When considering changing estate agents in the UK, it is important to look at the terms of the signed contract. Many contracts, could be open ended with no limiting period, resulting in cost being accrued indefinitely and fees being liable even if a sale is processed without their direct help.
Pulling out of the deal could also carry a cancellation fee, whilst vendors could also have to pay for photograph costs and newspaper and internet listing fees. Whilst reading the terms of the contract carefully before signing is critical, it is also important to research certain factors that could be misunderstood.
The best estate agents will be completely upfront about their charges, but others will try to confuse the issue with jargon and rhetoric, and even charge for viewings. As such, sitting down with them and going through the details is important.
One area that many people have struggled with regards internet listing fees. Some vendors have been under the impression that they pay for each listing separately. This should not be the case though, as most online sites such as Rightmove charge on a flat fee basis.
Another area which causes confusion is newspaper listings. However, these are easy to check independently. Most local papers will advise how much they charge, and agents should not be adding anything on top of these fees.
If an agent really is not performing, and a change is needed, it is important to understand that the property ombudsman says that some charges will most likely have to paid. These should only be to cover the costs involved with marketing a property though, so grossly unfair charges can be contested.
The best way to avoid such issues is to select a good agent right from the start. At Meet My Agent, we provide independent estate agent reviews and ratings from their previous customers to help, though checking the contract carefully at the beginning is still essential.
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