You must see our Mortgage Adviser if we are to accept your offer to buy our client’s property

25 Jun 2014

How frequently home buyers report to us – and a search on Google will also reveal – being told by certain estate agents that their offer will not be accepted, or they cannot view a property, unless they meet with the estate agent's own in-house/external mortgage advisers. This is despite the fact that the buyer already has a mortgage adviser (most do after all when making an offer on a property) and whether it has gone one stage further and the buyer even has a decision in principle from an actual lender!?

A reason for such an attitude can be that the estate agent can make additional revenue from the customer – some report as much or more than even selling houses – by directing them to his cash-back paying mortgage adviser, or if owned by the estate agent chain, the commission from the eventual lender. Estate Agents have lots of customers coming though their doors, so securing additional revenue from each is very lucrative indeed.

However, it is important to realise that it must never be as a condition of your offer being put forward to their selling client (as it will almost invariably be that the seller does not even know that the estate agent might be doing this) particularly as Estate Agents have a legal duty to put forward all offer to their selling clients.

Indeed, a further criticism is that the mortgage adviser they can refer you to is not a truly independent one from the estate agent, or the mortgage adviser fails to look at the whole of the mortgage product market ensuring that all lenders offering mortgages are considered – but rather looks at just a very limited panel of providers who pay the mortgage adviser the highest commission.

Many conveyancers will protect their clients from the estate agents if they learn of this practice and will put forward the offers on their client's behalf by a variety of means circumventing the estate agent's involvement (e.g. direct to the owner shown on the Land Registry website, or through the house letterbox marked for the named owner and marked 'strictly confidential').

Unscrupulous practices always tarnish the vast majority of estate agents who do an essential and tirelessly crucial job in securing a successful and best price house sale.  Some conveyancers go as far as to promote ones they regularly work with and who they highly rate.