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Written by rosalind renshaw

An estate agent which advertised homes for sale at under market value has been reprimanded by the advertising watchdog.

Manchester-based Sell Quick, trading as Express Estate Agency, was the subject of four complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority after its ‘misleading’ advertising on websites.

The adverts were for apparently low-priced property, but would-be purchasers found that more was in fact being asked.

One advert stated that a two-bed terrace was for sale at offers over £49,950, which it claimed was a £22,500 discount.

The advert said: “The Express Estate Agency offers this attractively priced property to buyers who are in a position to buy relatively swiftly. This property is priced low to encourage a quicker than normal sale.”

A three-bed terrace was offered for sale at offers over £74,950. It claimed this was a 21% discount, and that an independent RICS value had valued it at £95,000.
The advert said: “The property is offered significantly below market value … These genuine discounts are offered based upon the property’s independently verified market value. All of our surveyed properties have been valued by an independent Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Valuer in order to confirm that all of our properties are offered with true discounts.”
On another website, a three-bedroom terrace home was advertised as for sale at £69,950. The advert said the property had last been for sale at £99,950 in April 2005.

On Express Estate Agency’s own website it stated that offers over £64,950 were sought for one property. The advert said it was priced low to encourage a quicker than normal sale.

Another agent, SB property, plus three members of public, challenged whether the advertised prices and discounts featured in the ads were misleading.

Express Estate Agency told the ASA that their properties were offered at marketing prices and not asking prices. They said that they aimed to sell the properties at a higher price than the ‘Offers in excess of’ or ‘Offers over’ marketing prices shown in the ads.

They said that when dealing with consumers’ inquiries, their representatives explained their pricing policy and that they valued the properties above the marketing price listed in the ad. They also said the price a vendor may initially seek and the offer which they eventually accept were often very different.
Express said said of a property referred to as having a ‘£22,500 discount from previous agents marketing price’ that it was clear that offers were invited in excess of £49,950. A complainant had made an offer over £49,950 which had been rejected. Express said it was the vendors’ prerogative to accept or reject an offer.
Express also referred to Scottish Home Report valuations which they said were often very optimistic, especially in the current climate.

Express also explained that the property in one advert was marketed at offers in excess of £64,950. They said they received several offers in excess of that value and that the property was sold for a value significantly in excess of £64,950.

The complaints were upheld. The ASA said that advertised prices should be an accurate reflection of the prices sought for the property.

While properties had been described as priced low to attract a quick sale, in fact three of the complainants said that Express informed them that the vendor sought an offer which was significantly in excess of the advertised price.
The ASA also noted the ad invited ‘Offers in excess of £74,950’ and that genuine discounts were offered based upon the property’s independently verified market value. However, the vendor said that the property had been valued at a much higher value within the Home Report valuation and that the minimum offer they were prepared to accept was significantly greater than £74,950, which had been made clear to Express.

The ads must not appear again in their current form. The ASA has told Express to ensure that, in all future ads, the prices listed are an accurate reflection of the price sought for the property and are capable of robust substantiation.


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    Do not touch this agency, they do not get many people through the door they take awful pictures of your property, they produce no floor plan or leaflet for the purchaser and they muck about with prices which suits neither the purchaser or the vendor. They do not reply to emails and if they get anyone to see your property they must have persuaded or deceived them. Also their commission for this is the same as your local agent where you will get a much better service.

    • 17 November 2013 12:35 PM
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    Dealing with the Express Estate Agency is the BIGGEST MISTAKE I have ever done in my life!
    They have called me up so many times to sell my property , market it on a low price to attract buyers but they put the price up.They also let you sign on a contract sole to them and they really think that because they are internet based company, they would be very strong....From Sept 24, 2013, they have tried to put my house prices low as much as they can.and they would not stop and they even tell you off. Unbelievable !!!!!!
    I only got 2 viewings from them where they say, we sell everything fast.....

    • 06 November 2013 12:39 PM
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    i too am finding it extremely difficult to even arrange a viewing - doesn't inspire confidence to actually try and buy a property being advertised with this company.

