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Public putting pressure on agents to “game the system” during Covid, says Propertymark

Propertymark chief says agents are having to juggle business and safety issues as public demand to see properties despite travel and other restrictions.

Nigel Lewis

phil spencer estate agents

Propertymark policy chief Mark Hayward has said that estate agents face huge challenges as they deal with demands from potential clients to view properties during the latest and more deadly phase of the pandemic.

Hayward tells MoveIQ founder and TV presenter Phil Spencer during a YouTube interview that, in particular, agents are being asked to ‘be flexible’ when applying rules on viewings.

Hayward says in response estate agents are having to be more rigid in some areas on buyer pre-qualification with no viewings being allowed unless a potential buyer can prove they the cash to purchase the property or have sold their original home.

He tells Spencer that this is restricting activity in the market, which he admits is “infuriating some prospective buyers who just want to view and buy the property particularly when they know their home will sell quickly”, he says.

Travel bans

Spencer and Hayward also reveal that estate agents are having to vet potential viewers in other ways including where they are travelling from.

“People can’t travel from England into Wales or Scotland to do viewings but some agents are also saying no, for example, to people from outside their country or region,” he says.

“This is partly because we’re aware members of the public are trying to game the system by using requests to view properties as a valid excuse to go on holiday, even though they are not really interested in the properties.”

Phil Spencer says: “It sounds like people are interpreting the rules in different way to suit their own purposes, which is to be expected, but agents are at work and a workplace shouldn’t be a dangerous place to be. It’s difficult for everybody.”

Watch the video


January 25, 2021

One comment

  1. It has and continues to be an extremely difficult time for sales and letting agents, from day one we have not arranged viewings for anyone who is not in a position to purchase. A few applicants (the stupid ones) have got very shirty but most understand the common sense approach for this – in fact I would love to keep this going as it gets rid of all the timewasters! It is a very dangerous time to be an agent even with your office kept locked. We are still fully operational and it is becoming a huge strain trying to run the business and keep the staff, our clients and ourselves protected at all times. With the backlog on sales going thru and the deadline for stamp duty fast approaching the pressure and stress levels for all concerned has increased fourfold. For once I feel sorry for conveyancers as well, vendors and buyers are even more stressed than usual and we feel that we are in a pressure pot about to implode! But us small independents just have to keep going or our business will not survive!

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