Website property sellers incur additional fees

| November 12, 2007 | 0 Comments

Some property owners are appointing a local estate agent and then using Internet property websites to advertise their properties.

This leaves them in danger of having to meet two sets of fees, despite the fact that the growing number of Internet property sales sites claim not to be estate agents.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has, however, made it clear that they are acting as estate agents, which means that house sellers who have signed “sole agency” agreements could be liable for additional charges.

The OFT has also warned that “Any Internet property retailer that also acts as an estate agent must be careful not to mislead consumers.”

According to regulatory guidance on the subject, a person or website not calling themselves an estate agent can be regarded as undertaking “estate agency work”.

This applies if their commercial activities amount to the introduction of buyers to sellers.

The OFT rules for Internet sites are no different than from those applied to competing estate agents.

In some cases home sellers can find themselves liable for two sets of fees if they come to the end of one agency agreement and appoint another.

This can happen when the person who eventually purchases the property has been introduced by the first estate agent.

The fees for sole and multi-agency vary but are currently between 1% and 2% for sole agency and up to 3.5% for multi-agency.

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