Choosing an estate agent and making an offer
Estate agents usually act on behalf of the seller, but must also treat buyers fairly. Find out what the process is for making an offer on a property and how to make a complaint.
Working with estate agents
Using an estate agent is a common way to find a property to buy. Different estate agents specialise in different types of property, so find out if theestate agent you want to use is selling the type of property you are interested in. Estate agents enter into a contract with the seller to sell their property, and so be aware that they will be acting in their clients best interests.
Making an offer
Gazumping occurs when a property is sold to another buyer at a higher price after an offer has been accepted
If you make an offer on a property, make sure that it is 'subject to contract'. This means you can pull out of the deal if there are any problems.
Under the Estate Agents Act, an estate agent is legally bound to present any offer promptly and in writing to the person selling the house, unless the seller has said in writing that there are some offers that they do not wish to receive.
A buyer's offer is not legally binding in England and Wales, even if it's accepted by the seller. This means that the agent is legally obliged to pass on any other offer received for the property up to when contracts are exchanged.
Once your offer is accepted, ask for the property to be taken off the market for the duration of the sale. This is one step you can take to try to avoid being 'gazumped'. The seller may be reluctant to do this if you haven't already sold your property.
Making a complaint
All estate agents must belong to redress schemes run by eitherThe Property Ombudsman (TPO)or the Surveyors Ombudsman Service (SOS). Redress schemes will help you if you have a complaint about an estate agent. To find out more about how to make a complaint, read Estate agents making a complaint.
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