    • 11 July 2013 12:31 PM
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    As a buyer I have found it impossible to get home reports from these people

    Have asked several times and received nothing

    • 04 July 2013 16:10 PM
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    We have recently had the same issue. The house we really liked is advertised as offers over £125000. We have had 3 offers rejected, the last one being £129000! Apparently the vendor would like more :/ I really don't understand why they work in this way and how it possibly helps the vendor achieve a quick sale?!

    P.S We have now found another house which we have fell in love with and contracts are currently being exchanged :)

    • 10 April 2013 15:22 PM
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    We too have just been conned by this company. Was watching a house just out of our current reach at 95K and was suprised when the asking price dropped to 90K. Encouraged by this we arranged a viewing. The situation of the seller was evident that she wanted a quick sale and was keen to move on soon. We made our 1st offer over the adverised price of 92K expecting a knock back and would make a 2nd offer we thought may be accepted of 95K. However the 1st offer was knocked backed and we were told by the agency that offers would need to be in excess of 100K??? We wouldn't have wasted our time the sellers time, or our lawyers time if we had known this!!! Totally enraged now reading this article. Shocking behaviour!

    • 31 March 2013 14:35 PM
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    This company is about to loose me my dream home. The seller must also feel very let down

    • 06 February 2013 19:40 PM
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    what joke this company is .1 viewing in 6 weeks and they wanted to sell £45,000 below market value.Then when i was disappointed and wanted to finish with them they tell me i am liable to costs to them if i sell with any one else for 4 months after i had an e mail to tell me there was categorically no tie ins.
    my advice is steer clear. Rubbish.

    • 20 November 2012 19:07 PM
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    We too have been conned by this company, I am sad to say. We were advised by Express Estates to list our house well below its true value in order to get the interest in. Feeling confident, we bought into their scheme thinking they were working in our interest. They reassured us that we would easily achieve the 20,000 above the asking price we needed to sell. However at four months later we are no better off. We have had countless stressful arguments with them to raise the price of the house more in line to the value we would accept from potential buyers. each time they have dropped us. We feel we have wasted buyers time who have made offers that are too low for us to accept under their 'bid up' process and ours.

    Needless to say we are now leaving this company for a more local, trusted estate agent. Nasty sting we have found out it that they still pursue sales even after you have left them and gone to another company.

    • 08 October 2012 11:42 AM
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    We nearly got fooled into this by Express recently. Our house had been valued at £195,000 and Express wanted to offer it at £160,000 claiming several potential buyers would "fight it out amongst themselves" regarding an offer, which hopefully would help us achieve more of the price we were looking to sell at. It just goes to show "If it looks too good to be true, it obviously is".

    • 25 April 2012 13:47 PM
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    Latest advert style

    "By making an enquiry on this property you acknowledge that this property is strictly offers in excess of the marketing price provided.

    The market appraisal of this property has indicated a value in excess of our marketing price. As a consequence, and similar to any other vendor, the vendor is aiming to achieve as much as possible in excess of this marketing price provided."

    • 11 February 2012 21:16 PM
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    This just proves that Rightmove are not selective as to which agents they accept. This organisation are riding on the back of Rightmove to fuel their grubby marketing tactics.

    • 01 February 2012 12:56 PM
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    Sounds like the same devils that used to control hometrader plc.

    Located in a similar area & using the same tactics, not to be trusted.

    • 27 January 2012 11:36 AM
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    Also, Freshstart Living of Salford have now received the wrath of the ASA.

    For "Below Market Value" read "Current Market Value"

    • 25 December 2011 03:36 AM
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    Jeez FBA did you swallow a dictionary?

    • 10 December 2011 11:06 AM
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    Dear Mr Rant,

    You seem to be electroencephalographically challenged

    • 09 December 2011 16:46 PM
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    At what salary multiple did someone need to buy the average UK house when you were young Ray? No doubt much, much lower than today.

