[FONT=arial]’You need a licence to fish and in recent times would have to acquire one in order to own a dog.
Yet our legislators believe that walking your Chihuahua is likely to cause more problems for society than a rogue, sharp suited predatory salesman messing up the sale of your Â£500k house.
The current Government has resolutely refused to licence estate agents. It says that the industry should regulate itself. However in, say, financial services it ties up the industry in enough red tape to open a branch of Clintons.
The problem with leaving property types to their own devices is that the public are bound to be caught out. Buying and selling a house is something that people do very infrequently and so it’s not as if repeated experience of dealing with such matter allows for the consumer to be sufficiently educated over the process to be aware of the pitfalls.
That’s why estate agents need to be regulated.
Last week saw the abolition of the Property Mis-descriptions Act 1991 and changes to the Estate Agents Act 1979. But the industry itself hardly noticed. Hell, many property people probably didn’t even know of these statutes and what they insist upon in any case. Becoming an estate agent, should you stoop as low in society as wanting to become one, offers no barrier to entry. There are no qualification requirements; no basic knowledge needed and no tests. So the person dealing with the intricacies of your sale needs have no idea what he or she is doing. And no-one seems to care.
Getting things wrong when dealing with an offer to purchase someone’s home or supervising a transaction to a successful conclusion can result in much angst for a buyer or a seller and a fortune in wasted costs such as survey fees, legal charges and disbursements. A fumbled negotiation may lose a seller thousands upon thousands in unachieved price potential. Again, no one seems to care.
As the market hots up and sales volumes resurge, surely it’s time that those in the property industry handling your most valuable asset, are at least checked and overseen? Even just a little bit?
Research by eMoov.co.uk has found that over 250,000 property transactions fail each year. The consequential cost is estimated at over Â£800,000. Much of the fault is a backward looking, lethargic conveyancing process and which eMoov.co.uk are campaigning to improve. But estate agents must, as ever, take their share of the blame too.
Every dog has his day, surely?’