September 19th, 2012

News came through this week that The Estate Agents Act (1979) has been reformed and the Property Misdescriptions Act (1991) has been ditched.   The reasons for the changes would not immediately be apparent but looking at it a little closer it appears the government are seeking to make it easier for private sellers and private seller’s websites to enter the property market.

The National Association of Estate Agents are firmly against the new reforms as it means the way has been opened up for the likes of Tesco to re-establish their ‘sell-it-yourself’ website which they had to ditch three years ago as they could not conform with the property misdescriptions act.  With PropertyNews and PropertyPal it is the Estate Agents who have to conform with the law and not the portals.

Do I think Estate Agents are under threat?

At the moment I would say definitely not.  Many companies have tried a form of Private Sales Websites including ‘Atatouch,’ a site launched by Eric Cairns which seems to have failed to capture the imagination of buyers and sellers.  I firmly believe that the worst negotiator possible in a house sale is the owner themselves – I wouldn’t dream of selling my own house as I would be far too emotionally involved in the process, letting my heart rule my head, causing over-valuation and not knowing when I had the right deal.

The strength of the Estate Agent lies in their negotiating skills and their valuation, private sellers in many cases may be able to sell their own homes but I have no doubt it is better left to the professionals.