Samantha Webb, Assistant branch manager of the Carshalton (London) branch was very friendly and cooperative to begin with, as with all agents wanting to sell, but did use some pushy tactics in trying to secure my reservation. When she managed to negotiate a 7% reduction on the price with the seller, I thought we were off to a great start. But then the problems started when after 28 days we still did not exchange contracts. She confronted me during my second "snagging" trip as the on first one with her colleague we ran out of time. Her intimidating, rude and presumptuous attitude with accusations of my and my solicitor's lack of action caused me to believe that I was guilty on my part that we had still not exchanged contracts, and that my solicitor was taking too long. It didn't stop there, as she effectively threatened that we "had to exchange contracts in the next 48 hours" and that I had to consult and instruct my solicitor to return the contract. This was all of insignificance when I clarified with my solicitor that the reason for delay was because up until this stage the seller's solicitor had still failed to understand, cooperate and meet the requirements stipulated by my mortgage lender in order for my mortgage funds to be released. Not only that, but their solicitor had continually replied stating the requirements were unnecessary or already met. When prompted by my solicitor for them to point out exactly where in the contract and lease these clauses were contained, they acted like childish ignorant and unprofessional people, pointing out to a clause which bore no relevance to my lender's specific requirements. Furthermore, they categorically stated that they do not believe the requirements were needed and were thus unable to amend the lease. At this stage the agent, Samantha called up regularly to keep chasing me to return the signed contract and when I told her of the problems that we faced with the seller's solicitor, she pretended to try and help and that she was willing to tell them to do work together to resolve the problems. At this stage I was already fed up with their unhelpful, sarcastic, stupid games so asked my solicitor to write back demanding that the seller returns my reservation deposit, seeing as they are unable to meet my lender's requirements and therefore there was no other choice for us.
Within minutes, they responded instantly, almost as though from re-birth as another person, and offered to change the lease, if I was still interested in buying. Of course I had already made up my mind, but was unwilling to state that I would like to withdraw from the purchase for fear of losing my deposit. This happened just before the Christmas break and the situation was quite dire, in that I was led to believe based on the reservation form that I signed, that if I pulled out I would lose my money, but if the seller withdrew he would return the money. However a week later during viewing of another new build property, I found out about a Consumer Code for Home Builders which all new home builders, so long as they are registered with an approved warranty provider, such as NHBC, they have to abide by this Code. The Code states that in the event that the buyer withdraws from a house purchase during the period in which the reservation is still in force, i.e. it hasn't expired yet, the seller must return the deposit less reasonable costs incurred (in e.g. legal costs etc). Now of course, I did not know about this because both the seller and more importantly, his estate agent, i.e. Andrews but more specifically our assistant branch manager, Samantha Webb, had failed to disclose this. The worst thing is that the Code very clearly states that the seller must directly or indirectly through his agent make the Code available any prospective buyer before they make any reservation! How messed up is that? What kind of misconduct and ignorance is that for an estate agent who is supposed to have all these awards as a company and an agent who has all these ¢â‚¬Å“qualifications¢â‚¬Â behind her name! For me, this is simply pure incompetence, dishonesty and unprofessionalism in all directions. What really annoyed me most was the encounter and ordeal I had during that second snagging visit with her attitude towards me, treating me like a child, despite knowing that I was a first time buyer, and basically trying to lecture me on how I should deal with my solicitor as a paying customer. Well I'm sorry Mrs Webb, but perhaps next time before you start lecturing and telling someone off, intimidating and patronising them with your sarcasm, and making untrue allegations, you should do your homework first, find out more about your industry than the buyer (e.g. regarding the Consumer Code) and find out the truth first as to what is causing delays.
Despite a few other minor problems, I can categorically pin the loss of the sale to the seller on Andrews and I hope they have better luck next time trying to sell the property. I confirmed I was withdrawing from the purchase at the beginning of the new year; more than one month on now, the property is still on the market, as are 3 other flats (out of 11) of the same development. This is of course contrary to what Mrs Webb had stated on several occasions that flat no x, y and z had all sold and completed. More lies and lies! That's all I have to say. Stay clear of Andrews is my advice and under no circumstances deal with the Carshalton branch whether you are looking to buy, sell or rent! Stay well away! They have wasted enough of my time, caused enough unnecessary stress and lost me money.
What agent could do to change your mind?
You should be demoted as a start and not be given any position of responsibility until you learn the basics of professionalism, integrity and telling the truth.