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Agents slammed over properties kept on portals ‘for sale ‘ despite being SSTC

Henry Pryor and a leading London agency have both said the common portal marketing strategy as morally wrong and 'sharp practice'.

Nigel Lewis

sold sign rightmove

Estate agents who keep properties listed for sale on Rightmove even though they are in reality ‘sold subject to contract’ have been censured by two industry commentators.

Responding to a reader’s letter on the Daily Mail’s ThisIsMoney.com platform, Ewen Bunting, MD of London estate agency James Pendleton, described it as ‘sharp practice’.

“Although not illegal, some estate agents leave under-offer properties marked as available on their sites with the aim of fielding more enquiries and gaining more registered buyers,” he said.

“I know of several agents who do this regularly. One way of spotting it is that their website will rarely show any homes marked as sold.”

pryor rightmoveIndustry commentator Henry Pryor (pictured) said buyers found the practice on Rightmove was ‘hugely annoying’.

“I have campaigned all my professional career for this to change and it may be that websites will soon have to update the status or face sanctions from Trading Standards,” he said.

ThisIsMoney.com expert Ed Magnus said the practice of leaving properties on Rightmove and other portals despite an offer having been accepted was “morally speaking…wrong”.

“After all, if you were a buyer who had their offer accepted, you would probably want the advert on Rightmove to reflect that,” he said.

Industry codes of practice are ambivalent about the practice. TPO says adverts must be ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’ adding that a buyer must be informed that the vendor has decided to continue marketing the property as ‘available’ despite being under offer.

The practice is different, but similar to the practice of portal juggling where an agent relists a property in order to get it to the top of ‘fresh properties’ lists.

April 4, 2022

One comment

  1. I experienced this recently when expanding my buy to let portfolio. One particular agent (a very large corporate) which is top of all the Rightmove stats, lists under offer properties for many weeks. During a period of rising prices it wasted a lot of my time calling them, only to be told that the property is under offer. I asked them to contact me with new properties but it was evident to me that I would be more likely be called if I talked to in-house mortgage brokers and discussed the ultimate letting of the property with lettings managers.
    Bearing in mind that I always deal with my own financials and manage in house I simply decided to use other agents to purchase but nevertheless I feel that other, less experienced vendors and purchasers are being misled and manipulated. My research with ex-employees of the company indicates that this type of behaviour is effectively mandated at board level and in my opinion this verges on fraud.
    Other agents in the town are well aware of what goes on and have complained to Rightmove but suspect that the agent concerned spends so much that little is done.
    Subsequently I keep receiving calls about management and despite telling them that I will never sell, buy or let through them in the future the calls continue.

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