While providers may offer a valuable service, the OFT is concerned that some practices might lead to homeowners receiving much less for their property than it is worth. Any losses could be very high.
The OFT is particularly concerned about the risks to people in financial difficulty – including those who have worked up large amounts of debt or are facing repossession. Consumers at risk may also include those who need to sell their property quickly following a relationship breakdown or the elderly, who might need money to pay for their care.
Practices that would give rise to concern include:
* Unclear fee structures, Continue reading
Unless the lease is renewed – which costs more the shorter the lease is – the value of the home can drop rapidly enough for the owner to fall into negative equity and become trapped in the home because it becomes impossible to get a mortgage on.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, commented: “90% of property in England and Wales is freehold, meaning the homeowner also owns the land. But the remaining 10% is leasehold, where the owner of the property effectively rents the land for a nominal sum. The length of the lease has a direct Continue reading
However, an unsightly or poorly maintained neighbouring property could reduce the price of a home by an average of 13%. If the house next door has an overgrown garden, broken windows, or a rundown car in the drive it could force down the property’s value by an estimated £21,000.
Estate agents are virtually unanimous (98%) in their belief that an unsightly or poorly maintained neighbouring property has a negative impact on the price buyers will pay for a home.
The No1 eyesore next door that drives down property prices is broken or boarded up windows, followed by rubbish and junk in the front Continue reading
The properties most vulnerable to registration or mortgage fraud are usually empty, tenanted or mortgage-free. Individuals at a higher risk of fraud include owners who do not live in the property because they live abroad, are buy to let landlords, are in long term hospital or residential care or where a relationship has broken down.
Examples of property fraud include situations where a buy to let landlord gets a call from a local estate agent saying that one of his rental properties seems to be being marketed for sale or where a relative learns the property has been ‘stolen’ by a fraudster Continue reading
House auctions and companies such as National Homebuyers offer such an alternative.
There are great benefits to getting a fast sale on your property, once the decision has been made to put your home up for sale, getting the wheels in motion quickly is imperative. The traditional way of leaving the selling up to the realtor alone has become outdated as this can be a long process. House auctions are becoming increasingly popular as they offer pre-qualified buyers the chance to view your property with a view to a sale. This is a great thing as these people are actively looking to Continue reading
The advantages of using an estate agent
One of the biggest reasons to hire professionals is to tap into the wealth of property knowledge they possess. Their experience makes them uniquely qualified to give you guidance on important issues such as valuing properties and relevant laws such as the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991.
Estate agents can also arrange viewings while you’re at work or out of the house, and negotiate on your behalf to ensure that you get the price you want. They also ensure that your property is well marketed in places that it’s most likely to be seen by potential Continue reading
There are many factors that can contribute to why a home doesn’t sell as anticipated. Sellers’ price expectations can differ with current realities and savvy buyers are easily able to shop around for the best deals. With the internet and rising popularity of property websites, buyers can find out exactly what price similar houses in the local area have sold for at the click of a mouse.
"In this kind of tentative market buyers are prone to sitting on the fence and any minor hiccup can be enough to scupper a deal," said Michael Fiddes head of agency at Strutt & Parker, Continue reading
Maybe you’ve heard that eyes are the windows to the soul, but consider that the alternative is also true: windows are channels to the home’s interior. Giving your windows a makeover is a quick and relatively cheap way to improve the look and feel of every room simply by letting in more light, installing neater blinds or fashionable shutters and removing heavy, bland or worn curtains.
A job that you can do with a little bit of know-how and a lot of patience, repainting and repairing certain areas can improve the appearance of your home and extend the life of Continue reading
Harrison Murray estate agents are urging sellers to tighten up where necessary before the onset of bad weather later this year.
Managing director Nick Salmon said: “We are just entering autumn and the weather is relatively bright and mild, so people naturally don’t want to think about winter just yet.
“However, by putting a few measures in place now, particularly if you are looking to sell your home, then you and your buyer could be reaping the benefits of taking energy efficient action early and heading off any larger than necessary bills this winter.”
Figures from the Department Continue reading
The guidance identifies examples of trading practices that could breach the regulations and includes practical steps that property sales businesses can take to comply with the law, for example:
* Ensuring that any information provided, whether in writing, in pictures or given verbally, is accurate when advertising for new business or when marketing property. Breaches of the regulations might include falsely claiming to be a member of a professional body, misdescribing a property for sale or making unfair comparisons with competitors;
* Not leaving out important information that consumers need to make informed decisions. For example, throughout the buying and selling process, Continue reading