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Estate agent contract - can I get out?


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Old 17-08-2007, 14:43
magnetictiger
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Unfortunately the contract is at the house I'm selling, and I can't view it until tomorrow.

How tight are estate agent contracts? If I sell the house myself, where does that leave me with the estate agent?

Can I break the contract as he has failed to inform me of an offer on the house? He also left the house without the alarm on.

I just want an idea of what to do before I can see the contract.
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Old 17-08-2007, 14:56
ResidentX
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You signed a contract without viewing it? That was rather a wild decision to make. It obviously varies from estate agent to estate agent. If its part of the Spicer McColl group then expect a 6month tie in without break and also a percentage of any other method of sale during that period. If he has been unable to uphold his end of the contract and you have proof then it is possible it can be worthless. If you also signed a document without seeing the full terms and conditions this also needs to be looked at.

A private sale can lead to longer exchange times, more chance of it falling through and additional stress in a period where you don't need it. Think long and hard about what you are doing cutting the agent out.
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Old 17-08-2007, 14:58
magnetictiger
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I did read it before I signed it, and it was all fine at the time. Only problem is I have a terrible memory and I can't recall all the details. I was silly to leave it up there though!

Thanks for the advice
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Old 17-08-2007, 15:17
Longi1974
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If you can prove he has failed to pass an offer on to you, which he should (almost always) be obliged to do under the terms of the contract, I would say that you would be within your rights to terminate without penalty due to breach of contract.
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Old 17-08-2007, 15:21
Keefy-boy
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If you have a sole agency agreement it means that your estate agents are entitled to commission only if they introduce your buyer and bring about the sale of your property. Sole agency does not prevent you from selling your house privately.

Failure to inform you of an offer is a major breach and would certainly be grounds to void the agreement. If they are members of the the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) Scheme you may be entitled to complain and get compensation. Or it may just be an easy way to get out of the agreement for you!

Not switching the alarm on in one instance less so.
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Old 17-08-2007, 15:24
magnetictiger
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Thanks everyone. I'm very annoyed about him not passing an offer on as he said to me when we signed the contract that he would pass on any offer, even a ridiculous one.

The guy made an offer 20k under the asking price and was told by the estate agent that he wasn't even going to bother passing that on as its just a silly offer.
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Old 17-08-2007, 15:55
Seminole
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If you have a sole agency agreement it means that your estate agents are entitled to commission only if they introduce your buyer and bring about the sale of your property. Sole agency does not prevent you from selling your house privately.

Failure to inform you of an offer is a major breach and would certainly be grounds to void the agreement. If they are members of the the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) Scheme you may be entitled to complain and get compensation. Or it may just be an easy way to get out of the agreement for you!

Not switching the alarm on in one instance less so.
Be sure you have not given your agent 'Sole Selling Rights' this would mean he is entitled to commission even if you sell it privately. Quite different from sole agency.

An estate agent is obliged to report all offers in writing to the client within 24 hours or the next working day, whatever occurs earlier. Whether he considers that offer irrelevant or derisory is neither here nor there.

It is still an unlicensed and unregulated profession which is ridiculous. It is advisable for punters to deal with agents that are members of the National Association of Estate Agents, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or affiliated to an Ombudsman scheme. There are too many muppets out there- I should know I have worked with enough of them over the years.
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Old 17-08-2007, 20:11
seacam
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Unfortunately the contract is at the house I'm selling, and I can't view it until tomorrow.

How tight are estate agent contracts? If I sell the house myself, where does that leave me with the estate agent?

Can I break the contract as he has failed to inform me of an offer on the house? He also left the house without the alarm on.

I just want an idea of what to do before I can see the contract.
Hello Magnetic,

Hmmm that depends.

Leaving the alarm off is for their conveniance, they should have informed you but not a reason for you to terminate your contract.

Failing to inform you of an offer may not be a reason either depending on the agreement you have and then it would have to be a serious offer.

What did you agree on Sole Selling Rights or Sole Agency?

Why on earth would you sign something you have viewed and not have a copy of, did you loose your copy or wern't you given one?

You say an offer was made and not passed on to you, I assume you can show this, prove it, how serious was it?

If your property is worth 250-000 as it stands and an offer is put forward of 175-000, I would not expect my agent, ( if I employed one ) to bother me or inform me of silly offers, I will be paying him to use his judgement and skill to sort the chaff from the grain, a claims court would see it that way to.

So are you trying to wrigle out of your agreement or do you have a serious complaint?
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Old 17-08-2007, 21:02
browncube
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I just took my house of the market to get out of the estate agent contract, they cant make you keep your house up for sale. (some 12 week thing for sole agent)

I then put it up the week after with another estate agent, (after i decided to move again)
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Old 17-08-2007, 21:05
Prontopro
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If you give keys to your property to an estate agent make doubly sure you have insurance cover. If they left the alarm off and someone broke in and trashed the place you wouldn't be too pleased and unless you've told your insurance company they'd might not pay out. And there's no guarantee that the estate agent has cover.

