More than half of those who bought, sold or rented a home in the last five years had issues with their estate or letting agent, according to a new study.
Some 54% of the 2,002 people surveyed had a bad experience with their agent, and Propertymark, which undertook the research, suggests that this may be because too many people are failing to use an agent that is regulated or part of a professional body.
Propertymark, a professional and regulatory body for letting agents and estate agents, reports that 42% of renters did not consider whether their agent was part of a professional before progressing with their transaction.
For those renters who it did not cross their mind to check, one in six - 14% - assumed all agents were regulated, leading to issues such as longer waiting times for any issues with the property to be fixed, struggling to get old items replaced, and not getting their full deposits back.
Mark Hayward and David Cox of Propertymark said in a joint statement: “Choosing a property, whether it’s to buy or rent, is a huge financial commitment and can be overwhelming, especially for first timers.
“We almost always go with the agent attached to a property if we’re buying or renting, but it’s important to at least ask the question.”
Although the number of buyers, sellers and renters checking to see if their agent is regulated has improved since the last study in 2014, Hayward and Cox believe it is still concerning that so many people assume all agents are members of a professional body, such as Propertymark, and are not considering this when choosing an agent.
The pair added: “It’s really important consumers look for the ‘Propertymark Protected’ logo when choosing an agent; it means they’re dealing with a professional who has opted for regulation in an unregulated sector and it will give them peace of mind that their money is protected.”