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 sickens me. If you ever come across this practice please report it to The Property Ombudsman.
At Ashworths 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 down 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 Ashworths 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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