Estate Agents – Damned if you do and if you don’t

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has carried out a year long investigation into standards in the industry and reported largely positive findings, which has surprisingly been responded to with negative comments from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)? Estate Agents have picked up an unenviable reputation over time which has stuck with them for sure but is it really still justified?

Estate agents are an integral part in the property market and continue to remain strong to this day though we have seen many potential rivals come and go. It was only recently we saw Wow Property go into administration after claiming on launch that they would revolutionise the way we buy and sell properties. There are undoubtedly opportunities for growth for the online property sector but is likely we will see more causalities than consumer heroes over the coming months and years.

The OFT findings detailed poor competition on price though improvements could be evidenced in increased quality of service and satisfaction which have been widely criticised on numerous occasions by many. One would of quite naturally expected Estate Agents to have been fairly happy and proud of the OFT findings.

We were a little surprised to say the least, when we read almost the opposite reaction, Estate agents attack OFT for being too soft on them. Was this not an ideal opportunity to champion their members and the positive developments and strides forward within the industry?

The cost of an estate agent is without doubt important though is only one of the areas we covered in our recent article which detailed 10 tips when you choose an estate agent.

The current chief executive of the NAEA, Peter Bolton King, alongside Trevor Kent (a former president) criticised the lack of regulation enforced upon estate agency.

Kent said,

“A poodle clipper today can be an estate agent tomorrow,”

Whilst the current chief executive of the NAEA, Peter Bolton King, also attacked the lack of regulation in the market.

“Once again the OFT has categorically failed to see that better regulation of the home buying and selling market is required,” he said.
“Buying a home is often the largest single transaction of a person’s life and it is disappointing that the OFT has not thought it appropriate to acknowledge that a robust and appropriate level of consumer protection is needed.”

This attack on a generally positive report does seem strange and certainly appears to contradict the stance they have consistently taken against regulated mandatory information being supplied about a property.

Trevor Kent has been a leading figure in a campaign to remove regulation within the industry, namely the Home Information Pack. The NAEA has been very critical and remain opposed to supplying mandatory property information detailed within the HIP with no constructive alternative being offered to the discussion or practical suggestions on how it can be improved.

They seemingly invite more regulation for the industry and their members, though the established ‘HIP regulation’ they want scrapping. Is this not in-congruent with these statements?

Slamming the OFT for not increasing customer protection in one breath is all well and good; though surely they can see the irony that they want the removal of upfront property information which plays a role in this goal.

Hopefully, the NAEA can see why confusion could further arise and incoherence could be claimed with these statements. Do you want imposed regulation or not?

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Comments are closed.