Former eMoov boss and now PR man Russell Quirk has called for property valuations to be regulated to stop the practice of over pricing homes to win instructions.
In an incendiary blog published yesterday that will no doubt infuriate many agents, Quirk argues that too many are being lazy or revealing their lack of experience when deliberately or mistakenly over-valuing properties to gain an instruction.
When done knowingly, this tactic should be considered ‘tantamount to fraud’, he claims.
“The definition of fraud is the act of attempting to gain through deception and via deliberate trickery,” he says.
“Therefore, telling a prospective property seller that they should expect to achieve £450,000 when £400,000 is the real number, is as dodgy as a timeshare salesman on a beach in Tenerife.”
Quirk (left) says that, because most vendors sign sole agency agreements of up to four months, agents feel they can over-value a property and then persuade the vendor to reduce their price to a more realistic figure as time goes by, safe in the knowledge they have only one option as the weeks tick by; to agree to a lower asking price.
Quirk is not alone in calling for property valuations to be regulated. As The Negotiator reported in September last year, leading Jersey agent Broadlands Estates said the practice should be banned after becoming frustrated by competitors ‘wildly inflating’ property values when bidding for instructions.
But over-valuing may soon be consigned to history by tech. Proptech firm Swirb recently revealed its platform will soon be able to tell vendors when agents were over-pricing their home.