View more on these topics

Pressure from estate agents to use in-house advisers harming consumers

Home-Houses-Different-Mortgage-Rent-700.jpgPotential homebuyers are being pressured by estate agents to use their in-house mortgage and conveyancing teams, leaving some able only to access advisers with restricted lender panels.

An investigation by Money Marketing’s sister title, Mortgage Strategy, found dozens of cases of customers across the UK being pressured or ordered to use estate agents’ in-house staff, sometimes before being allowed to view or put offers on houses.

Mortgage brokers mainly link the practice to branches of large estate agents such as Countrywide and Connells and some of their subsidiaries.

However, some smaller estate agents also put pressure on customers in the same way, according to those interviewed by Mortgage Strategy.

Hard sales tactics affect housebuyers by locking them in to using advisers with restricted lender panels, meaning they may not access the best mortgage deals.

For example, Connells and Countrywide both operate restricted panels; they would not reveal their lenders when asked.

If consumers feel forced to use estate agents’ financial services, this can also mean they pay more than they would if using rival services.

Some brokers say the total fee cost for consumers can be hundreds of pounds more than market norms.

Countrywide and Connells both deny pressurised selling.


Ros Altmann

Ros Altmann: Can industry fix damaged Isa brand before it is too late?

It has never been more important to encourage saving. But advisers know only too well how challenging the complexities of the UK savings and pensions landscape make it for people. Any trends towards simplification would be welcome, but unfortunately recent developments have moved in the opposite direction. Take Isas, for example. Their simplicity has always […]


Blog: FOS didn’t deserve the Channel 4 treatment

I’ve just finished watching last night’s Channel 4 Dispatches special on the Financial Ombudsman Service. First things first, I rate Dispatches incredibly highly. I was fortunate enough to work on one of its investigations back in my journalist training, and I can attest to the intellectual and journalistic prowess of the people on that team. […]


Opinion: M&G Recovery fund – ripe for recovery?

To say that M&G Recovery fund has a long term record is something of an understatement. Launched in 1969 it has an esteemed longer-term history of outperforming the market and was the first investment of its kind. A fund that looked beyond the glamour and excitement of the largest, most successful companies, instead looking for […]


Aberdeen Standard Investments to launch €1bn private equity fund in joint venture

Aberdeen Standard Investments has established a joint venture with Italian investment manager 21Partners to launch a direct €1bn private equity fund. The joint venture, called 21 Aberdeen Standard Investments Limited and made up of six people, will manage a fund targeting “active non-controlling interests” and support growing companies in Europe. The fund, which will launch […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Have we returned to the 1980’s.

    This was justified as part of a due diligence to ensure the buyer could afford to purchase. It also meant that offers from those that did not use their services were not put forward.

    In those days estate agents belonged to life companies who brokerage was a ‘tied agent of, for example L&G.

    This was the age of the endowment too.

    “Countrywide and Connells both deny pressurised selling”.

    “Well he would wouldn’t he” was the reply to Mandy Rice Davies’s defence barrister at an infamous trial in 1963, who put it to her that one of the men on a certain list that she had slept with, Lord Astor, had denied any involvement with her.

    Countrywide and Connells take note, I am sure the regulator has along with the OFT.

  2. As someone working in the highly regulated world of retain investing, I still can’t understand how practices like this can happen.

    Invariably taking on large levels of debt to purchase, often in cases where the purchase is to invest, and yet the ‘Agents’ seem to be acting in their own best interests.

    A interesting chapter in the book ‘Freakonomics’ demonstrates one conflict of interest between Agents and sellers. This one seems much more serious.

Leave a comment