An agent has lost a court battle against a vendor who sold her property to a buyer who viewed it through a rival agent.
Tyneside agency Keith Pattinson took Sharon Parker to court after she refused to pay a reported fee of £1,500 plus VAT which she says she already paid to the other agent.
“I had my house for sale with a different estate agent in 2008 and added Keith Pattinson in 2010 because I was desperate. The other agent conducted a lot of viewings with potential buyers and Keith Pattinson arranged three but cancelled them all on the day they were due to take place” Parker has told ChronicleLive, the online version of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.
“I finally had an offer from one of the buyers sent by the first estate agent but I was shocked when Keith Pattinson claimed they wanted a cut because of one telephone call” she says.
The call in question was when the potential purchaser could not contact the originally-instructed agent because it was a Bank Holiday, but instead contacted Keith Pattinson.
“After some negotiation over the price I accepted the offer but stressed to Keith Pattinson that the buyer had viewed through the first agent. I was very confused as both [agents] were asking for payment and I told them to sort it out among themselves” she says.
The sale went ahead back in 2011 and Parker eventually paid the first agent, only to receive a bill some six months later from Keith Pattinson seeking £1,500 plus VAT. An accompanying letter claimed Parker had sold the property privately.
Keith Pattinson sent further letters demanding payment, including one which said that if she paid by a specified time the firm would remove the VAT “as a gesture of goodwill.”
The agency then took Sharon Parker to court, almost three years after the sale, but a judge has dismissed the company’s claim and has refused it the right to appeal.
A spokesman for the agency has declined to comment on the case.
- Keith Pattinson
- Private Sale
- Estate Agency Fees
A respected business journalist says Agents’ Mutual must launch with the same technical infrastructure that makes Rightmove and Zoopla “so convenient and useful to millions.”
Julian Harris, news editor of the business daily City AM, says the existing major portals have sophisticated technology but Zoopla has, in this regard, moved ahead of Rightmove.
Harris also says that Zoopla is relatively well protected from the potential impact of Agents’ Mutual’s OnTheMarket portal, launching in the New Year, and from any dip in the UK housing market.
“Over 3,000 of its members are housing developers or foreign agents, for a start. Its revenue stream of subscription payments from members is not directly impacted by prices, and is being bolstered with premium listings, appraisal boosters, and area sponsorships” he says.
He also believes that the threat of the new rival portal has already been factored into Zoopla’s share price.
Harris adds that he himself recently dealt with High Street estate agents when he was considering buying an investment property in London.
“The first agent was about as useful as a chocolate teapot. The second was mildly better, perhaps like a balsa-wood teapot. I should instead have been walking about with a Zoopla app that would’ve provided far more facts about the local market” he says.
Meanwhile at the new online agency Purplebricks, controversial fund manager Neil Woodford has purchased a 30 per cent stake for £7m.
Launched in April by Michael and Kenny Bruce, the company is charging a fixed sales fee of £599 instead of the high street agents' average of around £5,600.
Woodford, previously a high-performing fund manager at Invesco Perpetual, recently set up his own company, Woodford Investment Management.
- Agents' Mutual
- City AM
The average asking price of homes coming on the market across England and Wales is this month down by 2.9 per cent - or roughly £7,750 - compared to July, according to the latest Rightmove index.
Although August is of course a quieter time of year producing an average monthly price fall of 1.6 per cent each summer over the last 10 years, this month’s rather more dramatic fall is the largest decrease ever recorded by Rightmove in a summer period.
The fall has been exacerbated by London recording a 5.9 per cent drop, which is the largest of three consecutive monthly falls for the capital’s homes on sale.
Notwithstanding the falls, new seller asking prices across England and Wales are still 5.3 per cent or £13,202 higher than they were a year ago. But just three months ago, asking prices were 8.9 per cent more than a year earlier, so this demonstrates just how sharp the most recent drops have been.
Sales activity is traditionally strongest in the first half of the year, and this year seems to be following that pattern according to Rightmove. A drop in buyer demand and an eight per cent increase in the volume of property coming to market compared to 12 months ago means more competition to sell, hence asking prices declining it says.
Over the past 12 months, detached homes are up 4.9 per cent, semis up 7.9 per cent, terraced homes increased by 9.6 per cent and apartments are up 9.9 per cent.
- housing market
Estate Agent Today has gone to a five-days-a-week update, bringing you the industry’s most important stories every weekday.
Until now we have published only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while on Tuesday and Thursday our sister online publication Letting Agent Today was updated.
But from now, every weekday will see fresh news stories available from early morning. Occasionally we will make through-the-day updates, too, when urgent newsflash stories demand immediate publication.
The stories will be written, as now, by respected property journalist Graham Norwood, who also contributes fortnightly to the Industry Views section of Estate Agent Today.
- Estate Agent Today
- Letting Agent Today
- Graham Norwood
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