Over the years, Estate Agents have received a lot of criticism for unscrupulous practices. Whenever I read or hear a story about a ‘dodgy’ Estate Agent my heart genuinely sinks as the damage these rogue Agents do to the industry’s reputation is appalling and makes it much harder for the vast majority of honest, hard-working and professional Agents to win the public’s trust.

One sharp practice is ‘ghost’ gazumping. It’s when a seller agrees a sale price with a buyer then a few weeks later the seller, via the Agent, raises the price saying they’ve received an offer from another very interested party. When this higher offer comes in, usually just before completion, the prospective buyer is faced with having to find more money or suffer the agony of losing their ideal home.

That kind of practice is bad enough, but often the last minute mystery bidder doesn’t even exist; it’s simply a ploy designed to get the existing buyer to pay more money. Some unscrupulous Agents are involved in this web of deceit and it sickens me. If you ever come across this practice, please report it to The Property Ombudsman.

At ‘Iles & Jenkin’ I can hand on heart promise you we never, ever get involved in these kinds of immoral and dishonest practices.

I do remember hearing about an example of ‘ghost’ gazumping way back in 2008. A seller, who was a property developer, had agreed a sale price on a refurbished home to a young family. It was their dream home and they couldn’t wait to move in. Then, at the last minute, the seller took advice from his Agent suggesting he should up the sale price as the property market had risen since their offer had been accepted.

The seller agreed and the buyers were told that an offer of £10,000 more had been received from another buyer and that if they wanted to carry on with the purchase, they needed to beat this offer. No doubt the seller and the Agent were banking on the family wanting the property so badly that they would find the extra money. But sadly, to cut a long story short the family, as heartbroken as they were, couldn’t raise the extra money and out of principle pulled out of the deal.

Now for the bit that makes me believe in property karma. Just two weeks after the buyers pulled out the 2008 credit crash hit, wreaking havoc on the housing market. Almost overnight the property market stalled and then crashed, meaning that the greedy seller was left with a property he couldn’t sell.

Eventually, with a Bank banging down his door calling in his loan, he was left with no option but to sell for a rock bottom price simply to cut his losses. In the end he lost more than £50,000 simply by trying to wring an extra £10,000 from an honest young family. Good I hear you say, and I agree! The unscrupulous Agent also missed out on the commission and tarnished their reputation (but, sadly, also Industry’s).

At ‘Iles & Jenkin’ we always act with integrity and advise honestly so you won’t have to worry about ‘ghosts’ or prices that go and jump in the night.

Thanks for reading!

Sue Iles