Be wary of forced sales mandates

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

dotted line.

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