excessive, particularly when the
consumer did not have a choice in the matter in the first place.
"It should also be borne in mind that many property transactions are indeed
concluded on the basis of buyers selling their existing properties to
finance a new property."
Everitt stresses that although only a small proportion of agents employ
these shady tactics, they are impugning the integrity of estate agents in
general and harming the image of the industry.
He also advises consumers to scrutinise sales agreements closely and to
insist that any forced mandate clauses are scrapped before they sign on the