Majority of UK buyers and sellers have had problems with estate agents, new research shows

Nearly two thirds of buyers and sellers have experienced problems with their estate agent in the last five years, according to new research.

Some 60% of home buyers and sellers faced problems with their estate agents but 39% did not consider whether agents were regulated, meaning their agent may not have been signed up to a code of conduct, according to the research from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

Of the 60% reporting to have had issues with their estate agents over a third, 37%, admitted that these could have been avoided if their agent was better regulated.
The biggest complaint from the UK’s property market was the fact that their estate agent had bad communication skills. Some 21% said this was not calling them back, or chasing them too much. A further 14% felt as though their agent didn’t care about them.
An additional 13% claimed that their estate agent had not told them about known faults in properties they were looking at, whilst 11% said their agent made promises to them that they did not see through.

Other problems reported by home buyers and sellers included 9% finding that their agent was unnecessarily over pricing, 9% finding them being dishonest and 10% saying that they over exaggerated property descriptions.
Buying a property is the biggest purchase and financial commitment of your life, and can be an overwhelming experience. It takes a lot of hard work and research to ensure you are ticking all the right boxes, and no doubt people come across many challenges along the way. An estate agent should really be there to help this process, not hinder, and therefore the choice of which agent to go with is an important one,’ said Mark Hayward, director general of the NAEA.
‘With the extensive administrative tasks and processes involved in buying or selling a home, communication between agents and homeowners is essential. It’s the estate agents’ role to make these processes seem as pain-free and seamless as possible, which regulated agents endeavour to do,’ he added.
The report also found that people in London are the most likely to encounter a problem with their estate agent, with 83% claiming to have had an issue. Some 34% of Londoners reported not being informed about known property faults, 16% cited bad communication and 14% feeling as if the estate agent didn’t care about them. Those in Scotland have had the easiest run, with only 35% claiming to have had a problem with their estate agent in the last five years.
The study also revealed that almost half, 47%, of those who didn’t check whether their agent was regulated or not, said it didn’t even cross their minds. A further 16% assumed that all agents were regulated, whilst 21% simply chose their agent because they managed the house they wanted.
‘In such a lively market, it’s important that agents are trying their upmost to deliver exceptional standards of service. Consumers need to ensure that they are looking for the NAEA logo in estate agents’ windows and doors,’ explained Hayward.

‘NAEA Licenced agents integrate high quality and best practice services in to everything they do. Whilst problems can and do arise during the process of buying or selling a home, using a NAEA Licenced agent will put consumers’ minds at ease that any issues can be dealt with in a professional and safe manner,’ he added.