The magazine Mortgage Strategy says Countrywide is investigating reports that one of its estate agent branches pressured buyers to use in-house mortgage advisers.
The publication says that independent mortgage broker White Financial Services claims two of its clients in the last fortnight “were unduly encouraged by Countrywide subsidiary Palmer Snell to use their own mortgage adviser.”
It is alleged that the Taunton branch of Palmer Snell told the customers in question they could not view or put in offers on properties without seeing the firm’s tied mortgage adviser.
Mortgage Strategy cites White Financial Services managing director Dan White as making the allegation.
One client was allegedly asked to supply identification and three months of payslips and bank statements to put in an offer.
Such documents would not normally be requested by estate agents pre-offer but could be used to arrange a mortgage.
White is quoted as saying: “It was lucky they were both quite strong headed and said no.”
Countrywide has told Estate Agent Today:
“Countrywide takes these matters seriously and as such are investigating the incidents as outlined to us in this branch. We can say with certainty that we do not impose conditions on any applicant wishing to view or make an offer on a property. We like to ensure that any offer put to vendors has been qualified but do not insist that any customer needs to meet with any of our consultants.
“Our job is to ensure that the process between buyer and seller is a smooth as possible. We pass all offers on to our vendors.”