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Advice sought re. Estate Agents/Prices

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  • Advice sought re. Estate Agents/Prices

    Hello All,

    Apologies for what is probably a fairly simple enquiry. Indeed, it's one I think I know the answer to. However, checking up with those more experienced is never a bad thing.

    To the problem:
    The context: I have my property on the market currently, as it has been for around a year. In that time I have had a number of viewings arranged but they all fell through for whatever reason. This is fine, I am not in a huge rush to move (the going on to the market was a decision made when me and my ex-partner split) but would accept an agreeable offer.

    I have lowered the asking price once during this period. However, recently, I have had a number of phone calls from the estate agent that have resulted in answerphone messages in which the agent pretty much demands that I lower price. To not do so would mean (this is paraphrased, so it's not 100% accurate): "that the house will have to come off of the market and fees will be reclaimed one way or another".

    Now, I understand from my contract that I would be liable for (very specific) fees should the house sell or I choose to remove it from the market. However, looking through the contract I can see no liability should I not choose to should the agent wish to carry out the removal. At worst I can see some information about expenses etc, though this is in a clause unrelated to the one regarding cancellation.

    Now, the query is two (and-a-bit) fold:

    1) I am not obliged to reduce my price if I do not wish, am I?

    2i) Is there a time limit for which a property can be marketed?
    2ii) If I do not want to cancel my marketing, can the agency do so and charge me?

    As I say, these are simple enquiries, but I want to clarify my position and rights, should an argument ensue when I speak to my agency again.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Advice sought re. Estate Agents/Prices

    Now, I understand from my contract that I would be liable for (very specific) fees should the house sell or I choose to remove it from the market. However, looking through the contract I can see no liability should I not choose to should the agent wish to carry out the removal. At worst I can see some information about expenses etc, though this is in a clause unrelated to the one regarding cancellation.

    Now, the query is two (and-a-bit) fold:

    1) I am not obliged to reduce my price if I do not wish, am I?

    2i) Is there a time limit for which a property can be marketed?
    2ii) If I do not want to cancel my marketing, can the agency do so and charge me?

    As I say, these are simple enquiries, but I want to clarify my position and rights, should an argument ensue when I speak to my agency again.
    This website does not enable us to look at your contract with the estate agents, so how can we answer the question?. It depends on the wording doesn't it?
    RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
    As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Advice sought re. Estate Agents/Prices

      Well, Richard, without the need to come across as a little sarcastic, there is a general enquiry about the conventions of selling property which may be able to be answered through general experience. Further details can be provided.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Advice sought re. Estate Agents/Prices

        Originally posted by PaddingtonFrisk View Post
        Hello All,

        Apologies for what is probably a fairly simple enquiry. Indeed, it's one I think I know the answer to. However, checking up with those more experienced is never a bad thing.

        To the problem:
        The context: I have my property on the market currently, as it has been for around a year. In that time I have had a number of viewings arranged but they all fell through for whatever reason. This is fine, I am not in a huge rush to move (the going on to the market was a decision made when me and my ex-partner split) but would accept an agreeable offer.

        I have lowered the asking price once during this period. However, recently, I have had a number of phone calls from the estate agent that have resulted in answerphone messages in which the agent pretty much demands that I lower price. To not do so would mean (this is paraphrased, so it's not 100% accurate): "that the house will have to come off of the market and fees will be reclaimed one way or another".

        Now, I understand from my contract that I would be liable for (very specific) fees should the house sell or I choose to remove it from the market. However, looking through the contract I can see no liability should I not choose to should the agent wish to carry out the removal. At worst I can see some information about expenses etc, though this is in a clause unrelated to the one regarding cancellation.

        Now, the query is two (and-a-bit) fold:

        1) I am not obliged to reduce my price if I do not wish, am I?

        2i) Is there a time limit for which a property can be marketed?
        2ii) If I do not want to cancel my marketing, can the agency do so and charge me?

        As I say, these are simple enquiries, but I want to clarify my position and rights, should an argument ensue when I speak to my agency again.

        Any help would be much appreciated.
        In general terms :
        1) no you don't have to change your price. (see 2ii)
        2i) Depends what is written into contract Some agencies will specify an initial term where they have sole selling rights but after that there is usually just a notice period. Again see answer to 2ii)
        2ii) Yes. There should be wording in the contract but they can do so and charge you for say a marketing fee and expenses incurred (ads perhaps) which have been agreed. They can terminate their agreement if there is evidence of illegal activity or also because the vendor is not listening to their advice for example. No agent wants to have an overpriced property on their books for several years.
        I have a client at the moment who has received several offers, a bit below the asking but not a huge amount, they would still be making a large profit. However, they flatly refuse to consider them. Meanwhile I am out regularly doing viewings, marketing it etc and a board outside for 12 months. So this is one instance where if they don't take this latest offer I will be suggesting they take the property elsewhere. What is the point of employing me if you are not going to listen to my advice.
        Regardless of all that Richard is quite right, the answers to your questions will be in the contract.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Advice sought re. Estate Agents/Prices

          Thanks for the response, drhouse.

          I have been looking at the contract and there is no specific mention of a period, just a time in which they were the sole agency. There is another clause in which it states I can cancel after a period of sole agency, but in this there is no mention of costs or fees, only of a notification period. (obviously I understand it is difficult without the contract in front of you to answer the question).

