Can an estate agent lie about offers?

by | Feb 17, 2024 | Moving, Moving Guides, Property

Can an estate agent lie to you as they try to sell your home? It’s a question many sellers find themselves asking as they dive into the process of listing their home on the market.

One common cause for mistrust is around buyers making offers below the listed selling price. As prolonged sales draw on, owners begin to fear that their estate agent is receiving offers and not passing them on because they are too low.

If you’re one of these sellers – you can relax. There are laws protecting you, making sure your agent informs you of every offer made on your property. Still, the fear of unscrupulous agents remains for potential sellers.

We’ve broken down exactly what your estate agent must tell you about offers below, as well as what to do if you expect that your estate agent might be withholding offers.


Can an estate agent lie about offers?

Under UK law, an estate agent must inform you of any offers on your home. They must provide the details of the offer promptly and in writing, up until the exchange of contracts for the property.

Your agent cannot withhold any offers from your consideration, nor can your estate agent lie about the details of any offer.

While it is unlikely that an estate agent would face criminal charges for misleading a seller it would be a violation of the code of conduct from the Property Ombudsman. If you’re worried about an agent, check for their membership of the Ombudsman scheme and agreed code of conduct.


How to report if your estate agent lies

If your estate agent does fail to tell you about an offer or misleads you in another way, you can report them to one of the UK’s regulatory schemes.

The first step is to approach the agent who you feel misled you to give them a chance to address your complaint. If the issue isn’t resolved to your satisfaction you can then escalate the complaint. You can do this by informing the Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.


Does an estate agent have to tell buyers about offers?

Estate agents have a contract with the property seller, and so their code of conduct only applies to their behaviour with them. A seller’s agent is not obliged to tell you about any other offers that have been made, or how much they were for.

However, the estate agent will still be looking to sell the property at a price that makes both parties happy. It’s worth asking about alternative offers before you put a bid in, even if it’s just to find out about any low-balls that have been rejected.


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