New guide for UK estate agents launched to uphold ethics and professionalism

A new guide for estate agents in the UK that is aimed at improving standards and making the property buying experience more positive has been launched.

The Blue Book, a definitive guide for agents by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, also gives advice on ethics.

Estate agents in the UK are often cited as being one of the professions, along with politians, that the general public dislikes.

RICS says that as buying a property is the biggest financial transaction that many people make it has decided to reinforce the standards of its members by issuing the book.

RICS spokesman David Dalby said it is hoped that agents will show the book to buyers and sellers to demonstrate adherence to industry guidelines.

'With the current pressures on the property market, estate agents' practices are under the microscope more than at any time in recent history. It is more important than ever that agents work to the highest standards, and that consumers understand not only what a good agent does, but also the scope of the services available,' he explained.

As well as being a valuable resource for all its members it is hoped that it will be of use to all those involved in residential property and who strive to achieve the highest level of professionalism and consumer service.

It covers best practice standards, an agreed set of principles to help reach the highest levels of professionalism and advice for every stage of the buying and selling process, from marketing and sourcing clients through to completing the sale and beyond.

There is also a quick reference sections for all relevant legislative and regulatory documents as well as detailed advice on ethics and best practice, including how to avoid conflicts of interest.

It also gives advice on how to build better relationships with buyers and sellers by clarifying priorities, and managing expectations of the agents' role.