More than half (54%) of those who bought, sold or rented a home in the last five years had issues with their estate or letting agent.
Professional and regulatory body for letting agents, Propertymark found many Brits assume all estate agents, letting agents and landlords are regulated or part of professional bodies, before signing the contact.
Mark Hayward and David Cox of Propertymark, said: “Choosing a property, whether it’s to buy or rent, is a huge financial commitment and can be overwhelming, especially for first timers.
“We almost always go with the agent attached to a property if we’re buying or renting, but it’s important to at least ask the question.
“Property transactions almost always takes longer than expected, and you may be forced into negotiations mid-way through the process – particularly for buyers.
“Your estate or letting agent should be there to guide you through the process and make it as smooth and pain-free as possible, which all Propertymark Protected agents will endeavour to do.”
The research found that 37% of buyers and sellers, and 42% of renters didn’t consider whether their agent was part of a professional body such as Propertymark before progressing with their transaction.
Some 42% of renters didn’t consider to ask and one in six (14%) wrongly assumed all agents were regulated.
Of the 55% who faced issues with their property, more than half (57%) hadn’t checked if their agent or landlord was indeed covered, leading to issues such as:
This led to issues with 38% waiting a long time for any issues with the property to be fixed, 20% struggling to get old items replaced and 12% not getting their full deposits back – and not being given a reason why.
Hayward and Cox added: “The number of buyers, sellers and renters checking to see if their agent is regulated has improved since 20144, but it’s still worrying that so many people assume all agents are members of a professional body, such as Propertymark, and aren’t considering this when choosing an agent.
“It’s really important consumers look for the ‘Propertymark Protected’ logo when choosing an agent; it means they’re dealing with a professional who has opted for regulation in an unregulated sector and it will give them peace of mind that their money is protected.”
Those who did check if their agent was a member of a professional body had shorter waiting times when things needed fixing in their property; with issues typically being addressed within a week (41%).
Less than half (47%) of buyers or sellers checked if their estate agent was regulated before moving ahead with the sale or purchase.
As with renters, a third (37%) didn’t think about it, while 14% prioritised the property and went with the agent because they were attached to the home they wanted to buy.
More than half (53%) encountered issues such as bad communication (19%), feeling as if the agent didn’t care about them (12%) and feeling pressurised (10%).
On top of this, 70% of buyers worry that their sale won’t go through, even after the offer has been accepted.
This costs buyers between £695 and £744 and sellers £582 to £7403 according to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Governments.