So what is it all about? There’s been a fair bit in the industry press of late which I am sure many of the public are unaware of, in fact there may even be people in our own industry that might be unaware of what is going on.
In nutshell it is my belief that some agents, wrongfully and illegally, are manipulating facts and figures to distort their company’s listings on the major portals and using this false information to market how ‘well’ they are doing compared to the competition. It is plainly miss-leading the public and in my opinion in breach of both the Consumer Protection Regulations that agents should ad hear to and also Rightmove’s own contractual policies. There are agents out there really fighting the cause and trying to publicise the fact. Chris Wood of PDQ estates in Cornwall is the main guy. He has been exposing this for some time and it’s about time more of us joined his single man fight. Have a look at the link below for some more information;
So what should the public look out for and how does it affect what you are reading? Agents will use the ‘juggling technique’ for two main reasons;
- Firstly, changing the asking price of newly listed properties to ‘con’ Rightmove’s back office into thinking they have listed two properties instead of one. i.e. you would see a flat, let’s use Wake Green Park in Moseley as an example, come to the market for an asking price of £99,950. Then it will re-appear a week or so later priced at ‘offers in the region of’ £99,950 – thus Rightmove thinking two properties have been listed, very subtle difference but then agents are claiming to be the No.1 agent in a certain area for new listings when clearly it is false. The public would truly be unaware of this.
- Secondly – agents are agreeing sales then removing the property from the market and then re-listing at a lower price which is closer to the price achieved in order to state “we sell at 99% of the asking price” – this is simply untrue.
- Or claiming the property is ‘new to the market’ when actually it has previously been marketed by another agent or themselves at a different price.
To quote Chris Wood “This is about issues of trust, transparency and fairness. The portals must be able to show that there is parity of data quality enforcement, and that they fulfil their contractual liabilities.”
I most likely sound like a begrudging agent with an axe to grind against other agents. Well no I am not. We work extremely hard and we are proud when we are No.1 in our various areas or have the best sales ratio’s and asking prices achieved through transparency and hard work. When an agent clearly tries to cheat these figures it would clearly upset anyone in any line of work wouldn’t it?
It was reported that the ‘big three’ portals were going to crack down on this in October 2015 – have I seen any proof in this? No – not yet. Will this story run and run – I think it may? As of this Sunday gone a large national newspaper ran a spread on this very topic.
I’d like to finish by saying it is only a select few agents that are spoiling this for the others, the vast majority are working correctly & honestly. Next time you are told how many new listings an agent has or how fantastic their percentage of asking price achieved is just have a little think and perhaps dig a little deeper.
Recent update on proceedings can be seen here; http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/industry-regulator-promises-it-will-fully-investigate-portal-juggling/