Potential 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.