A clutch of leading independent mortgage brokers have made further extraordinary claims against the estate agency sector over ‘conditional selling’ following recent revelations that multiple Connells branches have been involved in the practice.
This is when sales negotiators assert or strongly suggest that a buyer’s offer will not be passed to a vendor unless they agree to use the agency’s additional in-house services during the transaction such as mortgage advice or legal services.
One of the brokers, Rhys Schofield of Peak Mortgages & Protection, says he has enough evidence as well as a client prepared to back him up publicly to report the agency involved to the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries.
Breaking the law
“I won’t mince my words: many agents are repeatedly breaking the law and don’t give a damn about it because clients are too scared to complain for fear of missing out on properties,” says Schofield.
Another broker, Rob Peters of Simple Fast Mortgage, has gone ever further calling the practice a ‘filthy cancer in the estate agency world, which needs to be addressed’.
A third, Lewis Shaw of Shaw Financial Services (pictured), adds: “I’ve had numerous cases of estate agents trying to push financial services onto my customers; in the last three instances, they’ve all been part of the Connells or Countrywide groups, specifically Bairstow Eves, Frank Innes and Burchell Edwards.
“They’re pushing this idiotic line of ‘we have to financially qualify them’ even though all the customers in question had agreements in principle.”
Another four brokers on top of the three featured above have also said they are concerned by the number of conditional selling requests going on as the market has heated-up and buyers have become increasingly desperate to bag a sale.
“It is disappointing to hear reports such as these, as it gives the impression that estate agents (and by association mortgage brokers) are a bunch of cowboys and do not have the customer’s interests at heart which overall is untrue,” says financial advisor Scot Taylor-Barr.
“The market is full of honest, hardworking and professional agents and brokers.”
The Neg approached Connells for a statement, but its spokesperson declined to comment further.