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.”
Industry 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.