          I have had no viewings, and the ones that were arranged fell through (often without notification, leaving me waiting in all afternoon). I have not had a board outside o my house. As far as I can tell, the only marketing has been on the company's website (it is a well-known company) and possibly on Zoopla etc. There is mention of expenses in the contract, but these would need to be evidenced?

          I do, of course, listen to her advice but there are other factors meaning that I cannot/ am unwilling to drop the price.


          The wording regarding cancellation of contract, iniated by me, outside of the period of sole agency (which I am well out of) is as follows:

          5.1 IN the case of the Sole Agent

          5.1.1 either party may end this Agreement on or after the period by giving the other party two weeks notice (to terminate at the end of the period notice must be given two weeks prior to the end o the period).

          In this case, there is no mention of fees or expenses, and at the time the agent that valued the property suggested that there would be no fees for the property to come off of the market (though, I suspect I was slightly mislead and should have looked more closely at the contract). What, to your knowledge/experience, would be the implications of this kind of cancellation?

          May I ask, if you were to advise the chap go elsewhere, what would the protocol be and what charges would you put forward (ballpark figures, I guess)?.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Advice sought re. Estate Agents/Prices

            Originally posted by PaddingtonFrisk View Post
            Thanks for the response, drhouse.

            I have been looking at the contract and there is no specific mention of a period, just a time in which they were the sole agency. There is another clause in which it states I can cancel after a period of sole agency, but in this there is no mention of costs or fees, only of a notification period. (obviously I understand it is difficult without the contract in front of you to answer the question).

            I have had no viewings, and the ones that were arranged fell through (often without notification, leaving me waiting in all afternoon). I have not had a board outside o my house. As far as I can tell, the only marketing has been on the company's website (it is a well-known company) and possibly on Zoopla etc. There is mention of expenses in the contract, but these would need to be evidenced?

            I do, of course, listen to her advice but there are other factors meaning that I cannot/ am unwilling to drop the price.


            The wording regarding cancellation of contract, iniated by me, outside of the period of sole agency (which I am well out of) is as follows:

            5.1 IN the case of the Sole Agent

            5.1.1 either party may end this Agreement on or after the period by giving the other party two weeks notice (to terminate at the end of the period notice must be given two weeks prior to the end o the period).

            In this case, there is no mention of fees or expenses, and at the time the agent that valued the property suggested that there would be no fees for the property to come off of the market (though, I suspect I was slightly mislead and should have looked more closely at the contract). What, to your knowledge/experience, would be the implications of this kind of cancellation?

            May I ask, if you were to advise the chap go elsewhere, what would the protocol be and what charges would you put forward (ballpark figures, I guess)?.
            Firstly 5.1.1 says either party may end the agreement which answers your question in the first post.
            Our contract states a final sales fee and the circumstances where that becomes payable.
            It also states a marketing fee. Now a lot of agents take this up front and that makes life easier all round. We don't and it is written in that this is paid at time of sale, if the property is withdrawn from the market or if they go to another agent.

            Any additional expenses to be charged must be agreed by you before they are incurred

            If I am asking someone to go elsewhere it really depends on the situation. I have only done it a handful of times. I would always charge for expenses incurred that could be evidenced - newspaper ads for example, but I may not charge the marketing fee or maybe just a reduced fee (our marketing is £200.) In one instance the property was really outside my area but they wanted me to sell it - I didn't feel I was doing it justice so suggested they nove to another agent and didn't charge. However, in the case I outlined in my previous post I fully intend to charge the whole amount.

            My best advice is that you ask them what charges there are if you withdraw, but I get the impression you may not be on the best of terms at the moment. Try talking to them though and explain your circumstances, why you can't reduce the price and ask what other options are available.

            Also if you want a board then ask for one.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Advice sought re. Estate Agents/Prices

              I assume you have read through your contract and there are no terms that say things like advertising costs are payable if the property is withdrawn form the market or from the agent without being sold.

              I'm sorry if my first post came across as sarcastic but the plain fact is that estate agency practices have and do vary in different parts of the country. In the south it has not tended to be the practice of agents to charge separately for advertising whereas up north this has been a extra on top of the their commission.
              RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
              As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Advice sought re. Estate Agents/Prices

                Originally posted by Richard Webster View Post
                I assume you have read through your contract and there are no terms that say things like advertising costs are payable if the property is withdrawn form the market or from the agent without being sold.

                I'm sorry if my first post came across as sarcastic but the plain fact is that estate agency practices have and do vary in different parts of the country. In the south it has not tended to be the practice of agents to charge separately for advertising whereas up north this has been a extra on top of the their commission.
                Hello Richard,

                To be honest, looking back, I was being a bit overly-sensitive. I am just in a bit of a mess with a number of things and this sudden issue with the Estate Agent, and frustration at not fully understanding the contract (and, to be honest, frustration at not dealing with the contract more fully when signing it - I was living with the ex-partner at the time and the situation was, frankly, untenable).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Advice sought re. Estate Agents/Prices

                  continued as I posted too soon...

                  got the better of me.

                  Thanks very much for your response too, drhouse. I think we're on better terms than first indicated, I had lost my phone and was uncontactable for a while so I think that frustrated the agent. I don't know why she did not call my house number though.

                  Anyway, I am speaking to her tomorrow. We'll see how that goes.

                  Comment

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