I used Bairstow Eves a couple of years ago and when I asked for a copy of their insurance they couldn't give me one. Needless to say they didn't get the keys and all viewings were accompanied by myself.
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Old 17-08-2007, 21:16
magnetictiger
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Thanks for the replies. To answer some questions:

I don't live at the house I'm selling and only visit. It was a mistake to leave the contract there, but with two houses, it does get confusing where things are.

The estate agent agreed verbally to pass on any offer, no matter "how small or silly". Surely the fact that I am considering the offer means I should have been told of it?

The guy who made the offer got in touch with me directly via the next door neighbour. The offer was a serious offer - we are showing him round on Sunday.

I'm not looking to wriggle out of the contract, I know I don't want to have to sort out a sale myself as I'm not really well enough. But will I ever get a sale with an agent who hasn't passed on any offers? The house has been on the market for 3 months - how do I know there haven't been other offers?

Also, I don't think its right for them to leave the alarm off when they only visit the property once every 3 weeks or so. I made a complaint about this, and hopefully when I get home tomorrow the alarm will be on.
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Old 17-08-2007, 21:51
seacam
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Hello Magnetic, when your not well you just don't need this hassle.

I think you are entitled to end your contract with the agent so long as it can be shown that the perspective purchaser made an offer to the agent.

You may not have a problem anyway depending on the agreement you have.

But if it is a Sole Selling Rights agreement and they have not passed on an offer, then you can terminate but you may be liable for some costs, there is a particular format, wording ( I think ), in which you end the contract, I will look this up, if you haven't found out meanwhile.
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Old 18-08-2007, 10:40
Agent Krycek
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The estate agent agreed verbally to pass on any offer, no matter "how small or silly". Surely the fact that I am considering the offer means I should have been told of it?
EAs are obliged to pass on all offers in writing as soon as possible - even if he turns the offer down on your behalf, he's still obliged to put the offer in writing to both parties.

The guy who made the offer got in touch with me directly via the next door neighbour. The offer was a serious offer - we are showing him round on Sunday.
If you do sell to this man, you are liable for the agents fees, as they introduced him to the property - obviously you can try and take the chance and do the deal privately and not tell the agent, but you're in breach of contract, and liable for his fees, and probably any expenses they incur in recovering these fees.

I'm not looking to wriggle out of the contract, I know I don't want to have to sort out a sale myself as I'm not really well enough. But will I ever get a sale with an agent who hasn't passed on any offers? The house has been on the market for 3 months - how do I know there haven't been other offers?

Also, I don't think its right for them to leave the alarm off when they only visit the property once every 3 weeks or so. I made a complaint about this, and hopefully when I get home tomorrow the alarm will be on.
I'd get out of the contract, it's quite easy - if the agency period is still running, just take the keys back, they can't show if they can't get in, then terminate the contract in writing, giving notice by how many days is stated in the contract. EAs have a duty of care, leaving the alarm off is failing in that duty.

Last edited by Agent Krycek : 18-08-2007 at 10:44. Reason: Hit save button too soon
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Old 20-08-2007, 11:38
magnetictiger
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I've got the contract.

Its a sole agency contract. It also says that they will submit in writing any offers they recieve.

I assume I don't need to pay them if I sell the property privately, as they didn't introduce this buyer to me. He phoned me and left a message on my phone before he made an offer to the agency. Also, they never told me about him, so they definately didn't introduce him did they?

The contract states that I have to give 28 days notice and pay a charge of NIL. Basically - I just write to them and say I withdraw and they can't do anything? Is that right?
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Old 20-08-2007, 12:31
spiritbarbie
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it is a legal requirement for agents to put forward all formal offers to the vendor of the property, if the agent just discussed prices of consideration with a viewer and no offer was put forward then thats anpther matter, most agents now belong to ombudsman or some other regulatory body which enforces the requirement to inform vendors about offers. If and offer is rejected then a letter should go to both vendor and the person who offred to confirm that it has been put forward. the reason I know this is i am an estate agent (boo and hiss at will )
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Old 20-08-2007, 13:05
Agent Krycek
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I've got the contract.

Its a sole agency contract. It also says that they will submit in writing any offers they recieve.

I assume I don't need to pay them if I sell the property privately, as they didn't introduce this buyer to me. He phoned me and left a message on my phone before he made an offer to the agency. Also, they never told me about him, so they definately didn't introduce him did they?

The contract states that I have to give 28 days notice and pay a charge of NIL. Basically - I just write to them and say I withdraw and they can't do anything? Is that right?
If he saw the property via the agency, i.e. the first appointment was booked via them, then yes, they did introduce the buyer to the property. It's got nothing to do with them actually saying 'Mr Bloggs is going round' or if you talked to them first, if the appointment was booked via the agency, then the fees are due to them.


