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?

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6 Responses to “Estate Agents – Damned if you do and if you don’t”

  1. Coherence and logical argument, come on get real. What is PBK wanting? good question, if do find out please let us know.

    However, he was awarded a consumer champion award though find it hard to imagine he will receive one voted for by his members if he continues to give such unhelpful sound bites.

  2. Agents will never be loved by the general public. Selling property is a serious business, yes business and should be seen as such. We are here to get the best deal we can for our clients which a private sale website definitely will not.

    The OFT report is critical towards the fees of agents and to an extent this is true, most agents have kept the same fee strucuture even though house prices have risen at great speed. However, if you do not want to pay the fees go elsewhere you have choice.

    I agree with some of the above comments in regard to TK, i would not have him clip my poodle amongst other less responsible roles.

    Esate agents standards have improved drastically though we have a distance we still need to travel. Whether the NAEA provides the vehicle for this journey ia debateable.

  3. Peter King shouts from his ivory tower with little grasp of how the ground roots operate. Does he not listen to his members who are increasigly reliant on additional income streams, mortgages, conveyancing HIPs etc. HIPs are far from perfect but neither are his press releases and commentary in support of his mmebers.

    The OFT says agents have improved and he responds with cries for increased regulations because the industry is rotten. We have never been held in very high esteem, this could of helped improve our image as an industry.

    So…… Peter are we actually paying you guys to represent and promote us, incredible. Someone more cynical than myself could ask whether he wants our image to improve as we would then be less reliant on our all encompassing NAEA.

    Unfortunately, these member organisation seem increasingly distant from their members aspirations and seem to act to their own agenda.

  4. I have read this quote by trevor kent in numerous places over last few days. How dare Mr Kent make such derogatory comments towards dog groomers. My wife has been involved in the field for many years and has a high level of integrity and professionalism, shame he and his members can not say the same.

    Trevor kent could do with his mullet chopping alongside his wings clipping, though unfortunately the K9 make over is unlikely to have any affect on improving his attitude.

  5. In regards to Mr Kent’s comments, since when has estate agency been an elitist profession?

    There are undoubtedly opportunities to exploit in the online property sector. Watch out for Google’s move into the property market this year!

    Sites such as NewHomesForSale and have already made great inroads into this market and compliment developers and agents alike.

  6. You could certainly see your expertise within the work you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

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