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Agents misleading buyers about in-house mortgage services, says Which?

The consumer group Which? says some estate agents are misleading buyers about in-house mortgage services. 

The consumer group has issued a number of reports on this issue in recent years, and the latest involved researchers posing as first-time buyers in high street estate agencies.

Some 27 per cent of agents said that using their in-house mortgage broker would make a difference to the property purchase, with one claiming it could help the buyer get their chosen home at a lower price. 

The group says that 29 agents’ were targeted by the undercover team during April in Birmingham, Colchester, Maidenhead and Maidstone. Of the 22 that offered in-house mortgage-broking, none said buyers had to use them. 

“However, three said that their in-house broker would get the buyer better deals than they’d find elsewhere, and one said it would make the homebuying process quicker. Six estate agents told our researchers that using their in-house broker would make a difference to their purchase – and one even said that the seller might accept a lower offer: says Which? 

The organisation says the reasons given for an in-house broker making a difference to their purchase included the sale not falling through “so you’re in a better position”; that it would be quicker to get a mortgage or to complete the purchase; that the agent could more easily keep an eye on progress; and that vendor clients were more likely to accept an offer from buyers getting their mortgage in-house.

“Our undercover researchers also asked whether the agent would receive a referral fee or commission if they used the recommended broker. Half of the agents said they would, six said they wouldn’t, and seven were unclear.”

Which? adds: “Alarmingly, 17 per cent claimed their agent had told them they wouldn’t be allowed to go on viewings unless they used the in-house broker.”

A previous Which? survey revealed that 17 per cent of those who’d used in-house brokers had done so as a condition of being allowed to view properties.
 

  • Simon Shinerock

    Making using your broker a condition of a viewing is outrageous. Recommending your broker as reliable, a known quantity and therefore preferred, is a different matter

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    Not in the slightest bit surprised. When we bought our current house through an agent with many offices around Peterborough and surrounding villages,the pressure they put on me to use their in-house broker was enormous. I persistently told them that I had my own guy that I always use. They told me that I must attend their office to discuss the costs of moving home - really! I did go, more out of interest than anything, and their office manager is probably the rudest person I've ever met in business, piling on the pressure to use their solicitor too but got frustrated when she got nowhere. As it turns out I know another mortgage broker that used to be one of their in-house people. He told me about all the kick backs they get. I'll never use this agent again and I know many landlords that say the same due to experiences they've had.

  • Chris JaiBahadur

    Sounds like Abbotts tactics i've heard it time and time again. even from a former broker that worked for them. "You wont be able to view until their broker qualifies you" and like many online agents the are paid a referal fee.

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    I heard one major chain of agents used to get the owner to "bribe" you a £1000 cash back if you used their Mortgage services-by taking it of the asking price.Not sure the owner really knew what was going on.

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