Go and get your keys, they can't show if they can't get in, then write and state you're withdrawing it from the market - either in 28 days (which is ridiculously long, it should be about 7 working days, don't get so tied in again ) or at the end of the sole agency period, which ever is sooner - and never sign a sole agency longer then 6 weeks.

There is one other type of contract, which is Sole Selling Rights - which basically means, during an agency term if anyone buys your property, whether the agents introduced them, a different agents introduces them or you found them privately, then you would still be liable for the agency fees - although I've never heard of anyone signing one of these.
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Old 20-08-2007, 13:08
magnetictiger
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If he saw the property via the agency, i.e. the first appointment was booked via them, then yes, they did introduce the buyer to the property. It's got nothing to do with them actually saying 'Mr Bloggs is going round' or if you talked to them first, if the appointment was booked via the agency, then the fees are due to them.
They didn't make an appointment with the estate agent to view the property. They phoned me to ask to view the property. They made an offer without seeing the house, which may be why the estate agent didn't bother passing it on. He should have done though - it was a serious offer which we are considering. You do mean a viewing by appointment don't you? The estate agent doesn't know that they view the property with me or that they got in touch with me before and after contacting them. I'm assuming the estate agent doesn't have any record of the phone call - if he does, I can ask why he didn't pass it on to me.
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Old 20-08-2007, 13:19
Agent Krycek
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They didn't make an appointment with the estate agent to view the property. They phoned me to ask to view the property. They made an offer without seeing the house, which may be why the estate agent didn't bother passing it on. He should have done though - it was a serious offer which we are considering. You do mean a viewing by appointment don't you? The estate agent doesn't know that they view the property with me or that they got in touch with me before and after contacting them. I'm assuming the estate agent doesn't have any record of the phone call - if he does, I can ask why he didn't pass it on to me.
Ahh, now if they didn't make the appointment via the agents, then I don't think you are liable for their fees.

Although, I should say, we occassionally get people offering on houses they haven't seen, and we tend to insist that they see the property and get them to make an appointment there and then before considering it a serious offer, so I can sort of understand why they didn't pass the offer on - although I would make a point of telling the vendor that Mr Bloggs has offered 450,000 for your house before seeing it, but I'm taking them to see it this afternoon to firm the offer up.

From an agent's point of view, I'd find it difficult to take someone offering 100Ks for something they haven't actually seen. Why on earth they didn't make the appointment there and then though I've no idea
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Old 20-08-2007, 13:26
magnetictiger
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He was just annoyed with the guy saying that he wasn't going to bother passing on the offer and decided to not bother with him.

The estate agent could have asked if he was serious. Its not common I suppose, but this guy has lived next door to the house for 10 years. The houses are identical, and he has been inside before. The house isn't that expensive to be honest, so the offer definately should have been passed on.

I'm happy he didn't bother with the estate agent. I tried so carefully to select a decent estate agent, seems I got it wrong. Got home yesterday and the alarm was off - again. Thats after I made a point of going in to the branch to complain about them not turning the alarm on. The back door was only half locked too.

I'm glad to get away from him to be honest.
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Old 20-08-2007, 13:37
Agent Krycek
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He was just annoyed with the guy saying that he wasn't going to bother passing on the offer and decided to not bother with him.

The estate agent could have asked if he was serious. Its not common I suppose, but this guy has lived next door to the house for 10 years. The houses are identical, and he has been inside before. The house isn't that expensive to be honest, so the offer definately should have been passed on.

I'm happy he didn't bother with the estate agent. I tried so carefully to select a decent estate agent, seems I got it wrong. Got home yesterday and the alarm was off - again. Thats after I made a point of going in to the branch to complain about them not turning the alarm on. The back door was only half locked too.

I'm glad to get away from him to be honest.
They do sound a bit rubbish to be honest - in the circumstances you've described, with the buyer knowing the house, knowing the area they should have booked him in immediately (as they should have done anyway), so it's completely their own fault.
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Old 20-08-2007, 16:25
seacam
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Hello Magnetic,

I think you can end your contract safely, as Agent Krycec stated, write to them ending the contract.

Krycec is correct, 28 days is far to long and may well be deemed an unfair term if it came to it.

As I have already said, reading your thread the only concern is can they claim it was not a serious offer so didn't pass it on.

As Krycec says, you don't usally make an offer on a property you haven't seen, at least not with an estate agent.

However the consencious appears to be you can cancel because of the alarm and the offer you were not informed of.

Send any letter by recorded delivery.
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Old 20-08-2007, 19:30
skimps
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English property buying/selling is a nightmare by the sounds of things!! In Scotland, you can pretty much bow out of your deal at any time, if the agent isn't right for you.
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Old 12-02-2008, 13:05
magnetictiger
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Wow, I didn't realise how long the sale took. We completed last week, and this thread was from over 5 months ago! The estate agent didn't put up a fight, and we dealt with the buyer directly, and it was a very smooth, although slow, transaction.
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