Should Estate Agents be more tightly regulated?

Should Estate Agents be more tightly regulated?

Should Estate Agents be more tightly regulated?According to a recent survey carried out by four out of five people believe that estate agents should be more tightly regulated by the law. The survey which focused on buyers and sellers perception of estate agents also found that a third of respondents didn’t think estate agents were honest, while over half of those surveyed did not believe estate agent fees were reasonable.

However it was not all bad news for the agents as nine out of ten sellers said they had used or were using estate agents and felt the level of service justified the fee charged.

The Finance Director of Ken O’Flaherty said it was clear people wanted more regulation in the property sector, ‘The irony of the situation is that the majority of estate agents fully support the need for more regulation in the industry… While the reputation of estate agents generally has taken some knocks the survey showed that people were happy to hire agents who provided a good level of service and reasonable fees.’
Have your say:

  • Should Estate Agents be more tightly regulated?
There are 15 comments for this article
  1. Maire at 2:56 pm

    One of the qualifications to become a good auctioneer must be to be a good liar because every word that comes out of their mouths is a lie. Another thing that should be stopped is TD’S being auctioneers and “Taoiseach’s” with family auctioneers. For goodness sake all around the Country TD’S have there offices one half TD clinics and the other half auctioneer offices. Another thing is Mortgage brokers/auctioneers. My husband works in Construction and over the years he watched and listened to an auctioneer ring the potential buyers mortgage broker minutes after they walk away to see what their max was for a mortgage and he just looks at my husband and jokes and says “that is how it is done”

  2. Christian Higgins at 7:58 pm

    They certainly should. Prices were driven up by some auctioneers in the past and purchasers ended up in bidding wars. These were sometimes legitimate but in a lot of cases were not. Who was to know? All “bids” were confidential…
    Now where is the sense in that???
    Transparency is what is needed here, not just in the property industry, but in every industry.
    The new property price index is very welcome, but a tad too late for most of us living on the edge of our mortgage payments…
    Thanks Fianna Fail… where would we be without ya!!

  3. ken at 2:58 pm

    I worked as an estate agent with one of Irelands well known named agencies during the boom. I was hired, based on my ability to sell alone. I had no qualification in this industry of any kind. During my 2 week trial period, i was told over and over again, that the seller was my employer, NOT the buyer. I was told to forget about honesty to the buyer and Do EVERYTHING possible to facilitate the seller and get that property sold.
    I witnessed blatant lying to buyers on a daily basis. Foreign buyers, on visits to sites, were told that areas were very safe and great to bring up children, when CLEARLY they were not. In my first week, my mentor brought a buyer to a house, with a railway track running just over the back wall. The buyer was told the house benefited from a ‘quiet’ cul-de-sac location. Then, before the next train was due to pass, the unsuspecting buyer was whisked away and back to the office.
    What really made me sick, to the point that i had to resign, was when i got in huge trouble for securing an ‘Asian’ tenant for one of their leased properties. I was told this would greatly displease the owner, as owners their rented property, did not want foreigners.
    Overall it was an absolutely disgusting experience.

  4. Anna at 12:43 pm

    Most definitely yes! It’s one of the biggest transactions people make in their lives. When you consider the amount of regulations banks and other financial services firms have to abide by to protect their customers, even for small transactions, the same should apply to estate agents. The should have to keep detailed paper work on bids and offers received and be subject to audit and where in breach, loss of license to trade and potential civil/criminal proceedings!

  5. John at 4:09 pm

    I agree with Noel above. There are many agents out there who have been in business for generations and are looking for more legislation to regulate the industry.

    The barrier for entry into this profession is so low that its inevitably it will bring attract the wrong sort of people. Having a bond for €15 grand isn’t enough to be responsible for an individuals biggest purchase in their life.

    There needs to be an academic qualification and some sort of apprenticship to qualify someone to do this job.

  6. james at 2:24 pm

    For sale by owner is slow to be adopted in Ireland and thats a pity, we have bought and sold our last three properties using this method..we just do not see the need for agents these days, The lawyer and the surveyor are more than well equipped to handle all aspects of a sale all that is needed is the owner to write a good add and take plenty of good photos.. This is of course is if the owner has the time and inclination.
    We are using the FSBO sites but so far the selection is small, but growing..

