Talk about having your cake and eating it, greedy estate agents have started to charge desperate buyers a “finders fee” according to The Mail Online, It says those “desperate” to move to a larger home are being asked to pay fees up to £4,000. “..at the same time, the seller must also pay out the usual fee to an estate agent for selling their old home.”
These new fees are yet another cost for cash-strapped buyers who are already paying ever increasing costs to move home, including 3% Stamp Duty as well as their own estate agent’s fee to sell their property – at least 1% of the sale price.
It is questionable if there are any advantages for buyers and estate agents are getting a great deal of bad publicity and negative attention about this practice, termed a “sales technique” in Estate Agent Today.
Buyers are being forced to pay these fees due to a shortage of properties that come onto the market. Such is the stampede for the best homes; you have to question why sellers even need an agent in the current bubble market.
An NAEA spokesman defended the increasing use of finders’ fees, claiming it a symptom of the pressures on supply in the current market: “Common practice for estate agency fees is for the fee to fall to the seller in return for the agent’s role in marketing the property, securing the sale and negotiating the transition with the buyer and others who may be part of the chain. However, given the current pressures on supply in the market, some agents may well consider changing their fee structures to encourage more sellers to the market by reducing fees for those selling a property and instead introducing a finder’s fee to help buyers find the right property. In whatever instance a fee is levied, however, our code of conduct is clear that all agents must be upfront and transparent about the fee being charged”
A probe has been launched into the borderline legality of the increasingly widespread practice of charging both sellers and buyers fees. It started as a charge to buyers when they succeeded in a “sealed bid” tender process, levying a typical fee of 2.5% of the successful bid price. However now finders’ fees to buyers are also becoming commonplace.
Property Ombudsman Christopher Hamer said: “the agents’ clear legal obligations are to the seller and entering into a contract with prospective buyers may well compromise that and be seen as a conflict of interest.”
The only people this will help will be the estate agents, who will end up getting double their usual fees. It would appear they are trying to get back their crown from bankers, as the most greedy and despised profession.