If you want to buy a house, you are probably going to deal with an estate agent at some point. This can seem quite a daunting task.
There will be a few hoops you will need to jump through in order for the estate agent to feel confident with any offer you intend to make on their client’s property.
An agent may insist on a face to face meeting with their in-house mortgage broker in order to ‘financially qualify’ you. Generally, an estate agent will earn commission for clients using their in-house solicitor or mortgage broker. You should not feel under any pressure or obligation to use their in house adviser. The law is clear on this point. The Estate Agents (Undesirable Practices) (No2) Order 1991, clearly forbids “discrimination against a prospective purchaser by an estate agent on the grounds that the purchaser will not be, or is unlikely to be, accepting services”.
In order not to be ‘captured’ into this manipulative process, we would suggest that any meeting with an estate agent’s in house adviser is restricted to providing basic details to confirm your ability to proceed with an offer and does not wander into mortgage advice.
If you feel intimidated, take a copy of the Office of Fair Trading Estate Agency Guide with you. Page 8 provides guidance to agents regarding the avoidance of bias.
If you have been discriminated against, your local Trading Standards may be willing to look into this. Trading Standards can be contacted through your Local Authority.
Most estate agents will want to maintain a good working relationship with a buyer.
Understanding the above points will be very useful when you come to speak to an estate agent. It helps to be clear what their responsibilities are and how the relationship between buyer and seller works.
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The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate some aspects of buy to let mortgages.
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