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Under section 18 of The Estate Agents Act, before an estate agent enters into any contract with you:
This must be presented to you in writing (normally via a “Terms of Business” overview document) otherwise the agent will not be able to enforce payment of his fees without a court order.
Also, The Estate Agents’ (Provisions of Information) Regulations 1991 makes it clear that if the terms:
§ “Sole agency”
§ “Sole selling rights”
§ “Ready, willing & able purchaser”…
are used by the agent, these terms (their meaning & their effects) need to be explained to you (again in writing).
We go over Estate Agents’ “Terms of Business” & how to negotiate the fairest terms in greater detail on our house sales information website however, for now we’d like to plant the seed of an idea in your mind….
There are far too many Estate Agents in the UK at the moment. This is because there are no barriers to entry (no license or qualifications are required to set-up as an Estate Agent).
Because of this you need to recognise that Estate Agents are desperate for your business and so you are the one in control (the one who can call the shots).
In short, Estate Agents need you far more than you need them!
There are a myriad of unfavourable terms that you can find tucked away in the standard Estate Agent’s contract and everything from the “fee” to the “tie-in period” is negotiable (although they’d love to kid you otherwise).
Above all else, never sign anything before thinking carefully about all the possible knock-on effects of any contract terms you find.
Use these links to view the other 9 Mistakes
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