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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

MP pledges to raise portal juggling scandal in House of Commons

A Conservative MP is to raise the portal juggling controversy in the House of Commons.

Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives in Cornwall, says he is going to try to secure a Commons debate or raise parliamentary questions on the issue because the juggling scandal exacerbates what he calls a “bust” housing market. 

“We need to free up the market to make it honest and reliable” Thomas has said on BBC Radio Cornwall. “Websites are helpful for getting information but it’s the estate agents we need and who we build relationships with so we know these people are giving honest and trustworthy information” Thomas told listeners.

“We’re not talking about estate agents in the main - we’re talking about the technology” he says.

Thomas was supporting an earlier interview with Chris Wood, former chairman of the NAEA and owner of PDQ agency in west Cornwall, and a long-time opponent of this tactic by some agents and developers. 

He claims there are around 10,000 portal juggles in a year equating to £2.8 billion worth of property.

He says the National Trading Standards Estate Agent Team in Powys has only four staff and is clearly under-resourced to tackle the problem - the result, he says, “is that the cowboys have taken over.”

“Basically it’s to mislead buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants and advisers. ... It’s actually quite difficult to spot and some portals are making it more difficult to spot as well because they’ve realised that if they’re not dealing with this problem they’re in trouble as well ” claims Wood during the interview. 

Wood also explains the basic misleading of the consumer contained in the portal juggling practice: “If [a property] had just gone on the market you might think it’s a great opportunity ... but if you’d seen it had been on the market for say 90 days or 180 days or 360 days as some properties have been, you might well think there was a problem with it.” 

Earlier this week Estate Agent Today and some national newspapers reported findings by data company Propcision regarding alleged portal juggling in parts of London.

In one instance an estate agency allegedly listed 35 new-build properties for sale during a six to eight month period - although on closer inspection this was portal juggling. 

“The pattern occurs so frequently that it may have seemed as though there were 368 properties listed for sale instead of 35 during the same period. Instead of there being roughly £50m in market value of apartments advertised, it may have appeared in some statistics as over £500m in market value” claims Propcision. 

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    Mr Thomas - Why not sort out the ISIS/Refugee crisis,instead of this petty meddling.

  • James Scollard

    I don't really understand the problem. Agents do this because of the interest is generated in the first four weeks. If the property has been on 2 or 3 months going stale. The agent takes the property off, takes new photos or re-arranges photos and adds as a new instruction, the interest can dramatically increase resulting in a sale for the client. Also, home buyers can register with a portal and the new instruction is emailed to buyers, thereby generating renewed interest.

    Who cares the property has been on 6 months, so what? If a property has been on 12 months - does that mean its undesirable? or more desirable because prices have increased? It doesn't matter. People should not be sheep and think, I'm not looking at that property because no one else as bought it. The length of time is completely irrelevant.

    Real Agents are interested in SELLING properties and this tactic is well used throughout the industry to generate interest when properties become stale.

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    James portal juggling is illegal, agents do this but it is illegal.
    It is essentially falsifying figures, if you did that to HMRC you would end up in chains, if you do it on the property portals you should be banned plain and simple.
    I have been asked by my clients to generate interest by relisting property and I have said that it is illegal. If they want to relist after x weeks they have to leave for another company. A 2 week marketing break just is not acceptable either - then over the last 18 months a property can be advertised as new to the market when it has been listed fro 17.5 months previous.
    they don't use this just to relist new properties to create interest they use it to fiddle figures and relist properties that have gone under offer at lower asking prices so that they can say they always achieve 98% of asking price. Then they publicise these figures to inflate their position in the marketplace. This has a knock on effect of 'selling' the property in a very short space of time and again you see 'we on average take 8 weeks to sell your property'.
    These are falsified figures generated by manipulating the listings giving everyone a false view of the property market.
    PB 'supposedly' listed 3000 new properties this month and they are having investment based on these figures - god knows how many are actually false and how many investors have placed money in good faith with figures being fudged.
    Also James do you think that the owner down the street from this relisted property will be happy knowing that it's just a trick to get more interest? how will they feel that the house up the street can be advertised as 'new to the market' when it clearly isn't and that their property should get the same treatment. Then we have a free for all and no one knows what is going on.
    SHOCKING that anyone would condone portal juggling

     
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    James, as the proprietor of a business that is a member of TPOS you are required to have a good knowledge of the TPOS code, CPR and the 1979 Estate Agents Act etc. and, as such, I am sure you are aware that this 'tactic', no matter how widespread it may be, is illegal.

    If you don't understand why, this article may help - Portal juggling – What is it, and why you should care | PDQ Property In West Cornwall http://bit.ly/portaljuggle

  • Lyn Burgoyne

    Well said Chris. I have never used this and always wondered how certain agents manage to increase their postionings on Rightmove stats etc. Any agent of worth does not need to do this, they just have to work a bit harder on marketing their properties and provide the service their clients sign up for

  • Terence Dicks

    James, you and those like you are the root cause of this article. Relisting properties without a valid reason such as a price reduction is dishonest. The portals are not there for people like you (I hesitate to name you as an estate agent) to manipulate just to try "generating renewed interest" in a property you have so obviously failed to sell. I have been doing this job I love for 32 years now, and I had foolishly hoped that the attitude of the dinosaurs I originally worked for and with had died out. Obviously they passed their criminal ways on to people like you. I only wish the Property Misdescriptions Act was still being policed, so I could enjoy seeing people like you being fined, banned from being an estate agent, and even imprisoned.

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