The Home truth

A recent study by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) shows that people who are planning to buy or sell their homes could be at risk of losing around £300 through agency fees if they do not shop around.

The study into estate agents found high levels of dissatisfaction amongst customers about estate agents’ services. To avoid being overcharged by estate agents, Merton Council’s trading standards are advising residents who want to buy and sell their homes to get at least three estate agents’ valuations and quotes before signing a contract.

They offer the following tips:
§ Check whether the estate agent is a member of a trade association
§ Don’t be persuaded to sign up to mortgage, conveyancing or other services without checking alternatives
§ Keep a record of all correspondence
§ Read the property particulars carefully
§ Ask for fees to be stated as a monetary sum rather then a percentage so you know exactly how much you are paying.

Councillor Linda Kirby, Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for environmental quality, said: “House buying and selling is a big financial commitment. By shopping around and knowing their rights buyers and sellers get the better deals.”

For information and advice on buying or selling your home please call Merton’s Trading Standards service on 020 8545 4018.


Elissa Middleton
PR and Press Assistant
London Borough of Merton
020 8545 4093