Allan's March Market Update

Published: 04/03/2024 By Allan Fuller

It has been announced that the House of Lords have launched an inquiry into agency regulation. 

I have been advocating mandatory licencing for everyone working in estate agency all of my working life.
Coincidently, I discussed the need for reform recently with Fleur Anderson, our extremely hard working Putney M.P.  It seems that the Labour Party has also been considering this issue, we both agreed that reform and licencing is long overdue.

For an industry that touches the lives of most people across the UK at some time, far greater regulation is now vital. In most countries licensing of agents is mandatory, and Estate Agency, or Real Estate Agents are a much more respected profession.
Propertymark. ( is the main professional body for estate agents, with two divisions; for Sales they have the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and for Lettings, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). Qualification for membership is by formal examination.  

Reforms would need to include dealing with such practices as estate agents overpricing to win instructions and tying clients into Sole Agency Agreements for several months and then slowly reducing the price to eventually get their commission.

A standard industry-wide rolling contract that can be terminated by either side at a few weeks' notice is needed.
I am concerned about the number of agents who virtually insist on buyers using a particular mortgage and conveyancing company. This is due to the kick back they, and their staff receive. It is certainly not in the best interests of the client and needs to be stopped.
My other gripe is that the timescale of buying property has become longer over the course of my career - despite the introduction of modern technology, which one would expect to have had the opposite effect on the process. Moving home is currently a traumatic experience. Working within an incredibly outdated and archaic system only adds to the cost and stress involved.

It takes an average of 16/18 weeks from the time terms for a sale are agreed, to the time the sale completes, and any time before contracts are signed by both seller and buyer either side can pull out, with no redress.  This is crazy and is the main reason people have often said to me afterwards ‘we are never moving again, it was all far too traumatic’.

It need not be like this, lets hope that reform is coming.