Is a ‘One Off’ viewing too good to be true?

22 Jan Is a ‘One Off’ viewing too good to be true?

In a fast moving market with few properties coming on some agents may try to win your instruction by telling you they have a buyer for your home and offering you a ‘One off viewing’.

Before you accept the viewing here are a few things to consider:

  1. Do you have a valid Energy Performance Certificate? If not the agent is putting you in a position where you may be liable to a fine of up to £200 per day from Trading Standards. It is ILLEGAL to market a property for sale or let without one. Ignorance is no defence and you are as liable as the agent.
  2. Have you already signed a ‘Sole Agency’ agreement with another estate agent? If you have then you will likely still be liable to pay their fee too! An agent should check whether you have already made this commitment and explain the implications of accepting a viewing from them. Not to do so is a breach of the Property Ombudsman’s code of practice.
  3. The agent may have a ‘tame’ viewer who they wheel out to all their valuations. They will then use your consent to try and find a real buyer in the meantime.
  4. All High Street agents have a register of ready, willing and able buyers. It is very unlikely that a genuine buyer would only register with one agency.
  5. Agents must provide full written details of their terms and conditions including fees, if they have not done this then they are in breach of the Property Ombudsman’s code of practice. Remember too that they must give you a 14 day cooling off period.
  6. If you give this one buyer – who is clearly on some kind of inside track with the agent – the huge advantage of getting to see your home before anyone else, how can you possibly be sure that the price they offer is really the best you could get? By the same token, even if you like their offer, how can you possibly know that they themselves are actually in a better position than any other potential purchaser to buy within your chosen time frame?
  7. The simple fact is that in the current market, there are lots of good buyers chasing too few properties, so the last thing you should be doing is jumping at the first offer that comes along. Far better to let your chosen agent do what they are paid to do, and market your home properly to the widest possible number of potential buyers, using all their skills and all the tools at their disposal.
  8. Finally, trust your instincts, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

For more information about the legislation covering Estate Agents see: http://www.tpos.co.uk/

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