  7. james at 2:17 pm

    My wife and I have been touring Southern Ireland and so far have had only one good experience with agents.
    We have found the adds incomplete or totally misleading, and when we ask about a problem an office person normally gets back with a dismissal that anything is wrong,, mean time we have booked hotels, and traveled hundreds of miles to look at something. We have abandoned any further negotiations on at least two properties due to poor service from the agents. I must add it’s not only in Ireland!!
    We have been told stories of Mafia type situations between agents and advised not to deal with certain ones.
    One of our biggest gripes is the lack of good information and photos.

  8. paddy at 1:38 pm

    in general i think estate agents in this country have become very lazy over the past ten years and despite the Recession, some of them still have an air as though they’re doing u a favour by showing you a property. they need to get real. they need to EARN their high commission instead of thinking that they’re ENTITLED to it.

  9. Stephen at 1:31 pm

    Estate Agents have never been properly regulated so the question is a bit of a moo point. Self-Regulation is no regulation. The Law Socitey is another good example. Solicitors and Estate Agents get away with murder and are answerable to no-one!!

  10. big der at 1:31 pm

    i would guess most of them are dodgy and will do whatever they can get away with. The govt. let them away with murder because they had a vested interest themselves.

  11. Noel O’Reilly at 1:26 pm

    The IAVI have spent many years attempting to persuade the government to tighten up regulations and qualifications in relation to Auctioneers/ Valuers/ Estate Agents. The IAVI entry level to the Institute has been raised some years ago to relevant degree level. The issue discussed by Patrick would suggest that the Estate Agent he worked for was an IAVI member firm. (over 50% of the Directors of that company must be IAVI members). IAVI also has a Continued Professional Development Programme which is compulsory and have in the past excluded members who did not reach their CPD from membership.We need to see more of this proactive type of professionalism to raise the standard of the total market.

    At the moment anyone can apply for an auctioneers licence and obtain one – without any formal qualification. The Government must step up to the plate and address these regulations.

    Noel O’Reilly B.Sc.(Hons) Dip PR MIAVI

  12. Sambuca at 1:18 pm

    It’s well known that, in many cases, Estate Agents have invented mock bids for a property. A person bids, let’s say, €170,000 for a property. A few days later the agent comes back with, “Oh, there’s been another bid of €171,000. Do you want to go another thousand?” Of course, there’s been no such bid.
    In reality, no matter what regulation is put in place, the crooks will merrily keep fleecing the buyer.

  13. kenny byrnes at 1:03 pm

    not more regulation
    A change to the system in Florida or Portugal is needed. What we are doing is shooting the messenger, there were too cooks making big dough and have left the kitchen leaving the costumers sitting with the bill and not even left with a starter.
    The cooks were, one the government -10 per cent on the way in and out of a sale- people have to buy another house, capital gains tax , income tax on building, import tax on building goods imported- all goods on site of any value are imported, the list goes on and leads me to come to the conclusion that the bust was caused by a government that is selfish, parasitical, and in the light of recent events does not give a f**k. When I go abroad now I feel like a fool and am embarrassed in the company of strangers.
    Two, the rest of us.

  14. Patrick at 12:55 pm

    I had a very unpleasant expierence with being ripped off by an estate agent at the height of the boom top the tune of about 60k. The agent proported to be an IAVI member selling on behalf of a developer.
    Some months after the sale went to a sealed bid ( with an imaginery other bidder I suspect ) my final sealed bid was accepted. I later found out that the agent was a brother of the developer…when I complained to the IAVI they stated he was’nt a member despite the fact that his offices and letterhead al listed him as a memeber.

    In my view the sealed bid process should be banned.
    IAVI & should be more proactive at tackling frauders who openly advertise their properties / IAVI membership when this is untrue.

  15. AV Watt at 12:51 pm

    My brother in law was a Mortgage Broker before the crash took his job. He would regularly receive requests from Irelands most prominent Estate Agents requesting him to attend auctions where he would “assist with the bidding” by forcing up the price with false bids. This was and may still be a widespread practice. And you ask me what I think of Estate Agents?

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