    I respect your views - you come across as very informed on a whole range of subjects related to the EA industry. When it comes to today's house prices, I read into your posts though that you have more than one eye on retiring and your pension plan involves house prices being as high as possible. Thus, any opinion you may or may not have on this particular subject as an EA is secondary to this guiding principle.

    Would I feel the same if my pension was mostly in one basket? Absolutely! I've never said that a crash in UK house prices benefits everyone. It doesn't - those looking to downsize over the coming years to release equity for their pension will be hit by prices coming down. Fact.

    I may have that assumption about you completely wrong (for which I apologise). If not though, why not be more open about it? Your opinions on the subject of prices (rather than say Rightmove fees) would thus carry MORE not LESS weight, because you are speaking from the perspective of an EA and someone whose retirement plans are based around property. You are not alone in that view by any means, and entitled to it. All of us are more than our 9-5 roles!

    I've tried to make my personal position re house prices clear ; ) At the end of the day, I'd like cheaper house prices now, so I can save more for my retirement. I would prefer a retirement plan that didn't involve my kids' generation signing up to very high levels of debt though.

    Just out of interest, and if you don't want to answer this then fair enough, do you have any children? Are they at an age where today's house prices are a challenge?

    I hope you don't see this as a hostile post - it's not intended to be at all. I'd just appreciate knowing a little bit more about what motivates you on this subject. Ultimately I believe the both of us are trying to secure the interests of our loved ones for when our working days draw to a close. We just approach that subject from very different angles.

    • 09 December 2011 16:15 PM
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    @rantnrave on 2011-12-09 15:28:15

    "... Who's to say whether a house is under or over priced in today's market?..."

    It would seem that it Is yourself who says (or at least thinks) all the time that houses are overpriced

    I respect your opinion but as always I say what I say and will not enter into protracted ping-pong ; >)


    • 09 December 2011 15:51 PM
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    Just as much as you are on your hobby horse in the other direction Ray ; )

    Who's to say whether a house is under or over priced in today's market? The Express Estate Agency's pitch is clear enough - it offers a service for motivated sellers who are most likely coming to them because they haven't achieved a sale at the prices other EAs have valued their property at.

    The Express Estate Agency have seemingly convinced vendors that they are better off going with a much lower asking price and getting closer to a figure they are happy with through the resulting bidding war.

    The actual sold price (thus 'value' in one buyer's eyes) is somewhere between these two extremes.

    Whether you agree or disagree, this comment is likely to be followed by an EA that doesn't know the difference between a deposit and a loan...

    • 09 December 2011 15:28 PM
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    and the result of yet another feeble ASA investigation, don't do it again till the net time.

    Just ask Haart how many times they have "suffered" the same terrible fate!

    • 09 December 2011 15:15 PM
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    @rantnrave on 2011-12-09 10:02:02

    Still on your 'hobby horse' ;>)

    "... It does show though, if it needed showing, that the demand at the prices they were offering is clearly there...".

    Not quite true! What it does show is an interest in obtaining aomething that is clearly under priced. Who wouldn't.

    • 09 December 2011 14:49 PM
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    As a potential buyer, I have mulled over several of the properties listed with the Express Estate Agency. Apparently they have a terrible reputation on the influential money saving forum Moneysavingexpert - tale after tale of potential buyers ringing up, offering the asking price and being told "actually, the vendor was looking for £20K more".

    So it was too good to be true... It does show though, if it needed showing, that the demand at the prices they were offering is clearly there.

    • 09 December 2011 10:02 AM
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    Pity they didn't call them up over the "false testimonials on their website" allegations.

    Mentioned on a popular forum, thread removed by Mods shortly after

    • 09 December 2011 09:55 AM
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    I have been watching this "estate agent" since it was brought to my attention by a new customer. I have since been told of other cases. In my opinion they are deceiving sellers and purchasers with their "prices". There are certain ways of selling property traditionally and they do not comply with their methods. I am surprised that Rightmove has not removed them from their website as they are clearly not playing to the same rules as most other agents.

    • 09 December 2011 09:43 AM
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