Who gets commission when property moves estate agents?

Discussion in 'Legal & Regulatory' started by Scoodle, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. Scoodle

    Scoodle New Member

    Hello all.

    We have been trying to buy a house and were shown around by the original estate agent who had also tried to negotiate a mid-way price between what the sellers were looking for and we believed its true value to be. Just as we were about to put in our first offer, the seller moved it to another estate agent.

    The agent we had been dealing with made it clear to both us and the seller that they should handle any subsequent offers and negotiations if it involved us as he had been the one to introduce us and had been very involved at trying to find a compromise purchase price for both parties, and we were ok with this.

    When we came to make our first offer - roughly 3 weeks after it had changed agents - we asked the new agent to confirm who we should be dealing with. When they replied "Us - we have sole rights now", I asked them to contact the original agent to confirm and agree this as we understood they obviously felt differently. He refused, insisting it wasn't necessary. A few days later I asked again, more insistent this time. The 'negotiator' said he'd check with his manager and call me back. This he did (well, he called me back anyway...) maintaining the same line - "confirmed - it's all ours, we don't need to involve the old agent and offers should be placed via us".

    Before we go any further, can anyone clarify, please?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Longterminvestor

    Longterminvestor Active Member

    I think you need to speak with the seller - it is not your problem. I would assume the original estate agent is entitled to any commission if they introduced you. However, it would appear the new agent is trying to muscle in. Let the seller direct you and they can take any flak.
     
  3. Scoodle

    Scoodle New Member

    Thanks for your reply, LTI.
     
  4. FWL

    FWL Member

    I would be interested to learn how you got on @Scoodle as I can imagine this market is very very competitive!
     
  5. Jules1970

    Jules1970 New Member

    Hi

    What a pickle you are in and frustrating especially if you like the house!

    How long had the agent been with the seller? The seller can change their agent depending on the agreement signed. Usually an agreement is 3 months. The seller can change their agent if they want.

    But if you are still interested in the property you can put a offer in but it will be with the new agent. If in the previous agent signed agreement it states that if a buyer is introduced by the previous agent they are entitled to a fee. Again it depends on the agreement.

    Unfortunately like someone else said it is the sellers problem. If they accept your offer they may have to pay a double or more fees.

    Don't let it put you off putting in the offer! As it appears the house may had been on the market for a few months for them to change agents.

    Kind regards
    Julie
     
  6. Scoodle

    Scoodle New Member

    Thanks everyone.

    It turned out to be as we suspected it would be; the new agents were fibbing when they said they were solely entitled to the commission, but then effectively stalled any negotiations between us and the seller until 6 months were nearly up.

    The situation was made more awkward by the seller's asking price being hugely speculative - it was an unusual and rare property, but still waaaaaay overpriced - so we had to play the waiting game for it to come down to closer to its realistic price, and what we could afford. The existing agent knew this was the case (every prospective buyer had said the same thing - "Nice house - but crazy price!") so was trying to haggle on both sides to find a middle ground, but the new agents simply said "We want the asking price" even tho' they must have known it was nuts (as it turned out to be), and they dropped the asking price twice over the next few months as they continued to market it.

    We put in our initial offer via the new agent, and this was turned down by the seller as we pretty much knew it would be, but the idea was get the ball rolling and negotiate. Our circumstances also changed at this time (mil sold her house and moved in with us) and we become cash buyers, so we asked the agent to tell the seller that (a) we had the cash so could move as quickly as they wanted, and (b) we wished to negotiate to find a middle ground. The agent refused to pass this info on - "There's no point..." were the manager's actual words.

    It's pretty obvious to us that the new agent didn't want the sale to go ahead with us as they would almost certainly have lost - or would have had to share - the commission, and the only time they got back to us was over 5 months later when - at last - another interested party had been found. They then tried to play us off against each other, but we weren't prepared to go as high as the other party. The house went to them, but still at more than £60k less than the initial asking price.

    This agent covered themselves in more undignified glory by firstly accepting our offer - and acknowledging this by email ("Congratulations!") - but then holding off sending out the Mem Of Sale - and lying about the reason - whilst they tried to get the other party to up their offer.

    The final insult was this agent giving us a recommendation for a conveyancing solicitor, but not informing us of the 170 pound kick-back they'd receive for doing so.

    All in all, a slimy dishonourable bunch.
     
  7. Jules1970

    Jules1970 New Member

    You did the right thing. I don't like agents like that. Well also silly buyers paying over the price their downfall! Bet they took the offer of the solicitor too. I had that offered to me once. They should had known me better. I do not have "mug" on my forehead. Anyway lets hope they have a horrible time with solicitors and takes ages to complete. You never know they might come back to you. And if did lower your offer more by 10K. Then find another house better than that one and tell them politely and sarcastically :). Anyway hope you find a lovely house soon

    Julie
     
  8. realdeals

    realdeals Active Member

    Surely this kind of practice by agents can be reported? I thought the sector was keen to clean up its act? I also thought these rogue practices, and non-transparent kick backs, had stopped years ago. How wrong I am!
     
  9. Scoodle

    Scoodle New Member

    Ha-ha - thanks folks :)

    A friend of ours had asked the manager of another local agents (who he's friends with) about the 'who gets the commission?' question above, and this manager's first response was "Are we talking about xxxxx, by any chance?!" When the reply was "Yes...", he added "How do they get away with it..."

    How they get away with it is because they hold all the information cards; how can you prove anything? We were lied to on a number of occasions - no question - but to prove this is nigh-on impossible. I read that failing to declare kick-backs was to be outlawed from last December, but I don't know if this was actually put in to law? Even if it was, all they'd have to do is claim it was mentioned, or whatever else will cover their backs.

    When I did challenge them on the misinformation they first gave us on who was entitled to the commission, a senior member just blamed the negotiator we were dealing with, adding "He's no longer with us..." That was it - no apology.

    As it happens, I have written a completely factual but very scathing review of this company, but - alas - need to hold off putting it on the web since we are still actively looking for a property and - sadly - this crew seem to have a good portion of the local market covered and good chance we'll need to deal with them. That's another reason they get away with it.

    The day will come... :)
     
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