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Over the years estate agents have received a lot of criticism for unscrupulous practices.
Whenever I read or hear a story about a ‘dodgy’ estate agent my heart genuinely sinks.
The damage these rogue agents do to the industry’s reputation is appalling and makes it much harder for the vast majority of honest, hard working and professional agents to win the public’s trust.
One sharp practice is ghost gazumping. It’s when a seller agrees a fee with a buyer then a few weeks later raises the price saying they’ve received an offer from another very interested party.
When this higher offer comes in just before completion, the prospective buyer is faced with coming up with thousands of pounds more or suffering the agony of losing their ideal home.
That kind of practice is bad enough but often the last minute mystery bidder doesn’t even exist. Some unscrupulous agents are involved in this web of deceit and it is shameful.
If you ever come across this practice please report it to The Property Ombudsman.
At Cowling, I can hand on heart promise you we never, ever get involved in these kinds of immoral and dishonest practices.
I remember reading about an example of ghost gazumping in 2008.
A seller, who was a property developer, had agreed a price on a refurbished home with a young family. It was their dream place and they couldn’t wait to move in.
Then the seller took advice from his agent suggesting he could up the price as the property market had risen since their offer.
The seller agreed and said someone had come in with an offer of £10,000 more (no one had) and that he needed them to beat this offer. No doubt he and the agent were banking on the family’s desire for this home.
To cut a long story short the family, as heartbroken as they were, couldn’t raise the extra money and out of principle pulled out of the deal.
Now for the bit that makes me believe in property karma. Just two weeks after the buyers pulled out the credit crash hit wreaking havoc in the housing market. Almost overnight the market dried up like the Sahara.
The greedy seller in question was left with a property he couldn’t sell. Prices in his area tumbled as buyers simply wouldn’t or couldn’t make offers.
With a desperate bank banging on his door calling in the loan he had taken out on the property he was left with no option but to sell for a very low price simply to cut his losses.
In the end he lost more than £150,000 simply by trying to wring out an extra £10,000 from a young family.
‘Good’ I hear you cry and I agree.
The unscrupulous agent also missed out on the commission and tarnished their reputation (and unfortunately the industry’s).
At Cowling, we always act with integrity and advise honestly so you won’t have to fear ghosts or prices that go and jump in the night.
Thanks for reading.
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Hello and welcome to our new blog which will be a weekly feature on our website.
As it’s our first blog I thought we should cover first impressions. When it comes to selling or letting a property first impressions are hugely important.
When putting your home on the market have a good look at your front door. Does it need a lick of paint, a good clean or is your old welcome mat not very inviting? It’s one of the first things potential buyers will see so try to make it as attractive looking as possible.
I read a report once that stated homes with red front doors sold faster than those that didn’t. Now I’m not sure I’d agree with that but I have seen potential buyers dismiss a property within 15 seconds based on what they saw from the outside.
This kerb appeal is a lot easier to achieve than most people think.
By following these simple steps you should be able to create a really strong first impression.
- Make sure your front door and windows are clean.
- Your front garden, if you have one, needs to be tidy and well kept.
- A fresh lick of paint to the property’s exterior is always a GREAT investment when selling.
- If you have a driveway, get it cleaned and remove any weeds.
- A good quality, old fashioned Welcome mat always goes down well.
We’ve sold hundreds of houses over the years and the above advice always stands the test of time.
Over the coming weeks, months and years (we’ll see how long your patience lasts), we will be covering up to date market observations, common issues, things that niggle me (apologies in advance if they get particularly ranty) and hints and tips, hoping that they will be useful to all that read them.
Thanks for reading,
N.B - I am aware ‘ranty’ is not a word. Poetic License and that…