A scene we see often: You’ve been house hunting, you know your budget as you have already spoken to a mortgage adviser and have an agreement in principle. You found the house, you put an offer in but they’ve now told you that your offer will only be put to their client if you agree to use their in house mortgage advisor – what do you do?
So, do you have to use the estate agents mortgage adviser?
The short answer is NO, in fact its illegal for an estate agent to insist on using their own adviser and they should be passing any reasonable offers to their client. The key piece of legislation is under The Estate Agents Act of 1979 and states that every offer must be put to the seller.
Why would I not want to use the estate agents adviser?
Buying property is one of the biggest purchases that we make in our lifetimes and having someone with your interests at heart, that is independent from the process, who will advise you on your best options. If you use an estate agents in-house mortgage advisor you do not know who they are putting first, you or their clients that they are selling the property for?
Think of this scenario, to get your agreement in principle from the estate agents advisor you will need to provide your financial details to the, this will allow them to calculate your maximum potential purchase price – is this something you want them to know when you put an offer in – especially if your looking to go below the asking price or if there are other interested potential purchasers?
My estate agent is insisting that I use their adviser – what should I do?
Don’t worry, we think the first thing you should do is speak to us, don’t sign any paperwork with the estate agent’s advisor yet. We are experienced dealing with this situation – firstly, we’ll get your agreement in principle over to the estate agent and confirm that you are in a position to proceed. We’ll also make it clear that there is no legal obligation for you to use their in-house advisor.
Additionally If the advisor is a member of The Property Ombudsman then we can refer them to their Code of Practice for Residential Estate Agents where it states:
By law you cannot make it a condition of passing on offers to the seller that the buyer must use services offered by you or another party. You must not discriminate, or threaten to discriminate, against a buyer because that person declines to accept that you will (directly or indirectly) provide related services to them. Discrimination includes but is not limited to the following:
Section 9d - Code of Practice for Residential Estate Agents (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) - Effective from 1 June 2019
Which either you or we can remind them of their obligations. A full copy of the code of conduct can be found on The Property Ombudsman website. At the end of the day its ultimately your decision on how to proceed but you should not feel pressured into a decision from any party especially when you’re talking about buying property.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.